Editor's Note: The following article is a guest post by Abidemi Sanusi, author and owner of abidemi.tv, a website aimed at helping authors, businesses, and freelancers improve their writing and develop their brand.
I've been a freelance writer for more than 15 years, and in that time, I've worked on many different projects. When I moved on from freelancing to set up my own content agency, I decided to specialize in B2B content in what most people think are the three most boring industries of all: legal, tech, and finance.
Over 80% of my work was creating content for clients or transforming their content from dull to engaging—not easy when you're dealing with what I call "responsible content," that is, content providing legal or financial advice for consumers.
Here's what I've learned in the process:
There is no such thing as boring content. It's all about how you approach it. So here, in no particular order, are ways you can write about a topic you're not passionate about.
Answer questions that newbies have
As a freelancer, the first thing I do whenever I'm commissioned for a project is to ask the client for the top three questions that are asked by prospects about their products and services. Then, I proceed to answer those questions from that uninformed perspective.
The reason I do this is because prospects (or those new to the company's products or services) have a fresh perspective that those associated with the company lack. And when you bring this perspective to a topic area that threatens to send you to Snoresville, it really can make a difference to your copy, taking it from dull to engaging.
Be a content creator, not just a writer
As a copywriter, you may think the best way to communicate is by writing. However, different people consume content differently, so rather than just being a writer, perhaps you should think of yourself as a content creator instead.
For example, an infographic might be the best way for you to communicate your data. So instead of pummeling your readers with soul-destroying text and tables of data and statistics, use an infographic instead.
The good news is that you don't even need design skills to do this. You can create graphics in about 10 minutes using Canva, an online design tool.
Accessible is not the same as dumbed down
Writing on a topic about which you're not passionate is an opportunity for you to open it up to a wider audience, and that could mean making it more accessible.
I was once commissioned by a hedge fund company to transform its dense, B2C finance website into engaging content. The current content was written by the company's policy analysts who were great at their job but lacked the skills to write accessible content, much less for a web audience. Their dry academic style was great for financial reporting but useless when it came to communicating with consumers about their financial investments.
I started by making the content more relatable (stripping out technical terms and replacing them with more consumer-friendly ones), incorporating storytelling into case studies, and following the guidelines laid out by the U.K.'s Plain English campaign.
The result? More engagement and interest in their products from their target customers. It turns out that if you meet people where they are, they will reward you with their time and wallet.
I may not have an interest in quantum physics, but I'm sure if someone wrote about it in an accessible way, making it more relatable to me and my everyday life, I would find it interesting (hello, Big Bang Theory!).
Use visuals to complement your text and storytelling
They say a photo is worth a thousand words. Being wordsmiths, our natural affinity is for the written word. However, countless studies have shown that images do help people consume content better because they help break up the text.
I once worked with a client who actively discouraged employees from using text in their presentations and worked very hard to encourage them to use visuals: animations, infographics, videos . . . you name it!—anything but 100 slides of pure text.
So if you're struggling with a boring topic, use visuals.
Inject some personality into the content using pop culture
What do Rihanna and a $2.5 billion have in common?
Okay, so this is the title of a fake headline. But it could've been used by a financial reporter writing about musicians who have used their music platform to launch other businesses and become business moguls in the process.
Referencing pop culture can help make your copy more relevant and, dare I say, more interesting to your target audience, who may not even necessarily care about Rihanna but would want to know about the $2.5 billion connection.
Have a point of view
It's okay to have a point of view. The web is drowning in a sea of neutrality called beige. It needs someone like you to take a stand, have an opinion, and be prepared to defend it. That will get people talking about your content. You'll earn respect for actually having an opinion in this sea of beige.
If you're struggling to write about something you're not passionate about, research the divergent opinions on the topic and take a stand on the matter. And if you think your topic is so boring or whimsical that people don't even care enough to have an opinion on it, have you googled people's thoughts on the Oxford comma?
Make it interactive
You can make your copy more engaging and interactive by adding quizzes, tests, or decision trees. People love doing these, and they don't take any time at all to create.
As a freelancer, it can be hard to summon up the enthusiasm for topics you're not passionate about, but with these tips you should be able to write engagingly and creatively about even the most mundane topics in a fresh way.
Image source: Dom J/Pexels.com
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About the Author
Abidemi Sanusi is a writer and veteran freelancer. She offers freelancing advice. Find out how to attract your ideal customer and get your free ideal customer persona template.