Make Your Writing Shocking

ShockingBy Joey Strawn

Reprinted with permission from

When was the last time you saw a video or read a blog post that made you sit back and take a breath because it was so moving or powerful? Can you remember the last time you were truly surprised or shocked by a piece of content you came across?

For most of us, reading blogs and articles online has become so routine that we blow through them with the speed of a hyena on fire, but to truly move from being a blogger to a good blogger and finally to a great blogger, you need to practice the skills and get into the habit of writing posts that will stop people in their tracks and shock them.

Make them say, “Wow.”

Static + Friction = Shock

When I was younger I had an amazing red pair of footie pajamas. They were the most comfortable piece of clothing I think I’ve ever owned. Nothing else even comes close.

One of the reasons I loved them (and the main reason everyone else in my family hated them) was that I figured out how to shock people by walking across our entertainment room shuffling my feet. You can probably tell how popular a child I was among my parents’ friends.

What I didn’t realize then, and only learned in college (then forgot and re-learned while researching this post), was that by shuffling my feet on the carpet with a material that attracts electrons I was creating a neutral static charge on my person that would then leap to whomever I chose to touch or whichever doorknob I bumped into first. This caused a shock.

I know this isn’t a science blog, but bear with me. I used the friction between my feet and the floor to create a static charge that, when transferred to another person, caused a shock.

Remember that formula, because we’re about to break out of this analogy.

When you write, you need to keep in mind the elements that create a good shock and write in a way that delivers that charge to those around you.

1) Static Charge – The first thing you need to keep in mind is to find something with a charge. That doesn’t mean something that will get people all riled up (although that doesn’t hurt), but this means find something that has life. Find a topic that buzzes in your mind and can take on a life of its own if given a chance. No matter what industry you are writing for there are topics that enliven people and there are topics that ALWAYS fall flat. Try to stick with topics that have a charge initially instead of trying to resuscitate a dead topic and fighting that uphill battle.

2) Friction – Here’s where you can get people riled up. Creating friction doesn’t necessarily mean you have to make a lot of people mad, but it DOES mean finding a way to write about a charged topic in a way that goes against the norm. Take a new stand on a common belief in your industry or come out against a popular author who you believe missed the mark. Cause a little bit of a stir and amp up that friction by staying true to your character and your brand voice, but stay true to those things in a way that may rub people enough to get their attention.

3) Shock – Finally, you’ve just got to transfer that charge from your content to the people reading it. If you’ve found a topic with a lively charge and that caused a bit of friction in your approach, this should happen as naturally as touching a doorknob on a cold day. Share your post on social media and social bookmarking sites and get that charge out into the community. See who you can shock and if they transfer that shock to others.

So, in conclusion, use the power of science and my old footie pajamas to give your readers a good shock every now and again. Just like when I was a kid, it will throw some people off and some might even be mad at you for a little bit, but you won’t get hurt and people will forgive you quickly, but they will remember the shock they got around you.


Joey Strawn is a blogger, husband, entrepreneur, and general purveyor of awesomeness and currently blogs at He is president of Empty Jar Marketing in Nashville, Tenn. and works with local and national businesses to increase exposure and brand using digital marketing strategies.