It’s actually quite simple: there is really never a topic your audience takes for granted.
See, the problem is that most of us overestimate the sophistication of our readers. That’s not a condescending thing to say.
Even in a saturated market like weight loss, most interested readers don’t know the basics. And sometimes what we do know is flat-out wrong, or way more complex than we think.
And yes, there are ways to make boring topics very interesting.
In this 6-minute episode you’ll discover:
- The one thing worse than a boring topic
- What to do when your blog experiences reader turnover
- How two self-improvement bloggers bring a refreshing spin to boring topics
- What people with massive audiences are doing with their voices
The Show Notes
The Fascinating Truth about Boring Topics
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Demian Farnworth: Hello gang, and welcome back to another episode of Rough Draft, your daily dose of essential web writing advice. I am Demian Farnworth, your host, your muse, your digital recluse, and the Chief Content Writer for Copyblogger Media.
And thank you for sharing the next few minutes of your life with me. And thank you for sharing this week with me … because this week I’m devoting each episode to a reader question.
Yesterday we answered Bonnie David’s question about About pages. Today we are going to talk about “boring” topics.
Juliet Parrott-Merrell writes:
“The question I have for you is, are there any writing tips and tricks one can use to add value to topics that aren’t generally valued? If so, where can I find them?
“I write mostly about things that most people these days take for granted – lasting love, meaningful friendships & relationships, pursuing dreams, etc. I’ve noticed that, if I write something about love (which is something everyone wants) it gets a lot of reads. But, if I write something about friendship (which is something one needs to have to find love) it gets little to no reads. Just wondering if there might be some things I can do with my writing to help change that.
So a number of things going on here. First, there is really never a topic your audience takes for granted.
For example, Darren Rowse, founder of Digital Photography School, wondered if a post on how to hold a camera was too basic. Was his audience more sophisticated than that?
He took the risk, wrote the post, and it became one of his most popular.
See the problem is that most of us overestimate the sophistication of our readers. That’s not a condescending thing to say. Even in a saturated market like weight loss, most interested readers don’t know the basics.
And sometimes what we do know is flat-out wrong or more complex than we think.
What to Do When Your Blog Experiences Reader Turnover
Thus, if you are starting a new blog, start with the basics. This lays the foundation for your advanced work. Never, however, abandon the basics.
You will experience reader turnover. Every blog does. And your new readers need to be taught for the first time — or simply reminded in a fresh way — of the basics.
Why There is No Such Thing as a Boring Topic
Which brings me to my next point. How do you write about boring topics? Truly, there is no such thing as a boring topic. Only a bored reader. If your reader doesn’t care about the engineering principles behind building a bridge — then know matter how interesting you make it, he won’t care.
But if your reader cares about the topic, then you need to look for the hook. That unique angle — that slant or tilt that takes a piece of content from unoriginal to startlingly unique.
How Two Self-Improvement Bloggers Bring a Refreshing Spin to Boring Topics
Take the self improvement site. Marc and Angel. If you’ve been around the self-improvement world for any length of time, nothing you read there will be groundbreaking or new.
However, they’ve built a huge audience of 130,000 readers by figuring out the best way to re-package information we might otherwise take for granted.
Here are a few examples:
- 10 Choices You Will Regret in 10 Years
- 12 Things Happy People Do Differently
- 19 Signs You’re Doing Better than You Think
Often that hook that will take your content out of the ordinary and into the extraordinary, will simply be your voice. Who you are. How you speak. How you approach things.
Perhaps my most successful article, 10 Rules for Writing First Drafts, there is nothing groundbreaking in that post.
It’s just stated in my voice, in my way.
What People with Massive Audiences are Doing With Their Voices
The web is littered with people talking about things we take for granted … and getting massive attention because we love their spunk, their flair, their unrestrained humor, their serious and reliable pursuit of the truth. It’s really them we admire, not so much their work.
In other words, imprint your work with your style. And if you don’t know your style … relax. It will come to you. Over time. Just keep writing. Keep experimenting.
I’m convinced perseverance is the difference between the average writer and the great writer. So keep on trucking …
Until next time, take care.