How to write for boring industries and not bore your readers stiff (or yourself!)

About 60% of people think their jobs are boring. That is, more than half of professionals work for markets which keep the economy going but which in practice make them yawn like crazy.

As a commercial writer, copywriter or content developer, there’s a 60% probability that your next project will be precisely to write about some of these charmless industries. It’s your job to convey the information in the most interesting and passionate way possible, which in just any other context would be absolutely dull.

Along my years as a writer, I’ve had to write full blogs about topics as engaging and fun as:

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  • Hypothyroidism in dogs
  • Industrial dishwashers
  • Packaging for public accounting
  • Corporate risk insurance
  • Refrigeration chambers, etc.

This type of projects is commonplace for those who work on content marketing. The best we can do for our clients, and mostly for our own sake, is to find a way of turning a technical or boring or too specialized text into a pleasant, entertaining and, basically, useful piece of writing.

In order to become the Cervantes of industrial content marketing, you don’t have to wait for a marketing motivating force (there’s no such thing). Simply take into account the following 8 tips.

1. Start by some statistics or fun fact

We all love fun facts and statistics! Actually, phrases such as “40% of the metal industry belongs to the private sector”, or “losses for accounting errors amount to three million per year in the tourism industry” can catch our attention just because they are straight-forward, leave us with immediate teaching and help us put some reality or problem within a context.

For instance, look at how this article begins.

2. Put yourself into your reader’s shoes: what is this like or why am I interested in it?

Never ever fail to ask your clients who their Buyer persona is. There’s an extended bad practice in commercial writing that has to do with developing content as from nothing more than the title of an article.

In fact, the target audience plays a much more decisive role in style and tone of writing than the topic itself. You need to know who you’re writing for and which needs, expectations and problems they might have.

Why would a purchasing manager at a building company be interested in knowing the steel bending process of your client?

Why would a vet be concerned about the active substance in the parasite cleanse prescribed to small breed puppies?

If your client has not developed the buyer persona, you can help with that or suggest them to contact some Inbound marketing expert to work it out. The point is that if there’s no Buyer, you simply can’t connect 100% with the needs of your target audience.

3. There’s always some interesting human story behind a boring industry

Connecting at an emotional and human level also contributes to keeping your readers’ attention and preventing them to fall asleep. Storytelling is so popular in commercial writing as it actually gives us a personal link between the information to be conveyed and the user.

How was it that John Smith, the owner of a small grind, avoided sacking half his staff by contracting a sales CRM?

Motivational stories have much more to do with solutions capable of making life easier for people or helping them achieve their goals, than with products or services.

4. Added value is something you can build up

Before drafting the new testament of inventory management systems for hardware stores, take your time to make some research about what has already been written about the topic.

You might feel that it’s such a specialized topic that you’re the first to be assigned a job like that. Though if you make a quick search on the internet using the right keywords both in Spanish and in English, you’ll probably find you’re no pioneer on the topic. The amount of information available on the web about virtually everything is overwhelming.

There’s nothing wrong about that. Actually, it may help you do a better job, since all that existing content can be analyzed, curated and used to create a far more complete, updated content, with a better value proposition.

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By the way, such as it happened with the Buyer persona, don’t forget to discuss the value proposition with your client before you start drafting your article.

5. Connect the topic with something actually interesting

Why the harmonized tariff schedule is such a pain in the neck for imports companies?

Why picking a real estate agent is like going on a blind date?

Why does specialized recruiting feel like an endurance race?

Analogies, metaphors and even sense of humor can be your best friends to catch readers’ attention and keep them reading till the end.

6. Use questions and answers

If you’re finding it difficult to tackle a topic in an engaging way, you can always resort to a Q&A approach. That is, divide your content into subtitles to answer for a specific question.

  • How can I optimize my food traceability processes?
  • How should I stick to ISO9001 standards?
  • Which is the minimum legal width of cable for house wiring?

This strategy, apart from making the information more gullible, can help you a lot in terms of SEO positioning.

7. Keep your content dynamic

We’re all bored to dead with monotony. A plain, unchanging writing will be hard to follow even if it talks about how Russians are the new settlers in Mars.

Quite on the contrary, you may be talking about sterilizers for dental tools and still keep your user 100% attentive. You can achieve that by including elements to make a dynamic reading.

Among those, we’ve already mentioned some like statistics, facts, storytelling, analogies and humor. But we could also consider some basic tricks of web drafting: subtitles, bullets, short paragraphs, etc.

8. Always prioritize quality over quantity

It’s very common in web editing to be hired for writing a certain amount of words, or being given a content brief and asked to comply with a specific maximum or minimum length.

In this sense, try to focus on ethics and common sense and avoid filling up articles with nonsense just to fulfill the word count. It’s highly recommended to agree on the goals for each content with your client, instead of some arbitrary length that might be too short (resulting in your overwork), or too lengthy (resulting in a text full of dispensable sentences).

In my opinion, before drafting a project, I usually send my client a sort of “layout proposal”. This is, a short summary of the subtopics that will be tackled in each content and which is the practical objective of each of them. Once I come up with my first draft, I just shake all the remains off  it, to get a clean copy, with clear, straight-forward information.

The length of a content should be the result of achieving all your goals, not the early criteria per se. At least it must be a flexible criteria always pursuing quality rather than quantity.

Finally, I’d like to confess that to me it’s very rewarding to see how another potentially boring article becomes a useful, strategic piece of content, both for my clients and for their readers.

Don’t forget to pass on this tips to other freelance writers. Remember that part of our responsibility as professionals is to enhance the quality of digital contents as a whole.

 

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