I have a theory about human curiosity that I think tests out in blogging for business: Our curiosity is at its most intense when it concerns testing our own limits.
Yes, readers like juicy gossip tidbits about sports and movie stars. Yes, readers have interest in how stuff works in the world and how things came to be. And, yes, by definition of their having found your blog, readers have an interest in your field.
But (or so my theory goes, anyway), readers are most curious about themselves. They care most about how they “work” and the limits of their own knowledge and their own physical capabilities. I believe that’s why magazine and Facebook “quizzes” are so hard to resist.
Leafing through an issue of WebMD Guide while waiting my turn for a flu shot, I just couldn’t resist taking the challenge: “Take this quiz to see how much you know about cholesterol”. There followed a four-question True/False quiz, with the answers given at the bottom of the page. Granted, I was a captive audience at that point. I hadn’t brought along my Sudoku book and there weren’t a whole lot of reading choices around.
Still, I just had to see if I knew the answers to those four questions (I got three out of four. I wasn’t aware there’s not an iota of cholesterol in peanut butter, because apparently dietary cholesterol comes only from animal products.)
The moral of this story isn’t that I learned a valuable fact. I probably wouldn’t have read through an article about cholesterol. At least for that morning it wasn’t a topic I was searching out and certainly not something I cared about in particular. Cholesterol wasn’t near the top of my radar screen. But curiosity about whether I would know the answers to four questions apparently was.
We are all curious about our own capabilities and limitations. We watch game shows, competing along with the contestants. We watch reality TV, wondering how we would fare in their shoes. As the expression goes, the sweetest sound to any of us is our own name. Or at least, what the person who has that name can do.
If you want people to read your content, engage their curiosity! Get them thinking about what they know and don’t know, and see as they can’t stop
As a professional ghost blogger and blog content trainer, I’m going to issue this challenge to you:
Can you compose a blog post with a four-question quiz relating to what you sell, what you know how to do, or to your unique slant on your own industry? Could you, not every time, but every once in a while, tap into that perverse curiosity I think all your readers have about how much they know?
For me, I turned to a trusty book: Do You Know? Ultimate Trivia by Guy Robinson. For example, imagine a blog post which asks this question:
Q: Which dates furthest back in history: Popcorn, Tulips, Cockroaches, or Elephants?
Because the answer is the ubiquitous creepy-crawly, this question might be right for the website of a pest control company. Here’s another one:
Q. For which instrument did Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart never write a concerto: Trumpet, Violin, Bassoon, Clarinet?
That’s a topic for a blog for a musical instrument store, a music school, or a band uniform house.
We are all curious creatures. But unlike the cat, our curiosity may can help our businesses rather than threaten our existence. Consider taking advantage of what people wonder about themselves in your next business content piece!