For me, punctuation and its accompanying list of rules always stood out as the frontrunner for boring grammatical topics when I was in high school.
That was until a college professor introduced me to Lynne Truss and her little book titled Eats, Shoots & Leaves.
That one book not only made me a better writer, but it was utterly and completely about the rules of punctuation and I loved every word of it. I read it at least once a year.
If I were to sit you down and try to explain how neurons in your brain interact with musical notes and form emotional and physical connections, there’s a good chance after about 20 minutes you’d be very bored with me.
You’d also probably want to bash my head in with something heavy. Although, it’s anything but boring when Dr. Daniel Levitin spends almost 300 pages explaining it in his book This Is Your Brain on Music.
It’s anything but boring because of his passion and writing style.
What about writing about writing? Pretty boring stuff, right? You’ll quickly change your tune if you read Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird or Stephen King’s On Writing.
There’s a common thread running here and it’s the topic of this article.
One of the most common objections I hear from people and companies when I talk with them about blogging is, “We don’t do anything really interesting. No one would read our blog, so why waste our time?”
I have a lot of problems with the previous objection and not the least of which is the apparent lack of passion about the product or service, but I’d like to focus on the idea of “interesting content” here today.
We’ve all heard the expression Content is King and that’s all well and good, but what if your content has to be derived from spark plug repair or asphalt. Not all of us can be the Entertainment Director on a Disney Cruise Ship or a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon.
How do you go about making boring content interesting?
It’s Not Your Content, It’s You
Here’s the first kicker: your blog content isn’t boring because of what it’s about, your blog content is boring because you are presenting it in a boring way.
You have to approach every article as an opportunity to punch everyone you know in the face with Awesome, and you have to believe you can do it (Can I get an “Amen”).
In their book Content Rules Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman tell a lot of stories, but one in particular is about a company called the Indium Corporation. If you aren’t familiar with Indium, they distribute specialty alloys and solder products for electronic assemblies. Pretty epic, huh?
What you go on to find out is that Indium publishes over 70 blogs to their niche markets all written by employees. They have seen unbelievable success from it and have branched out into other social media marketing avenues because they embraced their niche.
So, who will care about your blog on spark plug repair? The people who will be buying those spark plugs from you, that’s who. If you don’t think anyone will be interested in what you have to offer or talk about, why are you even in business?
You may as well just close up shop and go apply to sweep up trash at Disneyworld, at least everything about that place is exciting.
For everyone else who isn’t ready to throw in the towel quite yet, this next section is for you.
5 Ways To Breathe Life Into Seemingly Boring Material
I’ve hinted at these already throughout the article, but I know you like things laid out a little better, so here goes:
Get Passionate – I know that not every day at your job is peppermint flowers and bunny farts, but there should be some part of you that loves what you have to offer. Light some candles, turn on some Barry White and find that passion again and convey that through your articles. If you honestly can’t, find someone who can and have them be your blogger. However you get it done, make sure there is a passionate voice behind the blog for your company.
SOS – Take a hard look at what you’re publishing. Maybe those 1,500-word, no-picture articles about stereo innards aren’t the angle you need to be taking. Try to figure out creative ways to get your message across. Blendtec could have easily created salesy articles about their line of home products, but instead they created Will It Blend? and have been entertaining Internet audiences for years while generating interest and showing the benefits of their products. It’s a pretty brilliant way to sell home appliances if you ask me. If you can’t think of a creative way to blog about what you have to offer, contact me and we can figure it out together.
Embrace Your Niche – I’m filching this one from Ann and C.C.’s book because it’s right on the money. Any big or small business worth its snuff knows in very fine detail who their customers are. Put that knowledge to work for yourself and create content specifically designed to entertain those customer profiles. What kinds of things interest them? How do they see themselves? Is that viewpoint different from how the rest of the world sees them? The answers to the previous questions lead to things like Toyota’s Swagger Wagon video. This is the definition on Long Tail Marketing. Know the most specific things your customers will look for and focus on those things.
Be Human – This has become a cliché in the social media universe, but so many people say it because it’s true. For the most part, sales copy is boring and when you write your blog in sales copy, your blog will be boring. It’s refreshing when you watch a commercial and think, “Hey, that’s something my friends and I could have done.” It refreshes you because you relate to it. Write your blogs in a way that you would relate to on a human level, the rest will come from there.
Tell Stories – One of the easiest ways to be interesting is to relay stories. Real or imaginary, when crafted well, stories can draw people in, connect with them on emotional levels and drive them to areas of commitment. There’s a reason Sally Struthersalways introduced us to the African children for whom money was being raised. To this day, one of my most popular posts is The Chameleon and the Coalmine. There is no breakdown and no point written out in the story, it’s simply a narrative, but it connects with people. Tell stories when you write.
The Long And Winding Road
Is it always easy to strive to be creative in your writing? No, but it’s worth it both for you and your audience. The great thing about getting the reputation as the “creative writer” though is that you get leeway to take longer between postings.
Once you work your butt off and become that blog that people love to read, they’ll wait for your next article as opposed for sometimes checking out your stream or regular mediocre articles.
Which situation would you rather be in? I’ll let you decide.
What tips have you found to help create compelling and interesting content? Am I being too hard on the writers of blogs? Are some topics that are just boring? If you can think of one, I’ll try to come up with a creative way to blog about it.
If you find yourself in a rut and needing a little help creating that great stuff for your audience, let us know and maybe we can figure out a way we can help you get started.