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Sometimes when I go out to eat or watch a cooking show on the TV I think to myself “those things really go together?!” Who knew that cupcakes and bacon, two really different food items, would make a great pair? This is the concept behind the weirdly popular SYFY movie Sharknado. The producers took two completely different objects and made them work in unison with each other: a tornado that drops man-eating sharks from the sky.
This concept can be used in your writing. It is a concept that bloggers love because it captures people’s attention and keeps them in suspense to find out exactly why a rotten banana is like strep throat.
After scouring Google to find the answer as to why blog posts that follow the same concept as Sharknado are so popular, I came up with… nothing. So I decided to get the answer straight from the horse’s mouth, I sent out a questionnaire to my list of faithful bloggers to figure it out.
Analogies and metaphors were the words I was looking for, thank you blogger friends! These two concepts are used to explain complicated subjects by using well known examples. They draw readers in and provide them with a fresh perspective on something that they may have never thought of before.
How the brain is like a highway?
Most of these types of articles are amusing and creative. Oftentimes they take a controversial topic and meld it with something fun.
Why is sex is like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?
These types of articles help break up the mundane by being a little weird, and honestly, we’re all a little weird.
This was another question for my blogger friends. Based on the feedback from them the answer was pretty unanimous: because they’re popular with readers. People love reading them so why would the bloggers not love them too?
One of them explained to me that titles like “Sharknado” are a bigger hit than “Top Number of Whatever” titles. They seem to have more to offer than your average, run-of-the-mill blog post. The brain is just like a highway; however, some readers may not have looked at it this way so it intrigues them to reader further.
If I was skimming a site, a headline like “Why Apples are Like Celebrities,” would capture my attention faster than “Top Celebrities in the World Today.” Although I am interested in who the top celebrities are, I am more interested in finding out why and how apples relate to celebrities.
People are also more likely to share these articles through social media than another other type of article. Traffic, to a blogger, is essentially another form of cash.
The first part of creating these types of articles is choosing the two topics that you will be discussing. Pick two topics that will be eye catching and engaging. The purpose of the article is to bring two things that don’t seem like they have anything in common together.
In Sharknado, at first there doesn’t seem to be any logical connection between tornados and sharks. However, they come together by the fact that tornados can be brought on by hurricanes, which start out over the ocean.
So how is a banana like strep throat? A banana and an organ in the body start to “rot” when not provided the right nutrients.
A common theme I have found about the topics is that one of the items provides something of value to the reader. I was searching for information on strep throat when I found the article about the rotten banana. The valuable topic for this article is strep throat. The second topic is the unlikely pair to the first topic, so the rotten banana. Make sure the article isn’t just about two random topics, but one of the topics is something your readers actually want to read about.
Once the topics have been decided on the rest is easy. Start off the article by discussing the “unlikely” pair. This is, after all, what has caught the reader’s attention. I was more interested in that particular strep throat article because of the rotten banana, and I wanted to know right away about the banana.
The banana isn’t the main portion of the article, strep throat is. Talking about the banana for too long will lose reader interest. Once the transition into the main topic has been made, make sure to provide good resources and valuable information to the reader.
Finally, pick a great title to go along with the content. The headline is what got me to read the rotten banana article over the next, generic, strep throat article. One of my blogger friends put it like this:
“I learned through trial and error that good headlines are one of the most important parts of publishing.”
Therefore, having a great title means everything – especially when writing articles such as this.
I encourage everyone to give one of these articles a try. From talking to my fellow bloggers it was apparent to me that they loved these articles and that readers, in general, love them as well. If you want to have fellow bloggers and readers extremely interested in your content this is a sure fire way to get their attention.