In Your Blog, Give Them Hints They Weren’t Hunting


Political speak’s in season, for sure. One of the many terms you might hear bandied about is gerrymandering, which is what happens when politicians manipulate the redrawing of district lines to help their own party win more seats. And, while this Say it For You blog is about content writing, not politics, the Mental Floss magazine article on the origin of the term gerrymandering illustrates one way we can capture blog visitors’ interest. Two features of the article worth noting:

  1. The title is in the form of a question – “Who was the ‘Gerry’ of Gerrymandering?” Where, What, Why” titles work, Location Rebel posits, because they promise that by reading the article you’ll learn something new along with finding a solution to your problem.
  2. The topic offers a jumping-off point or “trigger” for blog content. (Most readers will not have known the origin of the term gerrymandering or imagined that it was named for a person named Gerry; I know I didn’t!). Demystifying an arcane piece of information, I teach at Say It For You, allows business owners or practitioners to clarify how some technical terms used in their own field came into use.

After the initial few paragraphs, I must admit, I found that the Mental Floss article wasn’t a great example for business blog content writers, after all. Why not? The writer shares a rather long narrative without ever giving readers a reason to act. Even the author’s observation that Elbridge Gerry might have gone down in history as Father of the Bill of Rights, but instead “is remembered first and foremost for another, less admirable claim to fame” is buried in the middle of the content rather than being used as either a “pow” opener or to sum up the story at the end.

“A salesman wonders how to get his next sale. A mentor cares about his students. He wants to help them get ahead and live a more fulfilled life,” business writing coach Henneke Duistermaat advises. In your blog, she says, you’re starting a conversation, not asking people to buy.

Offering fascinating information – things readers weren’t even hunting – is a great way to start a conversation.

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