5 Ways Trivia Can Make Your Content
Spread Like Wildfire
What if you needed to convince your clients' customers to eat their brussels sprouts?
Brussels sprouts got a bad rap for a reason. Most people think they're gross. Nobody hands them out at Halloween. Adults hide them in couch cushions at dinner parties. And kids never fight in the produce aisle over which brussels sprouts to buy like they do over boxes in the cereal aisle.
You might say, “I'm a grown adult. I don't have to eat my brussels sprouts if I don't want to.”
True … but what if you have a client that sells them?
Maybe you've chosen organic veggies as a niche. Maybe you've got a client who sells vegetarian cookbooks. Maybe you've got a client who deals with the challenges of raising children. Either way, let's say your task is to whip up some content that makes brussels sprouts sound good enough to eat. You may never have to push brussels sprouts on behalf of a client, but there will be times when you're going to have to make an unpopular product sound like the best thing since sliced cheese.
So how would you do that with brussels sprouts? You couldn't convince people to gorge themselves on brussels sprouts for their widespread appeal, their delicious flavor, or their irresistible aroma. You can't encourage people eat them for the good of their health then suggest they smother them in gravy and cheese and salt to mask the taste. You need benefits. Persuasive benefits.
Trivia is an excellent place to find mouth-watering benefits
Here are a few tidbits I dug up in a quick search about brussels sprouts:
- They taste better if you buy them on the stem.
- Preparation is the key — most people overcook them.
- Cutting them into quarters makes them cook more evenly.
- They have amazing health benefits. They fight cancer and heart disease. They also work as a natural detoxifier.
- Steaming keeps all the good flavor and nutrients in.
- If you boil them too long, they'll stink like sulfur.
You could take all kinds of routes writing content from these little bits and bobs of trivia. But the Big Idea I see here is that brussels sprouts being yucky is an urban myth (I smell a tasty headline there, too). You could argue that if readers have tried sprouts before and swore off them for life, it's likely because the sprouts were boiled to death, and therefore, are worth another try with the proper cooking technique. Throw in a healthy recipe where brussels sprouts are steamed just so, maybe have a picture of a seven-year-old with her cheeks stuffed, a clean plate, and a sprout on a fork, and you've got yourself a persuasive piece of content.
"Don't bother writing content that's not worth sharing." ~ Jon Morrow
You don't just want the reader to say, "This is so great! I'm giving brussels sprouts another try!" You want them to say, "This is so great, I've got to share this awesome article about brussels sprouts, then go pick some up for dinner at [insert your client's store name here]!"
Here are 5 ways trivia can make your content more 'shareworthy':
- Trivia can add credibility to your Big Idea through statistics and neat-o facts. For a few days around Christmas in 2010, UK Burger King restaurants offered a 'Sprout Surprise Whopper' (foodreference.com). That sounds like a real whopper indeed, so it's a good idea to quote a credible source if you're using a way-out-there factoid that will have readers doing a double-take. And it might just get your reader thinking, 'If a major chain like Burger King offered a Sprout Surprise Whopper, they must have thought people would want to eat it. What am I missing about brussels sprouts?'
- Trivia can make your content more memorable, and that gets people talking. The next time you're chatting with friends and brussels sprouts make their way into the conversation, you're going to remember the Sprout Surprise Whopper. And you'll probably tell them about it, starting with 'Hey, get this!' From there you might say, 'And I also read people usually overcook brussels sprouts and that's why so many people don't like them — they're supposed to be really tasty if you steam them.'
- Tidbits that make people say, 'Hey — I didn't know that!' make people want to share them. Who knew brussels sprouts were tastier if bought right off the stem? I didn't even know they came on a stem. Since I did the research for this article, I asked six people if they knew brussels sprouts were tastier if bought on the stem, and only one of them knew they came on a stem at all (my brother who knows everything).
- Trivia can make your content more entertaining. No one is going to share an article with a ZZZ-factor that's off the charts. Content about products like brussels sprouts goes down better with a little spice from trivia.
- People can relate to trivia that stirs an emotion. I've always thought brussels sprouts were icky, but they were always boiled into mush that clung to the bottom of the pot. Nothing in the world could make me eat them. (Well, maybe if my dad had promised to buy me a pony.) I pushed them around on my plate until Mom had to let me leave the table because it was time for bed. Sound familiar? Now I want to try them again. (I still want a pony, though.)
Trivia can get you all sorts of delectable results
Trivia is everywhere and you never know when you might be inspired by it. You might find a piece of research that debunks a myth, or a core benefit for a product, or you might unearth a snappy statistic that gives your readers whiplash reaching for the 'forward to' button. Watch game shows. Read the cards in your old Trivial Pursuit board game. Read magazines like Popular Mechanics and Popular Science and my personal addiction, Mental Floss (I have it set as my home page; I'm that much of a trivia junkie).
When you check out mentalfloss.com, there's a button on the 'Amazing Fact Generator' that says, 'Hit me with another fact!' Right now, there are over 57,000 random bits of trivia spinning in a hamster wheel just waiting to star in your next article. Male seahorses carry the eggs and birth the babies. Jaleel White (“Steve Urkel”) was the voice of Sonic the Hedgehog. The first cell phone measured 9” by 5” and weighed 2.5 pounds. You never know what you'll find! But I guarantee if you’re on the lookout, you’ll find useful trivia snippets about your niche.
As a writer, you owe it to yourself to be prepared for when you spot that morsel that'll bring down the house in your next bit of content. Don't rely on your memory — write it down. Jot it on a Post-it® note, a memo on your phone, call your own voice mail and leave yourself a message, add it to Evernote, or write it on your mirror with a mascara wand. File it away under 'juicy trivia' and look to it for inspiration the next time you're staring at the blinking cursor for more than an hour, or you want to add some muscle power to your next piece so people will share the heck out of it.
I hope I’ve included enough trivia about trivia to make you want to share this article with other writers who could benefit from it!
This article, 5 Ways Trivia Can Make Your Content Spread Like Wildfire, was originally published by Wealthy Web Writer.
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