Welcome to the world of content marketing, where businesses strive to create engaging and informative content to attract and retain their audience’s attention. While the focus is often on producing high-quality content, there is another equally important and often overlooked aspect of content marketing: variety. Just as spices add flavor and depth to a dish, variety adds dimension and interest to your writing and content marketing strategy.
In this blog, we’ll explore why variety is the key to successful content marketing. So sit back, grab a cup of your favorite beverage, and let’s dive in!
The Science Behind Novelty and the Brain
The human brain is wired to seek out novelty and variety. According to a study published in the journal Neuron, the brain’s reward centers light up when we encounter new stimuli, such as a new food, experience, or idea. This release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and reward, drives us to seek out more of the same.
Research has found that people are more likely to choose a new experience over a known one, even if the known one is more pleasurable. This phenomenon is known as the “novelty effect.” It explains why humans are drawn to new and different things, whether it’s trying a new restaurant, exploring a new city, or consuming different types of content.
In the context of content marketing, offering variety can tap into this innate desire for novelty and keep your audience engaged and coming back for more.
What Does Variety Look Like in Content?
The Writing Itself
Predictability and redundancy are boring. Even if your readers aren’t writing experts, they can tell the difference between engaging writing and the monotonous, repetitive nonsense dispensed by AIs.
Adding variety to your writing can make it more interesting, captivating, and memorable.
Here are some ways to spice up your writing with variety:
1. The Power of Narrative
Humans are narrative creatures, and stories can evoke powerful emotions within us. A study published in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience found that when people read a story, their brains are more active in areas associated with perception, emotion, and memory compared to when they read a list of unrelated facts.
By weaving stories into your content, you can tap into this natural inclination for narrative and create a more engaging and memorable experience for your readers. Whether it’s a personal anecdote, a case study, or a fictional scenario, stories can help bring your content to life and make it more relatable to your audience.
Take a look at these examples:
Boring, Dry Content:
Monstera plants require bright, indirect light to thrive. They are sensitive to direct sunlight, which can scorch their leaves. To ensure optimal growth, place your monstera plant near a window that receives filtered light, or use a sheer curtain to diffuse the light. Monitor your plant for signs of sunburn, such as brown or yellow spots on the leaves. If you notice any damage, move your plant to a shadier area.
Sure, this content is factual and straightforward. But is it interesting? Not really.
If you’re a plant parent, you know that taking care of houseplants can be a rewarding but challenging adventure. We’ve all experienced the rollercoaster: a plant catches your eye while you’re browsing a local nursery, and you know the perfect sunny spot for it on your coffee table at home. You purchase the plant and eagerly set it up in your living room, but after a few weeks, you notice the leaves yellowing and wilting.
At first, you panic. But then you remember that caring for a plant is not rocket science – it just takes a little bit of patience, love, and attention. You start by assessing the environment – is it getting enough light? Is it in a well-draining pot? Is the air too dry?
After making a few adjustments, such as placing a sheer curtain over the window to diffuse the light and adding a pebble tray to increase humidity, you start to see improvements. The leaves start to perk up, and the yellowing stops. You even notice a new leaf unfurling, signaling that your plant is happy and healthy once again.
The narrative version takes the same information and brings it to life. It offers personality, relatability, and narrative structure to organize the information into an enjoyable, more palatable story.
2. Rhetorical Devices
Rhetorical devices are techniques writers use to convey meaning, create emphasis, and evoke emotion. Examples of rhetorical devices include metaphors, similes, alliteration, and hyperbole. (Check out this list of 31 rhetorical devices from Merriam-Webster.)
Let’s look at rhetorical devices in action:
Boring, Dry Content:
Monstera plants grow quickly and can reach up to six feet in height. They have large, shiny, dark green leaves with splits and holes.
Again, this content is factual but offers nothing exciting or memorable.
Monstera plants are like the Jack-and-the-Beanstalk of the plant world, growing quickly and towering up to six feet in height. Their dark emerald, glossy leaves are lined with splits and holes that reveal intricate veins.
The rhetorical version uses metaphors and descriptive language to paint a picture of the monstera plant and make it more interesting for readers.
