When I was an aspiring song writer, I went to a convention once. There were some very big names there including the guy who discovered Bon Jovi. His name was Steve Zuckerman. I’ll never forget what he said about evaluating our songs. He said it’s impossible to look at our songs objectively because it’s impossible for us to admit that our children have cancer and are dying. Back then, I thought he was crazy. Certainly I knew if my songs were good or not. Well, I was obviously quite wrong because 20 years since, publishers are still telling me that my songs have cancer. Well, the same thing can be said about our articles. We like to think that they’re the greatest things since sliced bread, but for many of us, our articles have cancer and put people to sleep. Well, hopefully, this article won’t put you to sleep and will give you some tips on how to keep people interested.
Tip number 1 is to do what I just did. Start your article off with a story. People love stories. They like to be entertained. By telling them a story, you are entertaining them. If your story is interesting enough, it should at least get them reading long enough to actually get to the meat of your article, such as where you are right now. See, you already learned one tip and it wasn’t dull in the least.
Tip number 2 is to think creatively when you write. I know that there are going to be articles that you write that are going to contain a bunch of dull boring facts. But the truth of the matter, just because the facts are dull and boring doesn’t mean that your writing has to be dull and boring. I’m going to give you two paragraphs to read. One will be a dull and boring presentation of the facts and the other will be a more interesting presentation of the facts. The paragraph is on the first New York Mets World Series victory in 1969.
Today, the New York Mets won their first world series in their history over the Baltimore Orioles. After losing the first game of the series, they came back to win the next four games of the series. It took the Mets 8 years to finally win a World Series.
Okay, can you say “Put me to sleep or put me out of my misery?” I mean it wasn’t the worst written paragraph of all time, but it had absolutely no lift to it whatsoever. Now, let’s take a look at a paragraph with a little lift to it.
Today, for a brief moment, the whole world stopped. The New York Mets, a team mired in mediocrity at best and pitifulness at worst, beat to a pulp in convincing fashion, the best team that baseball could throw at them, a team with not one, but FOUR 20 game winners. It wasn’t enough to beat the Cinderella story in baseball, as the New York Mets came back after losing game 1 to thrash the mighty Baltimore Orioles in the last 4 games of the series and win their first championship in history.
And I could go on, but I think you get the point. The second paragraph was much better. Could it be improved on if I really sweated over it? Maybe, but for the purposes of this illustration, it will do.
So the next time you write an article, sit back and ask yourself if the article you just wrote has cancer.
If it does, your article may die long before the reader does.