Who could resist a purposely lame 1980’s style video game that features a purple unicorn and his Fabio lookalike master who are in search of floating cheese puffs while attending a birthday party thrown by puppies? Maybe lots of people, but a certain writer could not. In fact, the aforementioned writerÂ just spentÂ a little too much time playing Cheeto’s Legend of the Cheetocorn.Â The quirky and dumb video game isÂ little more an elaborate advertisement for Cheetos, yet it possesses a certain “what the hell” factor that makes you take a second look.
In fact, take a gander at the hot articles on Digg, for example. The majority of them have a certain wacky or unique appeal thatÂ begs readers to stop and click. Everything from stories about women with multiple body parts to the obligatory goofy animal articles are represented on these pages and highly clickable.Â So does this mean to get our articles seen weÂ have to put a cat in a bikini and teach it how to play the tuba?
Not necessarily. Wacky, quirky, interesting and weird can be used to our advantage in article marketing without turning vital information into a sideshow. Eye catching headlines likeÂ “How to Speak Nanny” aÂ topÂ emailed story at the newyorktimes.com, pop because they promise information and maybe a humorous inside look at choosing a nanny. Some articles (like this goofy one about ketchup packet innovation) manage to pop up everywhere because of the curiosity factor and because people want to read what the buzz is about.Â Finally,Â there are those truly wacked out stories that catch like wildfire that we might not want to emulate but that provide good lessons in ways to infuse our normal stories with words that will draw in readers.
The big thing we can take away fromÂ all this talk of unicorns and ketchup packets is that articles and campaigns that tap into our collective sense of curiosity and wonder and “wtf” can mean the difference between zero readers and a truly buzz-worthy article.