Imagine writing a tutorial-style blog post.
You explain a series of important steps.
You edit until your voice sounds dynamic. You tighten your text.
But you’re still worried. Because your post isn’t exactly sparkling.
It’s just a simple how-to make blog posts engaging.
How can you make a description of 5 or 12 different steps engaging and fun? How can you stop people from yawning when they get to step 3?
Turning solid information into engaging content may feel like a struggle, but it doesn’t have to be so hard.
You need to know a few simple tricks to keep your readers engaged and interested.
Let’s have a look …
Start with the Why
The first trick to making boring tutorials sizzle is to tell your reader why he’ll benefit from reading your post.
In your opening paragraph, you sketch a pain-free or sunny destination. Tell your reader that by following your advice he can learn a skill he desperately wants to master. Or tell him how he’ll become happier, richer, or more relaxed by reading your post.
In my post about guest blogging, for instance, I promised to teach you a technique for driving traffic to your blog; and in this tutorial about sales copy, I tell you that your web pages can become as seductive as Apple’s website.
A dry subject becomes easier to digest, when you know why it’s good for you.
Share fascinating examples
Learning how things work in theory is rather dull.
Seeing how something works in practice is far more interesting.
Last week, I shared snippets about my guest blogging experience. In my post about seductive web copy, I entice you with mouthwatering examples of Apple’s copy.
The secret to making your examples fascinating is to keep them ultra-short. Only share the details that are critical to illustrating your tutorial.
Keep your pace high and move to the next step.
When you paint a rose-tinted picture of your how-to, you might still lull your readers slowly to sleep.
You can wake them up by including a few problems.
Problems are like speedbumps – they slow your reader down. They start paying attention again, because everyone is keen to avoid glitches, hassle, and mistakes.
Explain what you’ve done wrong or which step you found scary. When you describe the problems you’ve encountered and how you’ve overcome them, your tutorial immediately becomes more useful and engaging.
Which are the most common mistakes you’d like to warn your readers for? And help them avoid?
Use unique metaphors
Metaphors are your secret seduction technique.
A fresh metaphor can make a dull topic engaging.
Help readers visualize an abstract concept by relating it something concrete, something they know. In my post about guest blogging, for instance, I referred back to the idea of launching a cycling magazine several times.
To use metaphors in your how-to blog post, think about a topic you’re passionate about, such as sports, cooking, or parenting. Pick one theme and look for connections.
Be careful. Switching themes in one post confuses your readers. So pick one theme, e.g. cooking, and make brief comparisons with it throughout your post.
Liven up your text with images
You probably know I was dead-nervous about publishing my hand-drawn images here.
But since starting to publish these silly drawings, the number of blog comments is up. It might be a co-incidence, but perhaps it isn’t.
As a writer, I feel my words should be sufficient to explain my thoughts and ideas. But simple pictures can make a stronger connection. I recently discovered this:
Darwin first explored the idea of natural selection by drawing a tree. Jack Kerouac wrote his first novel by drawing his concept out as a mandala. J.R.R. Tolkien couldn’t write without first drawing maps and portraits of his characters. Even J.K. Rowling just said that the first thing she did when she started to write her latest novel was to draw a map of the town in which it took place. ~ Dan Roam
And Kevin Cheng suggests in his book See What I Mean:
So long as you can draw a stick figure, you’re well on your way to being able to create simple stories that explain your ideas better than any well-crafted words could.
Are we, as writers, too focused on the power of words?
The truth about boring how-to posts
There are no dull products, only dull writers. ~ David Ogilvy
No topic is dull.
No tutorial should be drab.
Learning new things is exciting. Acquiring new skills is invigorating.
Think about your reader and inspire him with your post. Share your knowledge. Entertain him with your humor.
Make him smile and ignite his enthusiasm.
About the writer: Henneke Duistermaat
Henneke Duistermaat is an irreverent copywriter and marketer. She’s on a mission to stamp out gobbledygook and to make boring business blogs sparkle. Get her free 16-Part Snackable Writing Course for Busy People and learn how to enchant your readers and win more business.