As content writers, technical writers, SEO writers, and professional writers, you already know that content needs to be entertaining as well as informative. But sometimes you’re faced with something that seems about as interesting as watching paint dry, whether it’s a bike helmet or a new enterprise software product. And therein lies the challenge: to entertain, engage, and excite, in addition to educating your reader.
The Product Description
At first, the product looks pretty dull: a bike helmet. Specifically, the helmet is for mountain biking, purchasable at many online retailers. So why would a customer want to buy this helmet from this store?
The best way to do that is to get into the target’s head. Really think about and research what appeals to them. With the bike helmet, it’s not just a helmet to the customer. That customers are looking at ways to protect their heads while tearing up the trail, and not everything is going to be about just cradling the cranium. Maybe some people get very sweaty, or maybe some people like to listen to music while riding through the mountains. Take a look at the features of the helmet and see what matches up, then write the product description in a way that addresses their wants and needs. See if there’s a quirky way of addressing it – for example, using slang terms like “noggin.”
The Educational Materials
Let’s take another example of something that most people find dull and see if we can write educational copy that entertains and has a voice. Tax topics put most people to sleep. If you’re writing a blog entry, website, special report, or anything else on taxes, chances are, only the most enthusiastic of accountants and tax attorneys will read it raptly. That’s where finding a voice and making learning fun is needed desperately.
Again, identify the target market. Who will be reading the content? What kind of TV shows or movies can be identified with that audience? Hobbies? Scope of pop culture knowledge? The broader the audience, the more common the references should be, but think about ways to interweave pop culture or sports references into the text. For example, a writer preparing a course on health insurance deductions for S corporation shareholders used examples based on the TV show “Lost” during its heyday. She used the character’s names for examples throughout the course and wrote fun, short vignettes to illustrate the tax laws being taught.
The High-Tech Products
Here comes the biggest challenge: you’re writing a white paper on something very specific in the high tech world, say, a new piece of enterprise software. You’ve identified your readers as mostly male IT managers, ages 35-60, who generally are sports fans, enjoy sci-fi movies, and buy the latest tech gadgets when they come out. These readers are busy and inundated with information as they try to keep their IT departments running smoothly.
Instead of writing a traditional, stiff white paper, add personality to it. Perhaps there’s a sports analogy that can better describe the benefits of deploying that particular enterprise software package. Think creatively – your readers will learn more if they remember a catchy anecdote about baseball and have your product at the forefront of their minds.
In all content, don’t be afraid to use a “voice” in your custom articles and custom content creation. Readers have to get excited about reading it. That, ultimately, is what turns readers into customers.
Christine P is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments. WriterAccess is powered by ideaLaunch.