As writers, we’ve all experienced the dread that comes with picking up or being assigned boring and dry topics. What can you possibly write about aluminum siding that isn’t going to put readers to sleep?
If you ask me, there’s no such thing as a “boring” topic; if you’re a creative and innovative enough writer, any topic can be spun into an engaging post that readers are going to find useful. Jazzing up seemingly dry topics does, however, take a bit of imagination. Try out these tips when you find yourself faced with a topic that literally leaves you at a loss for words.
Research Questions Being Asked By Target Readers
One excellent and effective strategy for coming up with a useful article on any topic is to do some research and see what kinds of questions people are already asking about that topic. A good place to research this is Yahoo! Answers, where anybody can ask just about anything and receive feedback from other users. If people ask questions about a topic, then it means there is probably a lack of readily available, authoritative information. That’s where you come in!
For example, a Yahoo! Answers search for the keywords “aluminum siding” brings up a few possible topic ideas. Common questions asked include, “How do you paint aluminum siding?” and “How can you repair loose aluminum siding?” Posts that thoroughly answer such questions will be useful to your readers.
Dispel Some Common Myths About the Topic
Another approach to consider when it comes to jazzing up dry topics is that of dispelling some common myths. Readers tend to enjoy an element of mystery or surprise in what they read. Revealing the “truths” behind common misconceptions both intrigues and enlightens.
With these kinds of articles, however, providing sources and citations for your facts is extremely important (perhaps even more so than usual), as you are likely going to be challenging beliefs that your readers may have had for a long time. And as always, make sure your sources are authoritative and reputable. Check out our previous blog on finding quality sources if you need a refresher.
Come Up With an Off-the-Wall Comparison
Have you ever read or heard of the popular book Freakonomics? Essentially, the authors of this book found a way to make economics interesting to a wide audience. The book explains complex economic concepts by comparing and relating them to popular culture. In other words, authors Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner did what we must do every day as writers: take very specialized topics and adapt or relate them to a wider audience.
For example, in one section of the book, the authors essentially make the claim that bagels hold the key to human behavior. Sounds silly right? But it piques your interest; it makes you want to read more. You can achieve this same level of reader engagement by making similar comparisons or seemingly off-the-wall claims in your own writing. Sure, it’ll take a little brainstorming and creativity, but when all is said and done, you’ll have an article topic that’s probably never been done before. And in today’s world of duplicate content, that’s valuable. Just make sure your claims are well supported.
Relate the Topic to Current Events
Finally, if you’re working with what seems to be a dry topic, you can always take a unique angle by relating the topic to current events. Google News is a good place to start for such an approach; simply enter keywords related to your topic and see what’s new and relevant.
Going back to the original “aluminum siding” example, a Google News search for this term could yield numerous articles about how aluminum prices have fallen. You could consider writing an article, then, on how a drop in aluminum prices affects homeowners’ siding choices.
It’s no secret that working with seemingly dull, dry topics isn’t always easy. After all, we’d much rather write about topics that we as writers find interesting. However, it’s important to remember that our readers are diverse. Even the most boring-sounding topics likely have a dedicated reader base to whom we have a responsibility to provide excellent content. By keeping these topic-brainstorming tips in mind, you’ll find that you can write engaging content on pretty much anything!