7 Ways to Make Your Content More Exciting

no matter where you work, how many pieces of content you've written, or how futile it seems to try and spice up your writing, there are strategies you can use to make your content more exciting. Here are seven.
07/29/2015 06:05 pm ET Updated Jul 29, 2016

How would you like to make every single piece of content you write compelling, thrilling, and exciting for your audience? Unless you work in some cutting-edge tech industry, this probably isn't an option (and even in those cutting-edge tech industries, it's only a matter of time before the novelty wears out). In theory, exciting content is great -- it attracts more new readers, engages the ones you've already got, and makes your brand seem more lively and interesting -- but producing it can be a difficult, if not impossible experience.

The problem is compounded if you work in a not-so-exciting industry. I refrain from using the word "boring" here because every industry has something interesting to offer, even if some are better hits at cocktail parties than others. Still, no matter where you work, how many pieces of content you've written, or how futile it seems to try and spice up your writing, there are strategies you can use to make your content more exciting.

Here are seven:

1. Use a Story (Preferably a Real-Life One). Humans are naturally drawn toward stories. The narrative structure of a beginning, middle, and end will always be more interesting, and therefore more exciting, than some plodding article about a static topic. Almost any topic can become a story if you put your mind to it -- for example, instead of detailing the processes of gear manufacturing, you can tell the dramatic trials and tribulations of a soon-to-be gear running through your plant -- the key is to have a central character (or object) and a journey toward a destination. If you use real-life stories, such as case studies or client testimonials, all the better. It adds a depth of reality to your content.

2. Write Personally. Abandon all the corporate lingo and the ultra-professional tone of voice. Depending on whether or not you'd describe your brand as "conservative," you might want to keep a professional structure, but try to write as personally as possible. Let your emotions show. Use words that you would use regularly in conversation. Crack a joke every once in a while. People want to read in a voice that makes them feel welcomed, as if a friend wrote it. They don't want to read in a voice that looks like it was auto-generated by a robot following a series of bureaucratic rules. Writing from the heart instantly makes your content more compelling, and is going to make your readers want to read more.

3. Create Urgency With Your Headline. Your headline is the best shot you have to make a good impression on a potential reader. Without an exciting, compelling headline, your readers might assume that your piece is dull (even if you've followed my advice so far and have written a tonally amusing story in the body). In order to achieve that level of excitement, your headline needs to convey some level of dramatic urgency, preferably using either a temporal reference or an implication of necessity. For example, you could use words like "today" or "now" to imply that your advice is immediately important, or words like "must" or phrases like "you can't live without" to imply an absolute need. You'll earn a lot more clicks this way, and your users will be much more emotionally engaged.

4. Use Your Introduction to Pique Readers' Interest. If your headline has done its job, your readers will be excited once they get to the meat of your article. Your introduction's job is to maintain or increase that level of excitement. If you introduce some historical background or just plod away into your core material, your readers' enthusiasm will instantly drop. Instead, start making your compelling case, and leave your readers with a sense of wonder or curiosity. For example, you could end your intro with something like "once you learn these secrets, you'll wonder how you ever survived without them." That might be a little dramatic for your tastes, but it illustrates the key principle: creating excitement through a tease of what's to come.

5. Leverage Images, Memes or Pop Culture References. Readers today have short attention spans, and they like to have mental breaks throughout the content. You can do this without distracting your reader from your central point by integrating dynamic images, memes, or pop culture references related to your work. Visually, it makes your article less monotonous and therefore more exciting, and because most memes and pop culture references are done with a humorous tone, it will help readers better relate to your brand.

6. Make Your Content More Personally Relevant to the Reader. Content is always more exciting if it has some direct relevance. For example, an article on why Netflix chooses the movies it does will always be less exciting than an article on what movies Netflix is choosing next. Though extremely similar in terms of subject matter, the latter topic is more relevant to the average reader, and is therefore more exciting. Think about what's most important to your reader, and build your topics from there.

7. Surprise Your Readers. Nothing drives excitement quite as much as the unexpected. Use this to your advantage in the body of your article by throwing in surprising statistics, shocking insights, or material your readers wouldn't have otherwise expected.

Implement these strategies in your content going out, and watch as your impact begins to rise. Take careful measurements to determine which strategies work better than the others, and rebalance your approach to favor the more valuable tactics. It would be hard for any writer in any industry to make every single piece exciting, so focus on making most of your topics as interesting as you can and reserve your best efforts for the truly standout pieces in your repertoire.