Guest Post by Corbett Barr
I have to confess, I’m more than a little envious of bloggers (ahem, like the guy who started this blog) who write effortlessly with wit, humor and sarcasm. I would love to spice up my writing by being a little funnier or a better storyteller, but I haven’t yet found a way to pull it off.
That hasn’t stopped me from building a popular blog, but it does mean I’ve had to be engaging in other ways.
I just launched a new blog. For the launch, I asked some of my favorite bloggers for tips about building website traffic. One of my favorite quotes was from David Heinemeier Hansson, creator of the programming language Ruby on Rails, and partner at the software firm 37 Signals. His tip was this:
“Be undeniably interesting for years.”
Whether you’re funny or not, all bloggers have to be “undeniably interesting” as David put it, to build an audience. If you’re not interesting, people won’t care.
How do you engage readers when you lean more towards the serious side than the funny side? Let’s take a look at how some popular bloggers do it from both sides with witty blogs.
I already mentioned how certain bloggers keep me reading with their wit and humor. Funny writers have an uncanny ability to make any topic worth reading. It’s like how you can make any food edible by adding bacon (Brussels sprouts, anyone? how about with bacon? now you’re talking).
Naomi Dunford, Johnny B. Truant and Ashley Ambirge are three of my other (other than Josh) favorite “lively” bloggers. They write on such potentially head-bangingly boring topics as home business marketing, making money online, and becoming a corporate drone, and yet I devour their posts like a Snickers after a marathon.
That’s the power of humor. If you have it, god bless you and get to writing. The rest of us are desperate to be entertained.
The Thoughtful Tribe
Being funny isn’t a requirement for building a popular blog, by any means.
They each write unmissable posts, but they do it by provoking thought and sharing valuable insights. Sure, they inject humor here and there, but each are mostly straightforward.
If you weren’t nominated class clown in high school, you can still be a wildly successful writer. Just study people like these for ways to be engaging in your own thoughtful style.
Television isn’t black and white anymore, and neither are writing styles. Some folks manage a great blend of thoughtful insights and playful witticisms. Just look at Chris Guillebeau or Matt Cheuvront.
They both write about unconventional views of life and walk the line between funny and thoughtful, depending on the topic (and maybe how they’re feeling that day?).
If you start writing a blog with a particular voice, there is no reason you can’t experiment by making it drier or wetter (is that the opposite of being dry?) as the mood strikes you. The variety itself might just keep your readers coming back to see what you’re up to now.
The Best Writing Style for You
What’s the best writing style for you? Should you try to become funny if you aren’t naturally? Should you “tone it down” if you have a bit of a potty mouth?
The best answer is summed up nicely in a quote from Oscar Wilde that Chris Guillebeau can often be caught tweeting. It goes like this:
“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
Write naturally, be yourself and most of all be undeniably interesting.
People will notice whether you’re funny or not.
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