The Holy Grail to Writing Great Content – Rhetoric

Darren has debunked the myth that great content markets itself. There are countless blogs that produce quality content that don’t get read. Why is that? Because no one knows about them.

He followed up with a post on 9 things you can do so that your next blog post is read by more than your mom. In other words, 9 things you can do to promote your content … or as he says, “seed” rather than “force” your content.

But, what if you’re stuck at square one … writing great content.

You hear it all the time …

“Content is king! If you want to attract a massive loyal following to your blog, there is no substitute for great content.”

Well, if that’s the case, what makes certain content great? How does one go about writing great content?

This may surprise you but it’s not as much about what you write but how it’s written. Sooooo, it’s the context of your content that makes the difference. Forget “content is king” … “context is king!”

To illustrate this point, let’s take a look at one of Leo Babauta’s recent guest posts here at Problogger.

You see, Leo’s someone who can teach us a thing or two about writing great content … the kind of content that piques a readers interest quickly and effectively, the kind of content that becomes like a virus and spreads over the Internet like wildfire, the kind of content that inspires a reader to take action, the kind of content that creates a loyal following. That’s what great content is all about!

Leo wrote his first blog post in February of 2007. And today, his blog, Zen Habits, has over 130,000 subscribers and is ranked 66 in Technorati’s top 100 blogs. AND he’s in an extremely competitive niche … personal development.

So what is it that makes Leo’s content so great?

Just a few months ago, I wouldn’t have even noticed … but my quest to become a better blogger led me to the seemingly forgotten lost art of rhetoric. And rhetoric is, simply put, the effective use of language … the art of writing or speaking persuasively.

It’s obvious Leo knows about rhetoric … as you’ll see in a moment.

There are many rhetoric techniques, or rhetorical devices, that can be used to make your reader pay more attention, give a greater understanding, make your content more memorable, in an interesting and entertaining way. These techniques, these rhetorical devices are the context of your content. That’s what turns “average run of the mill content” into “exceptional I can’t put this down content”!

Let’s analyze Leo’s most recent guest post, How Passion Can Transform Your Blog, to see how he uses rhetorical devices to make his content irresistible …

“Many of the problems that many bloggers face — not drawing enough readers, not knowing what to write about, not writing well enough, not finding the time to blog — can all be solved with one solution.”

Here, Leo uses anaphora, a rhetorical device, which is the repetition of the same word(s) … as in “not drawing”, “not knowing”, “not writing”, “not finding”.

“Passion is the exact opposite: it will infuse your writing with excitement, make it more interesting, compel people to read.”

Asyndeton, or what I like to call “don’t-use-a-conjunction-ton”, he omits the use of conjunctions.

“It’s not the answer to all problems — you still need to be a decent writer, and share really useful information, and help people solve problems, and write great headlines.”

Leo uses the opposite of asyndeton … polysyndeton, or what I call “over-use-of-conjunction-ton”. He says, “and share”, “and help”, “and write”.

How does Leo write such great content?

One major reason is because he uses simple rhetorical devices to enhance and improve the effectiveness of his writing. The same rhetorical devices that you can use to write great content.

Here’s a killer free resource that lists 60 rhetorical devices. Check it out at http://www.virtualsalt.com/rhetoric.htm

Now for your homework: Commit to studying rhetoric and making it a part of your writing. Pick 3 rhetorical devices that you WILL use in your next blog post and put them in the comment area below.

Cheers to Writing Great Content!

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