3. Ethos, Pathos, and Logos
You didn’t know you were getting a high school English lesson today, did you? We’ll keep this short and sweet: ethos, pathos, and logos are the three pillars of persuasive writing.
- Ethos refers to the credibility or trustworthiness of the speaker or writer. By establishing your authority or expertise in a given subject, you can enhance your ethos and gain the trust of your audience. You can achieve this by citing credible sources, providing relevant credentials or experience, or even showcasing testimonials or success stories.
- Pathos is the appeal to emotion. By tapping into your audience’s emotions, you can create a more personal and engaging experience. This can be achieved through storytelling, using vivid imagery, or highlighting the emotional impact of a given topic or issue. However, it’s important to use pathos in moderation and with sensitivity to avoid coming across as manipulative or insincere.
- Logos is the appeal to logic and reason. By using evidence, statistics, and sound arguments, you can persuade your audience through logical reasoning. Writers can achieve this by presenting compelling data, analyzing complex topics clearly and concisely, or using logical fallacies to expose weak arguments.
Example of writing without ethos, pathos, and logos:
The new café in town has a menu that offers a variety of dishes, including sandwiches, salads, and pastries. They also have a selection of beverages, such as coffee, tea, and smoothies. The café has comfortable seating and free Wi-Fi.
Paragraph with Ethos, Pathos, and Logos:
Indulge in a culinary adventure and satisfy your cravings at the new café in town. With a menu that caters to all taste buds, from hearty sandwiches to refreshing salads and delectable pastries, the French-owned café promises a culinary experience that will tantalize your senses. But it’s not just the food that makes this café a must-visit destination. The cozy and inviting atmosphere, complete with comfortable seating and free Wi-Fi, creates a welcoming and relaxing ambiance that will make you feel right at home. Don’t miss out on the chance to treat yourself to a delicious meal in a space that is as charming as it is convenient.
Statistics are a great way to add logos to your claims. Using statistics in your content marketing can help establish yourself as an authority in your industry and increase the perceived value of your content.
It’s essential to ensure your statistics come from reliable and trustworthy sources. You should always cite your sources and ensure that the studies or surveys you are referencing are credible and up-to-date.
When in doubt, choose statistics from websites that end with .gov, .edu, or .org. These tend to be more credible sources than sites that end with .net or .com.
5. Lists and bullet points:
Using lists and bullet points can:
- Break up long paragraphs.
- Make your content more scannable. (This is particularly important in online content, where readers tend to skim.)
- Summarize the key takeaways from a blog post.
6. Sentence length and structure variety
Varying your sentence length can add rhythm and interest to your writing. For instance, you might alternate between short, punchy sentences and longer, more complex ones to keep your reader engaged.
When all sentences in a paragraph have the same length, it can sound monotonous and robotic. On the other hand, incorporating sentence length variety creates a more natural and dynamic flow to your writing.
Additionally, using varied sentence lengths can also convey different tones and emotions. Short, abrupt sentences can create tension or urgency, while longer, more complex sentences can give a sense of thoughtfulness or introspection.
Paragraph without sentence length variety:
I woke up early this morning. I made myself a cup of coffee. I checked my emails. I got dressed. I went to work.
Paragraph with sentence length variety:
As the alarm clock blared, I dragged myself out of bed, shuffling to the kitchen to start my day with a strong cup of coffee. With my caffeine fix in hand, I settled in to check my emails, responding to urgent messages and deleting spam with practiced efficiency. Taking my time to dress in comfortable yet professional attire, I mentally prepared myself for the day ahead. Finally, I headed out to work. It was going to be a full day.
Along the same line of thought, sentence structure variety is just as important as sentence length.
Use a mix of simple, compound, and complex sentences to create a varied and dynamic flow to your writing. Experimenting with different sentence beginnings and endings can create a more engaging and diverse reading experience.
Here are some examples of sentence varieties you can play with:
Simple sentence: A simple sentence expresses a complete thought, or an independent clause. It contains a subject and a verb.
Example: The sun was setting.
Compound Sentence: A compound sentence is made up of two or more simple sentences joined by a coordinating conjunction.
Example: The sun was setting, and the stars were starting to appear.
Complex Sentence: A complex sentence comprises of an independent clause and a dependent clause joined by a subordinating conjunction. (FYI: A dependent clause is a group of words that contains a subject and verb but does not express a complete thought. It cannot stand as a sentence on its own.)
