TEST #1 – Does your writing trigger imagery in more than one sensory system?
Think of visiting an art museum. While you’re viewing the most powerful painting you know of, the perfect music gently fills the air. Music that brings even more emotion to the painting. The addition of just a single additional sensory input can greatly affect your experience of anything. Case and point; the soundtrack of any movie can make or break the movie’s success.
We are a multi-sensory animal and as such we’re biased to respond to messages that reach multiple parts of our nervous system at the same time. This “associative” process is otherwise known as learning. Our brains try to associate various inputs to each other in order to predict events in the future. Trying to connect these various inputs is very alluring to people and will draw someone into a story or presentation. We love to solve these puzzles. Think of how remembering a smell from your childhood can drive you crazy until you remember the source. Also, think about how vividly that smell memory can transport you through time to your past.
Solution: Tie in some statement to a feeling, visual scene, sound or music, or even a taste or smell. Make sure it is in the critical part of your message so the emotion is the most intense at the right place. Remember how Pepsi used the video of Michael Jackson dancing to elevate our emotional state and then they showed a can of Pepsi.
TEST #2 – Is there a memorable “story” anywhere in your blog post?
I remember once asking a close friend for some free legal advice (he was a very prominent lawyer). He didn’t answer the question directly. First he made sure he had my full attention. He started out “you see, early in our country’s history we made certain decisions about the way a civilized legal system should deal with…” It didn’t matter what he said cause at this point he had my full attention. He was telling me a story.
Since the time of the ancient greeks, stories and fables have been used to deliver knowledge or a life lesson. Hearing a story is always more fun than learning a lesson. Even better when the two are combined. Stories engage our interest and attention in ways that facts and figures cannot accomplish. Which type of movie earns more at the box office, documentaries or feature dramas? This doesn’t mean you should not put facts and figures in your blogs, it just means you should look for a relevant story that highlights some aspect of the data. People loves stories.
Solution:Find any fun story or story fragment that gives your post more depth and interest. Still stuck; just search Google. Are you writing about annuities? Search “stories about annuities”, you can talk about the history of annuities, early scams, or anything interesting. Just drop it in to add authenticity to the post.
TEST #3 – Is It Gossip-Worthy?
This one is really about the “viral” nature of your content. We’ve all had that feeling that we couldn’t wait to tell someone a juicy piece of news. This could be the biggest success determining factor for your blog post. Ask yourself the question of whether you would be excited to tell somebody else about the content of your blog post. More specifically, in a group conversation would you want to tell everyone about what you just read in a blog like yours? If the answer is not an enthusiastic YES, then look for a better story. You must find a way to make your information universal and fascinating. You want to imagine that someone, somewhere will read your blog and say to someone else “Hey I just read this cool blog. Let me tell you quickly what it said”.
Solution: Imagine you had 30 seconds in an elevator with someone in your industry. How would you pitch your blog post content to get maximum attention. That should be your headline and main thrust of the post.