There are over 1.5 billion websites out there, roughly 200 million of which are active. In that landscape, many worry that their content is simply being tossed into the void.
So how do you make sure your content stands out? There are a lot of different tips and tricks that content creators employ to make sure their blog posts and social media activity rise to the top and attract the right audience. Today we’re going to talk about one of the often under-appreciated methods: creativity, or more accurately, getting crafty with name recognition.
You may be familiar with the Mere-Exposure effect, a psychological phenomenon wherein people begin to favor things they are familiar with, regardless of quality or purpose. It seems to be human nature to gravitate towards the known, and this little factoid can have massive implications for content creation. Put simply, people are going to click on your articles if they recognize one of the title components.
Name recognition and blogging
There are a lot of different ways you can use this tactic. Many blogs choose to use real people. For example, scoring an interview with an authority in your industry can provide great name recognition benefits while simultaneously boosting your brand authority. Depending on your industry, you may also get good traction name-dropping famous celebrities that have been in the news lately.
But today we’re going to talk about the third option. When you don’t have any interviewees and you don’t want to risk the ire of any real-world figures, it’s time to invoke option three.
Bringing Batman into your content
Here’s where the title of this article begins to make sense. I brought up Batman because he’s a well-known pop culture icon, he’s been widely popular lately, and his name starts with a B, which makes for some nice alliteration.
In reality, you can choose anyone you want, but for the sake of consistency, we’ll continue with our friend Bruce Wayne here for now. Let’s see how you can easily spruce up otherwise drab content with a little cameo from everyone’s favorite billionaire. In an alternate universe somewhere, the title of this article was probably “How to Increase Blog Traffic by Utilizing Name Recognition”. And in that alternate universe, nobody read it.
Of course it’s not just enough to shove a recognizable name into your title. Anyone can do that. What really brings it all together is how you weave the character throughout your entire post.
This kind of content is where the storytellers out there can really shine. The chance to break free of standard industry blog posts is a great opportunity for the more creative out their to flex their writing muscles.
This article from Scientific American also makes great use of the caped crusader, using Batman as a jumping off point to talk about the reality of repeated physical injury and the real-life people who push themselves beyond their bodies’ limits. You’ll notice how Batman pops back up every few paragraphs. The article weaves its content in and around the narrative of The Dark Knight Rises. Batman doesn’t feel like clickbait here, he’s a legitimate pillar of the article.
Choosing the right character
There are far too many fictional characters to list (although that doesn’t mean the Encyclopedia Britannica hasn’t tried). Make sure you pick the right one to invite into your blog post.
It can be tempting to pick someone who’s very popular right now. If you choose a character whose television show or movie franchise is riding really high at the moment, you might garner a significant boost to traffic. This might be the right choice if your content is temporal. However, if you’re posting something that you’re hoping will keep getting you leads for a little while, maybe go with a character who’s a bit more evergreen. Think of Batman again. He’s going to be a tempting title pretty much forever. Percy Jackson? That moment has probably long passed.
You’ll get the most out of this tactic if you choose characters your audience will already know and love. Bonus points if the character is associated with your product (whisky and spirit companies have long since cottoned on to the effectiveness of mentioning James Bond).
Come for the spandex, stay for the content
Now that Batman (or your persona of choice) has enticed your readers to click, make sure there’s something worth staying for. There should be a point to your article. Ask yourself these two questions:
- Does this article convey useful information?
Remember that every post should strive to bolster your brand authority. Even a fun and creative post like this should still have a solid foundation.
- Does the included character enhance the content without detracting from it?
Make sure the content you present is well-suited to this tongue-in-cheek form of blogging. For example, an FAQ or another piece of content where people will want to skim quickly for concise information probably won’t be served well by our delightful Batman framing device (unless you’re writing an FAQ about Batman).
If your audience leaves the article feeling legitimately informed and entertained, then you’ve managed to pull off a rather brilliant feat. If you ignore this aspect, then you risk falling into the category of clickbait, which can severely damage brand authority and won’t generate any decent leads.
Less is more
Like any good thing, you don’t want to overdo it with these kinds of posts. They can be extremely powerful traffic drivers, but too many of them and you lessen their impact. It’s all about finding the perfect balance. Capitalizing on name recognition in this way is just one of many tools in your content toolkit. Take it out when you need to spice things up, or when you feel you’ve got too much pent up creative energy.