Friday, May 30, 2014

How to Take a Boring Topic and Turn it Into Content People Want to Read

How to Take a Boring Topic and Turn it Into Content People Want to Read image fe0f7669 09ea 4b67 90a4 a0b059f8f97f17

How do you write about a topic that most people are not interested in? Is it possible to take a dull subject and make it interesting?

Many businesses shy away from blogging because they think their products or services are boring, or they cannot come up with ideas that would truly interest customers and prospects.

But really, there are no boring business topics — only boring content marketers. If you are stuck for ideas on how to create great content that transforms your boring blog into a lead generating superstar, read these tips to get your creative juices flowing.

Tell a Story

People like to read a good story and be entertained. What do they hate reading about? People hate reading product descriptions, especially when descriptions filled with complicated jargon.

What’s the secret to creating stories that excite your customers and keep them engaged?

Ask the right questions. Sound too simple? Let’s see if it works.

Every story should answer 5 questions. This is a concept the teachers beat into the ground when you take a composition course. When you write about any topic, boring or not, build the post around these traditional questions:

  • Who

  • What

  • Where

  • Why

  • How

Let’s try it out on a less than stellar subject – street signs.

  • Who created the first street sign?

  • What did the first street sign say?

  • Where did the first street sign go up?

  • Why was there a need for street signs in the first place?

  • How is the modern street sign system managed?

What happened here? You can see that from one seemingly boring topic, I created 5 interesting questions. Apply the “who,” “what,” “when,” “where,” “why,” and “how” series of questions to your next brainstorming session and see what you can come up with.

I view my life through the lens of a blog post. I am constantly aware of ideas that interest me and consider how the experiences of my day could be turned into a story. – Mark Schaefer, Schaefer Marketing Solutions

Understand What Questions Your Audience is Asking

Now you’ve found some questions that you think might be interesting to write about, but do your customers care? It’s time to find out what people want to know about your subject matter. This is also known as “Blogging 101″.

Where can you get this information? Online resources like Quora and Yahoo Answers make it easy to find questions that people have about any topic.

Here are some questions they are asking about street signs.

  • What font do they use on San Francisco street signs?

  • Where are the funniest street signs?

  • Who designed the street sign?

  • What are some art projects that reuse old street signs?

  • Why are there so many street signs in each city?

  • When did the use of street signs start?

You get the idea. A mundane topic gets new life when you find intriguing questions to answer. Why not spend your time providing answers to questions real people are asking?

Start a Boring Blog Topic Off with a Bang

The introduction paragraph determines whether the reader will continue or move on to the next subject. How can you immediately grab your readers’ attention?How to Take a Boring Topic and Turn it Into Content People Want to Read image SprinterOnBlocks

Start with a question

This is a trick of the trade. If you begin by asking a question, the reader’s natural curiosity takes over. They keep reading just to get an answer.

Shock the reader with a startling fact or statistic

This is easiest to explain by example. Until the early 1900′s, cities mounted street signs onto buildings instead of poles. What do you think they did when there was a vacant corner lot?

Use a Teaser

Once you get past that first sentence, give the post a purpose. Think as if you are creating the coming attractions at a movie theater. Movie teasers give you a reason to go see a film.

Your intro is the teaser that keeps them reading. For example, you might turn the topic into a problem and then propel them forward towards a solution. Here’s an example:

Is attempting to navigate street signs just getting you lost? Let’s break down the street sign system so you can get a better understanding of how to stay on course.

Follow the 4 E’s of Good Content Writing

When it comes to writing compelling content for any topic, there are some basic rules to follow. Consider the four E’s of good content writing.

  • Entertain – Your goal is to dazzle them with your knowledge, but the truth is most readers are looking for entertainment. You have to find a way to do both.

  • Enlighten – Make the information you give them relatable to your target audience.

  • Exhort – Readers are looking to reach a goal, and it is your job to prod them in the right direction. Use your words to give them a nudge.

  • Engage – Reel them in and get them talking. Create content that starts conversations. Directly ask for their input.

It is not easy to write interesting content for a seemingly boring topic. However, learning how will transform what could be a very boring blog into one that leaves your readers begging for more.

Source: B2C_Business

How to Take a Boring Topic and Turn it Into Content People Want to Read

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