Author and humor columnist Dave Barry once acknowledged his fear of covering a stock-car race. His idea of how he might cover such a race went something like this: “The red car was in front. Then the blue car passed the green car. In the end, the yellow car won.”
He simply didn’t find cars driving in large circles to be particularly interesting, even if they were making left turns at speeds often associated with EF5 tornados.
Tens of millions of fans believe NASCAR racing is as exciting as it gets. Others? Not so much. Some believe baseball is too slow, golf is too uneventful and football is too violent. You may think a night out at the theatre to watch a symphony orchestra concert is the best entertainment that exists while your spouse considers it a snooze fest.
Just because it’s boring to you…
It just goes to show that “exciting” and “interesting” are in the eye of the beholder. You’re not likely to find Miss Manners penning an essay about moose hunting. Ernest Hemingway wasn’t known to write poetry about personal finance.
But as marketers, we don’t always have the benefit of picking and choosing the topics we write about. In fact, we often find ourselves tasked with writing blogs, e-books, emails and social media posts about topics we know nothing about in industries that are less than thrilling (purging compounds for injection molding machines, anyone?).
Fret not. We’re here to help. If you’ve been tasked with writing content for a “boring” industry here are some tips that’ll help you transform a snooze-worthy topic into must-read content.
1. Learn everything you can about your topic or industry
Don’t think of writing about a boring topic as a writing challenge. Instead, look at it as a test of your research abilities.
Start by looking at question and answer sites like Quora to find out what people want to know about your topic. What questions do they have? What do they want to learn more about? How can you help answer those questions?
Next, turn to Google, and take a deeper dive into the topic. Do a search for those questions you found on Quora, related keywords and other information about your topic. Soak up as much as you can. It might not always be fun, but learning as much as you can will help make your content much more interesting – and it’ll make you a subject matter expert on the topic.
2. Eliminate industry jargon and write like you speak
You establish trustworthiness and professionalism by providing valuable advice – not by babbling off industry jargon. Write naturally, and eliminate words and phrases that make it more difficult for your readers to understand what you’re talking about.
Also, don’t be afraid to infuse a lighthearted tone into your content. Not only does this help add life to a boring topic, it also makes it more fun for you to write. Granted, you always want to make sure you’re speaking in a tone that your audience will respond to, so don’t go overboard here. But if it’s natural and doesn’t detract from the point you’re trying to make, a little fun and humor never hurt anyone (don’t quote me on that).
3. Tell a story
People relate to stories. Facts about your industry or topic may be informative (and you should definitely include statistics when relevant), but without a story to back up that information, people aren’t going to care.
Instead of jumping right in and spewing out a bunch of data, start by addressing challenges and pain points. Make your content relatable to the struggles your persona deals with on a day-to-day basis. Then, start telling your audience what they want to know. Provide supporting facts, quotes and links to other helpful content on your website.
Now that you’ve set up the story, it’s time to propose the solution. Depending on your topic, this could look a few different ways. Maybe you offer helpful tips that help them address their challenges. Or you show them what could happen if they don’t do something. In this post, we set up the story by addressing the challenge (writing for boring industries), and we’re offering you a solution with these five helpful tips.
Finally, you should wrap up your story with a resolution. Your reader should get to the end of your post with a sense of relief because they finally understand their problem and have a solution. But don’t forget to offer them a next step. A great way to do this is with a call-to-action to a relevant e-book, white paper, webinar, podcast or infographic.
4. Provide mental breaks throughout the copy
Just because you’re writing about a “boring” topic or industry doesn’t mean your content should be boring or overwhelming to read. Breaking up copy into small, digestible chunks makes challenging topics easier to read and helps with the overall flow of your content.
Use formatting techniques like bold headlines, numbered lists, bullet points, images and even colors to help break up large pieces of copy.
5. Keep it brief
While you want to make sure to address your audience’s questions and cover your topic in a way that’s valuable, you need to remember that people have limited time. Whenever possible, break down a broad topic into smaller, digestible pieces of content – perhaps with a series of blog posts or turning the content into an infographic.
Ultimately, it’s about finding a way to say more with less. Not only does this allow readers to really absorb what they’re reading, it also prevents them from leaving your website without reading the full post.
Final thoughts: Helpful content is rarely boring
Even if the topic itself is pretty boring to you, it’s likely helpful to your target audience. And “boring” content is never boring to people who need it.
As you’re creating content, be genuinely helpful. Answer the questions your personas have, offer solutions to their challenges and do what you can to make their lives easier. If you do this – and follow the tips above – you’ll turn “boring” content into something worth reading.
Now that you know how to turn boring topics into must-read content, it’s time to apply these lessons to your blog. Download our Blog Post Templates for eight creative, proven, ready-to-use formats for writing outstanding articles quickly and easily!