Using Skillful Surprise in Blog Content Writing

Blog post titles have a multifaceted job to do, arousing readers’ curiosity while still assuring them they’ve come to the right place. One compromise I often suggest to blog content writers is using a two-tiered title, combining a “Huh?” (to get attention) with an “Oh!” (to make clear what the post is actually going to be about).

In the body of a blog post, surprise can be used in a different way. I remember, several years back, listening to Jeff Fleming of the National Speakers Association of Indiana meeting, talking about misdirection as a way of adding humor to a presentation. Fleming explained the “Rule of Three”, in which the first two statements serve as a “set-up”. The third statement is not what the listeners are expecting, he added. That “misdirection”, Fleming said, causes a surprise, which tickles listeners’ funny bones.

I thought about that Fleming demo the other day when browsing through Coffee House News Indiana:


What has four legs, is big, green, and fuzzy, and, if it fell out of a tree would
hurt you? Answer: a pool table.

Now, as blog content writers offering information about a product or service, we’re not necessarily “into” tickling readers’ funny bones. What we are “into”, of course, is engaging readers and sustaining interest.

To be sure, using humor is an effective way to connect with your audience and humanize your brand or company, as Jason Miller of Social Media Examiner observes. All marketing doesn’t have to be serious, he adds, along with the caveat that “being funny is a risk…Some people might not appreciate your company’s brand of humor!”

So what do I think the bottom line is for using humor and surprise in blogging for business? Well,…barring politics (including company, city, state, national, and international), religion, ethnic groups, physical appearance, food preferences, insider information, and anything anyone might conceive as risque – go right ahead.  But keep the humor centered around your own weaknesses and around the consumers’ problem you’re offering to solve.

As for surprise, it can be highly useful in business blogs. At least some of our readers already know quite a bit about our subject.  What they’re looking for is new perspective on the subject, new ways to connect the dots. People are going to want to do business with people who have something different to say. There’s great power in offering strong recommendations and opinions in a blog.

Surprise them with the strength of your convictions, the depth of your knowledge, and the courage to map out a unique approach to doing business!