Four Ways to Be More Interesting

Four Ways to Be More Interesting

Reader Comments (40)

  1. Your first example is me, pretty much.

    I get the idea, and I’ve been trying to inject a lot more human interest into technical material.

    But I wonder sometimes.

    Our society seems to have less and less regard for stuff that actually matters, and more and more emphasis on “I wanna feel good right now.!”

    Technical material is *hard*. It’s hard to learn, hard to read about, and hard to write about. Without someone taking the time to learn it and write about it, technical society eventually grinds to a halt. Without at least a few people understanding how it all work, it must grind to a halt.

    Here’s the thing: there’s no amount of human interest that will make any technical material *easier* to learn. It might make it more fun to learn… and that’s a worthy goal.

    And a daily struggle for me.

  2. Solid post Johnny.

    Teaching through personal experience is a great one. Not only do you get to demonstrate your knowledge but you also get to tell a story – something everybody loves.

  3. there’s no amount of human interest that will make any technical material *easier* to learn

    Actually, learning psychology and cutting-edge instructional design show that the higher the engagement level, the better the comprehension. So, in that regard, it is “easier” to learn if the content is engaging (interesting).

    I agree with you though. The idea is not to dumb down complex topics. The idea is to work a bit harder to make complex topics digestible and engaging. It’s harder work for the technical writer to come up with analogies, metaphors, etc. to aid the reader in easier comprehension due to higher engagement, but there’s no doubt the effort can be highly effective.

  4. I like the idea of a “jam” session. Although, I cannot say that me and a guest blogger would jam, we just may share some sultry parlor talk about art, craft and building a better blog.

    Oh la la, so captivating!;-)

    Thanks for the great article – truly.

  5. I enjoyed reading this article – great tips here!

    One of the things on how to write more interesting blog articles is help is to provide examples, and I like how you pointed that out through using one’s own personal experience.

    It shows that there is a human being that one can relate to behind the other side of the computer screen, rather than reading something that came out of a technical manual.

  6. Great tips. Sometimes I wonder if I’m boring…but merely the fact of wondering is a fair indication that it is so! Maybe implementing your tips will help.

  7. Some of my favorite compliments are when readers say oh my gosh, that’s something that I would do/say/think. It means that we’re relating on a very real level.

  8. That’s right Brian. Human will always be human. It is hard for a human to read posts like reading a electronic manual when he doesn’t have any knowledge about it. Applying some human touch on it will make it easier and digestible for the reader.

  9. Interesting post, it can be extremely hard to make a dry subject interesting – particularly when you stray away from the blogging world and into business copywriting.

    Even the best writers would struggle to make a page of copy about buying metal bedsteads emotionally engaging!

    I wrote a similar post today, more geared towards SEO Copywriting (as opposed to blogging): – though I did five not four 😀

  10. Being interesting is come so naturally for some and seems impossible for others. Teaching through personal experience is probably the most common way I see people try to spice things up.

    Straying off topic is tricky, but can be so rewarding. How do you know the right balance of interesting vs. completely off topic rambling? There are so many people that preach stay on topic all the time..

    That recurring theme idea is great.. The caption idea is brilliant!

  11. Very cool article and great information for keeping my blog interesting. I’m just getting started in this whole arena and it is fun. I’m loving all the great content that’s posted here and I know it will make me a better blogger.


  12. Thanks for the tips Johnny. I’ve always been pretty strict about keeping on topic, but I see how straying just a bit could add the extra “interestingness” I need. I’ll be giving this one a try.

  13. I’m also a fan of running gags, but that only works if you’re good at humor. (Hey, everyone check out how modest I am!) It falls under #3.

    Like, I used to do a newsletter (which will probably reappear after some modification). At some point, I ran across this ridiculous photo of the cover of an album for “Devastatin’ Dave, the Turntable Slave” and his album “Zip Zap Rap.” So I started inserting Dave all over my newsletter. The running element was something people really got to like.

    Same with any odd references, actually – builds that sense of being “inside.”

    I love it when I see something on TV that references something very obscure. It makes me feel like I’m part of an exclusive club, noticing something that others won’t.

    Obviously, you have to walk a fine line because if you’re always doing very obscure things, you lose mass appeal.

  14. Thanks for the post, Johnny. And @Brian Clark, great point about making even technical material more engaging. If something is enjoyable it just goes deeper.

    I had two music theory teachers in college, one who just taught the theory and the other who made it really damn fun. For instance, in a Beethoven piano sonata there was a particularly interesting chord that we were studying. He said, “Do you know the name of that one? It’s called the ‘juiceified chord.'” Irreverent but authentic, and definitely a breath of fresh air in a sometimes stuffy topic.

