This week I’m devoting my Say It For You blog posts to information I gleaned at this month’s meeting of the National Speakers Association of Indiana. Humorist Jeff Fleming ran a workshop on “Humor Secrets for Improving Presentations”. Always on the alert for good material to use in teaching corporate blogging best practices, I found quite a number of valuable points to share.
Fleming explained the “Rule of Three”, in which the first two statements serve as a “set-up”. Then, the third statement or item is not what the listeners are expecting. That “misdirection” causes surprise, which is what makes whole thing strike listeners’ funny bones.
“Ask yourself what you want the reader to know about your topic….Think of three details or three examples for each idea,” says Quick Study, referring to student essays. With blog posts typically much shorter, less formal, and less detailed, content writers can still use three examples or details to emphasize the one main point of each post.
So how can that element of surprise and misdirection “wake up” blog readers and keep them engaged? Putting ingredients together that don’t seem to match, I teach Indianapolis blog writers on the search for fresh blog content ideas, is an excellent tool for engaging readers.It’s helpful, in getting readers to understand your “unique value proposition”, to compare the unfamiliar with things with which readers are already comfortable.
Misdirection, on the other hand? I don’t advise it, given the very short attention span of the average online reader. In fact, our challenge as content writers is to keep readers on track. First-time readers (who probably constitute the majority of visitors to any blog) came online in the first place with a particular need, not to be amused.
Directing readers’ attention to a problem can be done with statistics. Once readers realize the problem, the door is open for you to show how you help solve that very type of problem for your customers!
Directing readers’ attention to business owners’ or professional practitioners’ unique slant on their fields of business can be done by pointing out incongruities in the way their competitors are choosing to serve customers . I advise business owners to avoid "putting down" the competition. Instead, I teach, accentuate the positive: Some dry cleaners return clothes to you…. At ABC Cleaners, we believe…….is best."
Directing readers’ attention away from the path leading to solving their problem? That may lead to a laugh, but will it lead to a click?