Example: Although the sun was setting, they stayed out late to enjoy the party.
Compound-Complex Sentence: A compound-complex sentence is made up of two or more independent clauses and at least one dependent clause.
Example: I wanted to go to the party, but I had to finish my work, which took longer than expected.
8. Vocabulary variation
Using a range of vocabulary can add interest and sophistication to your writing. This can include synonyms, idioms, and metaphors. However, it’s important to strike a balance between using elevated words and keeping your writing clear and accessible.
In general, avoid overused and basic words like these:
Example of no vocabulary variation:
The city was very crowded with a lot of people and cars on the street.
Example with vocabulary variation:
The city teemed with throngs of chatting pedestrians, all of whom ignored the overflow of cars obstructing the sidewalks.
9. Active Voice
Active voice is the opposite of passive voice. When writing in active voice, the sentence’s subject is doing the action, making the sentence more direct and engaging.
For example, instead of “The cake was baked by her sister,” you could write, “Her sister baked the cake.” The second sentence is shorter, more concise, and puts the focus on the baker rather than the cake. Active voice also helps clarify the sentence’s meaning, making it easier for the reader to understand.
Concise language allows you to convey your message clearly and directly. Readers may become confused or disengaged if your content is too verbose and contains unnecessary or repetitive language. By cutting out excess words and focusing on the essential points, you can maintain the reader’s attention and help them better understand the main ideas of your content.
Example of too-lengthy content:
“After having carefully evaluated the potential benefits and drawbacks of implementing a new marketing strategy that incorporates various social media platforms and engaging with influencers, we have ultimately decided to proceed with this initiative as we believe it will have a positive impact on our brand awareness and customer engagement, which are both critical components of our overall business objectives.”
Example of concise and compelling content:
“We’re implementing a new marketing strategy that incorporates social media and influencers to boost brand awareness and customer engagement.”
Nobody likes looking at a wall of text on a white background. It’s like eating plain oatmeal for every meal.
Formatting is the ultimate power-up for your writing, transforming your content from a bland text block to an enticing feast for the eyes. By incorporating headings and subheadings (H2s and H3s), you can effortlessly guide your readers through your ideas and keep them engaged. Bullet points add a touch of clarity, breaking down complex concepts into easily digestible bites.
Don’t forget the power of bold, italics, and underlines to draw attention to key information and make it pop. For those who want to take their writing to the next level, images, videos, and infographics add a splash of creativity and color, making your content truly stand out.
Type of Content
While blog posts are a great way to share in-depth information and ideas, they can become monotonous if they’re the only type of content you publish. Mixing things up by including infographics, videos, podcasts, or social media posts can offer your readers a different experience and appeal to different learning styles.
- Infographics can help visualize complex information in a concise and engaging manner.
- Videos and podcasts provide visual and auditory learners with a more immersive and personal experience.
- Social media posts can be used to share bite-sized pieces of content and generate discussion.
By offering a mix of content types, you can cater to different audience preferences and keep your readers coming back for more.
As with any formula, there are exceptions and deviations to the variety rule. While there is a general structure to follow when writing a blog, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. The beauty of writing is that you can break the rules and make your own style. So feel free to experiment and inject your personality into your writing.
But be mindful of going too far off course, as too much variation in structure or language can make it difficult for the reader to follow along. It’s all about finding a balance between form and originality to create a piece that is both engaging and easy to understand.
In a world where attention spans are short and content is king, variety truly is the spice of life for content marketing. As humans, we are wired to seek out novelty and crave new experiences, and content marketing is no exception. So, whether you’re a seasoned content marketer or just starting out, remember that variety is vital. Season your writing with narrative, rhetorical devices, and the three pillars of persuasive writing – ethos, pathos, and logos. Keep things interesting, engaging, and informative, and you’ll be sure to win over your audience.
So, go forth and create content that informs, entertains, captivates, and keeps your readers on the edge of their seats!
As a Bay Area website development and digital marketing company, D-Kode Technology can help you create a diverse content strategy to keep your readers coming back for more. Take your content marketing to the next level with D-Kode Technology. Contact us today to get started!