Business Blogging Using Not-So-Trivial Trivia – Part B

This week I’m devoting my Say It For You blog posts to sharing some of the gems I discoverwoman pinching her nylon stockings on her leged, in J.K. Kelly’s Book of Incredible Information.

There seems to be an ongoing debate in the world of fashion about pantyhose. “The look will never be quite the same as it would be with a nude leg, but there’s nothing you can do about that,” says Charles Manning of Cosmopolitan. Sheer and “leg-colored” pantyhose are no longer worn for fashion, but rather for function or professionalism, according to the

Whether nude pantyhose are a “thing” again or not, J.K. Kelly reassures us that pantyhose are not just for legs. What ARE they for, then?

  • Lost something? Slide a length of pantyhose over your vacuum cleaner hose, secure it with rubber bands, and vacuum where you think the lost item might be. The hose will keep the item from being sucked up into the bag.
  • Cut a piece of pantyhose slightly larger than your new hairbrush.  Push the bristles through the hose.  When it’s time to clean the brush, pull the pantyhose off – with all the hair – and put on a new piece.
  • Line houseplant pots with pantyhose to prevent soil loss from the bottom of the pot.
  • Insert a bar of soap into a pantyhose length, tie a knot at both ends, and use as a back-scrubber.

So how might you use this pantyhose trivia for business blogging? (Remember, tidbits serve as jumping off points for explaining what problems can be solved using the company’s’ products and services.)

These pantyhose hints would add humor and interest to a fashion blog or a dress or shoe company’s blog. Blogging for a garden shop? A hair salon? An appliance store? Any one of these could use the Kelly’s helpful hints to add new interest to the ongoing marketing message in their blog.

Using blogs to perform a focus group function can be a very feasible marketing strategy, with blog readers invited to offer their own ideas about how fashionable or gauche pantyhose are, and create ways to use the ones for household tasks. “Polling” in  your blog can be a great technique to stimulate interaction with target customers.

Make those not-so-trivial trivia count in blogging for business!


“Iffy” Blog Content Writing






National Geographic Kids collects quirky, fun facts. I like the ones presented as “ifs”. I think we blog content writers could sometimes present business information in that same thought-provoking format.  The “If”, I find, is what puts each fact into perspective and makes readers curious to learn more.

“If you continued to grow as fast as an average baby, you’d weigh about 413,300 pounds by age 10.”
Any of the following business owners or professional practitioners might use that fact to kick off a discussion about child growth, offering useful information to prospects and clients and demonstrating their own expertise:

  •   Child care centers
  •   Pediatricians
  •   Children’s magazine publishers
  •   Child psychologists
  •   Photographers

“If the longest blue whale could stand on its tail, it would be as tall as a ten-story building.”
Who might be interested in using such an arcane comparison in their content marketing? How about…

  • Cruise companies
  • Travel agents
  • Recreational boat operators
  • Science and nature publications

“If you spent a dollar every second, it would take about 32 years to spend a billion dollars.”
Sometimes, in quoting statistics about the economy or about events in the news, we’re forced to use numbers so large we cannot comprehend their meaning. Marketers can play off this concept:

  • Organizations raising money to fight world hunger
  • Financial advisors talking about economic trends
  • Money management counselors
  • Science academies

As a business blogging trainer, I urge bloggers to ask themselves why the facts they’re offering might matter to readers, and to demonstrate ways that readers can use that information for their own benefit.  Engaging readers’ interest by including in your blog posts facts that are even loosely related to your industry is a fine tactic. That information, though, doesn’t always need to be actionable.  If the facts you present in your blog are intrinsically interesting, it’s worth including them. Why?  To add variety.  To make reading your blog posts fun. To demonstrate your own interest and knowledge in your field.

What “iffy” thought provoking statements can you think of to put your business messages (or, in the case of freelance blog content writers, your clients’ messages) into perspective for readers?


Blog Humor is Stubbornly Provincial

Two smiling clowns  isolated over a white backgroundJoe Wong is that Chinese American chemical engineer who became a career comedian, coming to fame after appearing on the Late Show with David Letterman and on the Ellen DeGeneres Show. Wong now hosts TV shows in China.

In the New York Times Magazine, Christopher Beam talks about some of the challenges implicit in bringing humor into communication with the public. When Wong first started, stand-up comedy barely existed in China, and the media was largely state-run. “Humor,” says Beam, “is largely provincial. Comedic tastes differ by regions, and most jokes don’t translate well.”

You don’t need to be in China to face challenges when using humor. Humor can be a real “hot potato” in blogging for business. First of all, there’s a moral dilemma when it comes to any kind of marketing.  On the one hand, humor can be a way to connect with your audience and “humanize” your brand or company. On the other hand, we don’t want to allow the “joke” to overshadow the message, or come across as mean-spirited towards the competition.

While, unlike China, we have no “provinces”, humor really is provincial in that it doesn’t play equally well with different audiences. Humor may have the same impact as a strong headline in terms of grabbing attention, but it can also divert attention from your main task and it can offend. An interesting study was conducted by the Saimaa University of Applied Sciences to find out the impact of humor on consumer purchase decisions. The finding? Humor attracts attention, but does not increase persuasion.

Remember, as a blog content writer, your mission is to introduce readers to the products, the services, and the people in the company or the professional practice. Humor can add spice, but, as is advisable with spices in general, it is best used sparingly.


Bibi Makes a Point on the Side of Humor in Blogging for Business

Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu speaks during a news conference in JerusalemJust after I’d posted Monday’s Say It For You blog urging blog content writers to use humor with caution, my friend George shared the following link to what he calls “a truly original ad”.  George was right, I think you’ll agree – the video really got me laughing – and thinking…

WAIT!  Before you click, let me provide some background (most of you will need to go with the subtitles ; I was able to understand the Hebrew).  This is a campaign ad for Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, nicknamed Bibi.  Netanyahu represents the right-wing Likud party. The challengers are Isaac Herzog (nicknamed Buji) of the Zionist Camp and Tzipi Livni of the Kadima party….

OK, you’ve seen the video, so what happened here?   Monday, I quoted Jason Miller saying that humor is an effective way to connect  with an audience and humanize your brand or company.  This video sets a very common scene of parents waiting for the babysitter to arrive. The incongruity of having the Prime Minister serve as a sitter lends humor.

Of course, the blog content writers I advise are not writing politically related copy. In fact, politics is one of the subjects best avoided in blog marketing for a product or service, I advised. But this video clip, where politics was the very topic of the piece, managed to make a few very pointed statements about the two opponents: Herzog would be too quick to give away  the rugs in the apartment (territory) and Tzipi is not visible enough and an infiltrator (she would have moved before the parents came home.).

“It’s them or me,” is the parting line of Bibi’s explanation to the parents, watching out for the future of your children. When the parents arrive home and say ” Shalom” (hello, meaning peace), Bibi says, ” Not unconditionally!”

Got to admit – this video was made up of  a soft, yet very pointed jabs at the Bibi’s political opponents, yet presented such an everyday, human situation, so funny and endearing.  Loved it!

Still, let’s face it.  What’s the likelihood of our being this effective with humor on an ongoing basis in our blog posts? In fact, this video made me think of a sort of moral dilemma when it comes to blog marketing (actually to any kind of marketing).  We want to clarify the ways we stand out from the competition.  But how can we get the point across that readers should want to choose us?

My friend and colleague Thaddeus Rex at National Speakers Association tells us to get readers to laugh at the competitor’s negative, but emphasize your positive.