How to Be Ridiculously Interesting (In Four Steps or Maybe Less)

By: Carolyn Glanville of Flipboard Photos from Flipboard

It doesn't matter if you're writing a blog, running a social media account, or curating a magazine on Flipboard: if the goal is to attract an audience,  there's one thing you must do: You have to be interesting. Sure it's obvious, but if it were easy, everyone would be a media superstar. So what's the secret to interestingness?

That turns out to be pretty simple too: Pick a topic you're passionate about, then concentrate on it intensely. "When I curate on Flipboard, I like to start with things people are already familiar with, then bring a unique perspective to it," says Alt veteran Stacy Teet, who both publishes her own blog and a rather interesting set of Flipboard magazines. "That's where it starts to pay off elsewhere. You learn a lot about your own eye, and your own style, and you should embrace that. Your audience will appreciate it as well."

That's a great approach, so here's how you actually do it:

1) Focus, Focus, Focus

Give your magazine a clear topic. The more specific, the better. On Flipboard, readers respond best to magazines that provide consistent, focused treatment of a subject (or a set of subjects). Interesting magazines attract people who have similar interests, so it's important to define them as precisely as possible. Don't settle for broad, catch-all topics. Go deeper. The more precisely you define your subject, the more clearly it will resonate with readers who share your enthusiasm. That's what makes Alt veteran Andrea Folsom's "The Carousel." magazine so irresistible. 

2) Avoid General Topics

Why should you avoid those broad, catch-all topics? It's because you don't want to fall into the Generally Trap. On curation-based platforms like Flipboard, it's so easy to build collections around general topics like "Food" or "Crafts" or "Travel." (And lots of people do.) General topics are great if you're curating a collection for your own use, but if you want to build an audience, general topics don't give readers much to sink their test into. "Color Your Steps" by Margaret Garvin shows the opposite of a general topic looks like.

3) Cultivate a Point of View

Point of view is similar to focus, but more abstract. Point of view is the perspective and tone you bring to a subject. Point of view can be funny, or serious, or tough, or sensitive, or cheerful, or pessimistic, or young or refined, or any combination of those, or many more things -- but most of all, it's the filter that explains why two different magazines about the exact same subject can still feel very, very different. Just like topical focus, it works best when applied consistently. That's how Bonnie Rush transformed "A Few of My Favorite Things" from a collection of household products into a magazine that feels like a lifestyle.

4) Be Unique

Being unique doesn't have to involve being flashy or outrageous (though there's nothing wrong with that either). Unique is the kind of distinctiveness that feels like a special experience. Stacy Teet believes it means aiming high. "You have to wow them, how the, or holy cow them," she says. That means show them something they probably haven't seen before, teach them something they didn't know, or blow them away with something so amazing they have no choice but to share it. In other words: Just be interesting. Stacy shows how it's done in Creative Mamas

This post was sponsored by Flipboard.