Yesterday, Sonia Simone wrote a fantastic blog post on Copyblogger called “The Simple 5-Step Formula for Effective Online Content.” She explains that the formula for effective content is “Education + Personality.” I completely agree with this idea; we are using content to learn something, but the personality part is key for us to be entertained and enjoy the piece. That also helps support likability, trust, and proves to be memorable to users. Sometimes web content calls for more information and less personal character, but blogs are a great place for both! This is a goal that we all should strive for.
When I first started blogging I knew that my content would be more effective if I could let my personality shine through a bit. Although I still struggle with it from time to time, I know I’m not alone and recognize that many others have a hard time determining an appropriate blend of educational content that will also entertain the audience.
Here are five ways that you can put more personality into your web content:
- Humor – Some of us are funnier than others or we have a different sense of humor; like sarcasm or wittiness. If that’s a strength or part of your personality, use it to your advantage to keep people entertained and interested in your content. Kyle, Hall’s Lead Designer, is hilarious. When he taught us about user conversions in his Halloween-themed blog post he also gave us some costume tips and made us chuckle about eating brains and chugging maple syrup. Talking about user conversion can be dry but Kyle definitely made it funny.
- Story Telling – Share interesting things about yourself with your audience when it’s appropriate and find new ways to connect with others. Last year when we went to Sage Insights Conference, Amanda presented on social media. On her introductory slide she included a photo of a boat headed out to Peaks Island, ME. As she introduced herself she told the audience of the story of how she got to and from school everyday – by boat. That makes her unique and piqued the interest of the audience right off the bat. She even had some people come up after her presentation to inquire with her about her “school boat.”
- Media – You can bring a little bit of yourself to your web content even if your web content is mainly informative by adding images, videos, or audio. In Alayna’s blog post about the importance of having functional code she made something that’s normally a boring subject more interesting. In her post she added a photo of her Christmas tree that she had thought was the “perfect tree” when it got cut, only to find out there were some large spots that were missing branches. Alayna brought something from her living room and shared it with those who read her blog post; making a more personal connection rather than just educating on having well functioning code.
- Opinion – Another great way to make your content more unique is to share your opinion. Amanda recently wrote about this concept when she discussed reporting vs. thought leadership. Our opinions are formed from experience and by bringing that to your web content you are sharing insight into ideas that will be helpful for others.
- Share Your Interests – For me, I have found that when I am able to write about something that is interesting to me, my passion for the topic comes out more and I am sure it entertains others as well. I enjoyed sharing my experience working at Walt Disney World while educating readers on web strategy and telling people about the time I went to the Lady Gaga concert while offering some website tips. I hope that you liked those posts too! If you have interests of your own that you can apply when you teach others it might make it easier for them to learn, plus, more fun for you to share.
A few final tips…
- Another thing that I notice is that when I identify more with the content, it makes it easier and quicker to write.
- Remember who you are talking to when you develop content for your website. Knowing who the audience is makes it easier for you to connect and makes the content easier to read for the user.
- Even if you’re adding standardized text from a parent company or sharing a news or event piece, you can add your own take on it by introducing the content with a brief description.
Effective Content = Education + Personality
Using your own experiences and what makes you or your business unique will give your informative content more personality. This will make that content more effective and helpful to your readers. Plus, there’s a pretty good chance your business will reap the benefits.