    Guess which teacher I learned more from?

  15. Standing out is essential in any business. Blogging forces you to confront these things about yourself…why am I interesting? What a great question to ask yourself! I dig it 🙂

  16. My “creative writing lesson” came back in the 1960s when I owned a Lambretta motor scooter. The manual included a section on “what to do when it won’t start”. I expected complex instructions.

    Their advice was to do a running start and included instructions on how to do it. It warned that letting go of your clutch while you were in mid-air would guarantee “that you wouldn’t have any offspring”. Also, if this process didn’t work, at least you would “eventually get to where you were going and you would be in better shape when you got there and, hopefully, someone there would know what to do”.

    In the middle of this technical manual (written in England) was this little gem which I remember today and attempt to include “starting instructions” in every technical thing I write. It helps relieve a reader’s tension.

  17. As someone who’s just now getting into blogging, this post is enormously helpful. This post is a great reminder that connecting with people is critical in our face-to-face and online worlds. Thinking of the sites I live to frequent (online and offline), it’s that human connection that keeps me coming back. If I can relate to you or you can otherwise engage my curiosity or thirst for knowledge, then you have me at “hello.”

  18. Took me way too long to get around to learning point number two. Might have been all the stuff I read exhorting me to STAY ON TOPIC DAMMIT.

    Not that staying on topic is bad. But branching out makes you interesting. Interesting is better than plain old relevance any day. It’s more fun to write too.

  19. You know, I actually can’t help but write from my own experience, and I don’t know what the hell on-topic is.

    Today’s post was a semi-inspirational book review, and the post before that was about how I like to play with Transformers and do gymnastics. I usually write about online biz, technology, and wild turkeys in my barn.

  20. I’m with you on the recurring themes. That’s a good way to frame your content, kind of like a feature column.

    As for the personal experience…trying to do more of that, but it’s hard to say sometimes which stories they’ll enjoy.

  21. “I have a theory that the best ads come from personal experience. Some of the good ones I have done have really come out of the real experience of my life, and somehow this has come over as true and valid and persuasive.” -David Ogilvy

    Hey Johnny,

    Personal experience is the most true and persuasive way of teaching. You’re not just giving people ideas and thoughts that are abstract and maybe only good in theory – you back up your content with hard facts and experience.

    If it worked for you, it just might work for the reader.

    In fact, your point #1 (Teach through personal experience) is the easiest way to be more interesting. You don’t have to come up with anything extra; you’ve done all the work by getting experience. You simply tell people about it. Teaching through personal experience also makes your content unique, since no one else had the same experience you did.


  22. Great post Johnny.
    Authenticity is so much easier when it comes out of personal experience. Our western world is so full of theory and we have valued knowledge over experience for so long.
    May be authentic blogging will swing the balance the other way so that both knowledge and experience are valued similarly in the future.

  23. Thanks Johnny. I try to be conversational with my blog. I have a habit of doing being too technical. I’m learning and growing. I definitely want to engage readers and have them visit my blog regularly.

  24. Great post. I myself am a blogger for a marketing company and it can be repetitive sometimes when trying to get other people to care about what you are writing about. Personal stories, i find, are the most effective way to reach people on a deeper level. It also gets people to remember what you say when there is an interesting story to go along with it.
    Keep up the good work. Remind people that just because you do it- doesn’t mean you do it right.
    Goodluck and I will follow you and your personal stories to learn more 🙂 (great voice by the way)

  25. Helpful Article. Especially for me, one who just start blogging. I am a newbie blogger. Yes. But I’ll try my best be a better blogger. Share everything to this wholeworld.

  26. I can tell you the very site that I last visited that did this to me: Wine Library TV. Gary’s passion has got me watching videos about wine even though I could care less about wine. How awesome is that?

  27. Great post. I think that’s why I always find myself returning to Copyblogger. I think you raise some really valid points and I suppose some of what you raise has a lot to do with human nature and our urge to be a little nosy.
    When things are to be continued…,we go back because we want to know the turn out. How it is written , I agree has a lot to do with it but it’s an exceptional tactic to get right and draw you’re readers in. Thanks for the interesting, yet informative read Johnny.

  28. If you add the personal touch than you will be able to reach at their heart and mind. So this will not be professional any more.

    Remember those soaps and serials, all females member of our family talking about them is like they are our family member.

    So this one really works … you just have to draft perfectly.

  29. Excellent tips. Going unique in writing — whether it’s Twitter, a blog or Web site — is critical to capturing (and keeping) your audience. The personal touch, as you note, is important too. Good insight.

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