Some topics are as dry as a stale cracker. Few people like to write it, and even fewer people want to read it. The style may remind you of old textbooks or academic journals. Many of these topics aren’t boring – they just need a new angle. Making content relatable and fresh will win over new audience members and earn competitor respect.
The Truth About Online Reading
Unless a reader is interested in a topic, he or she will likely only read parts of an article. According to an article on Slate.com titled “You Won’t Finish This Article,” most readers scroll down to the halfway point in an article before leaving the site. Readers are interested in seeing what you have to offer, and they quickly make the decision to leave a page without reading it in full. With so much content available online, many of us simply don’t have time to read every article word for word, particularly an article that doesn’t fully capture our individual interests or meet our needs.
What Makes Articles Boring?
You may recognize a boring article when you read it, but can you pinpoint what makes it so uninviting? As a company, you may never win over readers who have no personal interest in your product, but you should hold the attention of your target market. For the right audience, your content should appear compelling, rich, and relatable. In addition to [knowing your audience] (backlink to article on value?), here are some traits that make people and articles just plain boring:
- The content doesn’t have the right tone. Writers who excel know how to change tone based on the topic, audience, and other relevant factors. While too much levity can make content seem shallow, failure to create a readable flow can inhibit reader interest. Throw in something unexpected to keep your reader emotionally invested with your topic.
- The content is too passive. Keep your writing in an active voice with a clear point or opinion. Writing that is structurally all over the place or too safe and predictable won’t resonate as deeply.
- You never diversify your content. If you follow the same format for all your articles and posts, your articles may appear contrived. Engaging content looks visually different from surrounding articles. Change lengths, subjects, and formatting for a healthy content mixture.
- The content is always company-centered. Readers looking at company blogs and articles are looking for something that benefits them. If all of your posts end with a sales pitch or directly relate to a product offering instead of customer needs, readers will likely go elsewhere to find valuable content.
In addition to these general boring trends, marketers must always remember that “boring” is a relative term. As a marketer, you may think that a topic is dry, but for a certain niche, well-researched content is a gold mine. Developing mastery in a subject and turning it into something rich and compelling benefits individual content producers and companies.
Enrich Content Without Losing Your Core Message
If you’re stuck with a boring topic, you have the power to transform that topic into a consumable online piece that your readers will appreciate and want to share or use. Before you start thinking that you can’t possibly tackle your next industry project, use some of these tips to add some spice to a bland subject:
- Use humor. This tactic works particularly well for technical pieces. Whether you’re writing a user manual or an industry trade article, try weaving in a humorous reference or story to illustrate your point or explain a relationship. A casual reader may not remember the complex details of your piece, but they may retain the message and associate it with your brand.
For example, an IT company might want to express the benefits of using an Android product over Apple. Instead of writing “X Benefits of …” the company could be more creative and write, “What Would Happen if Android Designed the Next iPhone?”
- Eliminate industry jargon. Having an extensive vocabulary is great, but refrain from using a $10 word if a $1 word will do. Break down your writing so that it offers straightforward information.
- Write as “I” not “we.” If you are writing for a business blog, you may feel compelled to use the term “we,” but groups of people rarely ever write articles together. Use a first-person reference, even if someone else will serve as the attributed author. Writing from a personal reference point also strengthens the authority of the piece.
- Don’t assume that more statistics will make your content more compelling. Modern readers are automatically wary of statistics that company affiliates post. All writers, even those who try hard to maintain objectivity, naturally gravitate toward content that supports a particular point. Statistics don’t always equal value.
- Use suspense to your advantage. If you have to write about a seemingly dull topic, think like an investigative journalist. Look for the details and suspense that will pull your reader deeper into a topic. Take the time to create some suspense to encourage repeat visitors.
- Target your core audience. Remember that readers only skim through material unless it’s relevant. If you target a distinct niche, you may not see as much traffic, but the traffic you do see will offer greater value. For example, not all personal injury victims need to know the drone regulations in a particular state, but some will find that topic particularly helpful.
- Find an interested writer. Writers who are interested in subject matter will naturally write better than someone disinterested in the topic at hand is. The writer doesn’t need phenomenal writing skills; he or she just needs the passion and the knowledge. A professional editor can always clean up the content for publication later.
Successful content doesn’t need to appeal to everyone who browses the internet, but it should stand out to your target market. Freshen y up our blander subjects with these tips for improved message retention and enhanced conversion rates.
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