5 Lessons from South Park that Can Make You a Better Writer

By 09-08-2011   BloggingGuest Posts

So what writing tips can you learn from South Park? As bloggers, we can learn ways to make our writing more intriguing for our readers from many different places. One place that I think really says a lot about how you can improve your writing is the cartoon South Park.

South-ParkI know there are many people who think that there is absolutely nothing that they can learn from a “trashy” television show like South Park. To those people, go ahead and stop reading now because there is probably not much I can do to change your mind. In fact, there are a couple of safe blogs I can point you towards where you may feel a bit safer.

South Park has been on the air since 1997. Nothing stays on the air that long without doing something right, or seriously wrong. And both Trey Parker and Matt Stone have made a career out of doing things the “wrong” way.

1. Controversy captures people’s attention

South Park has been accused of being many things. They have made fun of Scientologists, Tom Cruise, David Blaine, Paris Hilton, Persians, PETA and just about every other celebrity and organization you can think of. And they survive each time.

Does this mean you should constantly attack through your blog? That depends what you want to accomplish. You don’t have to be rude or hateful. If fact I wouldn’t suggest that. But if you want to attract visitors and get people talking it definitely won’t hurt to be a bit controversial. But remember that if you plan to raise a few eyebrows you have to be prepared to back up your statements.

2. People believe things no matter how dumb they sound, and then they over react

The adults on South Park are notorious for jumping on whatever bandwagon is thrown at them. Look around the next time a big scare comes across the newswire. Watch how quickly people buy visqueen and duct tape.

What does this mean as a blogger? Its means that if you want to build trust you had better be careful with what you say and how you say things because while people may act dumb, they aren’t stupid.

Use facts when you can and cite the source. Just make sure that the source you use is credible.

One of the biggest complaints that people have about bloggers is that they feel a blog is untrustworthy because there is no responsibility required. People can just publish what they what with no need to be factual. To separate yourself from the herd be different. Be accurate.

3. Taking a stand gets people engaged

If you look at Google news on any given morning you can expect to see thousands of related articles and blogs listed for the top stories. Guess what? Most of them are the same thing over and over and over. Some are just copies of the exact same content.

So how can you take the wisdom of South Park and apply it to your blog? By not being afraid to offend someone with your opinions. Pick one side and write about that (of course, supporting your claims with facts) and you should see some great interaction among your readers. Of course not all of them will agree with you but that is the beauty of debate.

South Park does this all the time. When they see something they think is stupid, they poke fun at it. Even if their most loyal fans get upset they don’t care because you know what? Those fans will still come back next week.

4. The message is more important than the aesthetics

Many times we get so hung up on what theme to use or what colors best represent our blog that we forget about the message. But people don’t read your posts because the way you were able to match two shades of blue so nicely.

Anyone who is at all the least bit familiar with South Park knows that the artwork began with cut-out stop motion and evolved into a computer based stop motion that didn’t add much more detail. But the stories, they have always been well written.

Make your blog look presentable, but spend more time on what you have to say than you do on the way it looks. You can always come back and tweak the aesthetics.

5. Put your own spin on things to stay fresh

There are no new ideas. There are only new ways of making them felt. –Audre Lorde

No one wants to be thought of as unoriginal but guess what, Lorde was right. There really aren’t any many new ideas out there. But there are plenty of ways to put your own spin on things to make them unique.

One of the most common story lines you see in South Park is for the writers to take a popular movie or television show and parody it in some way. And nothing seems exempt from their wrath. Movies like 300, The Lord of the Rings etc. all have been considered fair game for satire.

So the next time you want to write about the Ten Best Ways to Market Your Company Online or Fifty Blogs Everyone Should Read you won’t have to worry about the endless other blogs that have the same headlines – as long as you add some value to it.

Guest author Jeff Orloff is a freelance writer and blogger. You can find him on JeffreyOrloff.com or follow him on Twitter at @jeorl and Google+. Image by IconArchive under CC. You can also write guest articles here.

This is a guest article and represents opinions of the guest author

9 comments on “5 Lessons from South Park that Can Make You a Better Writer

  1. Ming Jong Tey says:

    Hi Jeff,

    Great tips in writing. I especially agree that controversy will draws lots of attraction. Just like the recent dispute between Rosalind Gardner and Ewen Chia, tons of comments flood to both their blog.

    This is probably an extreme example but we certainly can tap on the controversy part in writing to draw lots of attention :)

    • Jeff Orloff says:

      Controversy always works. People are often afraid of it because they want others to like them but sometimes you have to take a stand on an issue.

  2. Rakesh Kumar says:

    Quite professional tips mentioned here which can be follow my anyone. Thanks

  3. south park Episodes says:

    Hy thanks for the write up. I agree that all that controversial things in south park is really very entertaining and just worth watching. i just enjoy south park Episodes and get the real fun entertainment

  4. Danny Whitehouse says:

    Are you saying that making something with a little controversy is a pre-requisite for creating a good piece of writing? Surely not..

    • Jeff Orloff says:

      I never said you have to be controversial to be a good writer. You can be controversial and say absolutely nothing. However creating a bit of controversy will certainly get people engaged.

  5. CariD says:

    Well, those tips should work psycologically. But I would prefer to be sincere, simple and honest in my writing. I would believe that at the end of the day, those basis traits would sustain in a long run.

    Useful information nevertheless :)

    • Jeff Orloff says:

      I encourage all writers to be sincere. Most of the time when we are sincere and honest we are controversial since we actually take a stand one way or another. Being controversial doesn’t mean you should lie.

  6. Jeff Orloff says:

    Not at all, but controversy will certainly stir the pot to get readers and encourage participation from the community.

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