Content Marketing
5 Ways to Turn Dry Topics into Content Marketing Wins

5 Ways to Turn Dry Topics into Content Marketing Wins

August 13, 2019
4 min read

If you work in a fun and exciting industry like travel or entertainment, it’s easy to create engaging content ideas. However, if your industry content covers less exciting topics – let’s say “mining equipment” or “truck parts”, it can be quite a challenge creating content that people actually want to read.

This doesn’t mean that content marketing won’t work for you – just that you have to be more innovative in your approach. With a little out-of-the-box thinking, you can make any dry topic engaging and interesting.

Quick Takeaways:

  • There’s no such thing as a boring subject – only boring writing. Find unique angles and points of view to base your content to make it more engaging.
  • Don’t be afraid to let your personality show through in your content. It makes it more relatable and entertaining.
  • How your content looks visually is just as important as how well it’s written. Simplify and break up the text up to make it easier and more appealing to read.

1. Address Pain Points and Offer Solutions

It doesn’t matter how “boring” your industry might be. If your audience has challenges and problems, they’ll seek out content that gives them a solution.

Your job as a content marketer is to figure out what those pain points are and create the content that solves their problem.

Educational content doesn’t need to be fun and exciting to read (although you can certainly write it with an entertaining twist if it fits your brand – see the next point). All your readers care about is that you’re answering their question.

To get an example of this type of content, do a Google search for “how to change a tire” and take a look at the first few pages that come up. They’re not trying to make you laugh or writing eloquent paragraphs about car tires – you get the content that answers your query in the most straightforward way.

2. Inject Some Personality into Your Writing

Just because you’re writing about a dry topic doesn’t mean your writing has to be dry too. Adding a few jokes or some funny memes into your content can make it more engaging so you hold the reader’s attention span for longer. Here are some examples of engaging content, just so you know.

There is a risk here of trying too hard to be funny and having the opposite effect, so use jokes sparingly and employ the services of a good editor. The aim is to be likable, not a comedian.

You can also use personal experience and anecdotes so your content is more relatable. Humans love stories, and one way to make sure that your audience is hooked on every word is to start out with a story. For example, Copyblogger illustrates this perfectly by starting their article with: “Yesterday I went out to buy some walking shoes. I ended up spending $2000. And that’s not counting the shoes…” They’re writing this to make a point. The article has nothing to do with the opening sentences but the beginning does the job of hooking the reader.

Try and stick to your true voice too, or put another way – write in a conversational way that’s similar to how you’d speak. Trying to be too formal or corporate results in stuffy writing.

Marketer Gary Vaynerchuck is famous for his prolific use of swear words, regardless of whether his audience is a class of 12-year-olds or a corporate boardroom.

You do have to be careful not to offend anyone here, so make sure you have a clear picture of your audience and your brand voice before you start creating content. And of course, swearing isn’t compulsory – just try to be yourself.

3. Use Images and Formatting to Break Up Your Text

One of the best ways to put off potential readers is to show them a wall of plain text. Big chunks of text are hard to read. This is especially true if the topic is technical or dry.

Make your content easy to scan and digest by formatting it with short paragraphs, headings, and bullet points. Use bold, italics, and block quotes to highlight the most important parts of the text.

As well as formatting your content to make it more readable, break up large blocks of text with graphics and images that illustrate and complement the written words.

Infographics are a fantastic way to present facts and figures. Using them can make even the dullest topics more engaging. Stats show that people can recall 65% of visual content up to three days later (compared to only 10% of written content), and people share infographics 3x more than any other visual content.

Image source:

4. Look for Interesting Angles and Stories

Many topics may not seem particularly exciting on first consideration, but if you dig a little deeper, you can usually find an interesting angle.

Personal finance bloggers are experts at this. Budgeting and credit cards aren’t exactly the most exciting topics, but the most popular blogs get millions of visitors every month.

For example, the blog Man Vs. Debt engages readers with a compelling story (family sells belongings and pays off debt to travel the world) and interesting articles such as “24 Quick Actions You Can Do Today That Can Change Your Financial Life Forever” and “How Could You Make An Extra $200 This Week?”

If you’re stuck for ideas, Medium also has some great examples where writers have identified interesting angles on less interesting topics. Some current examples on the trending page include:

  • 30 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Programming (computer programming)
  • Pump You Up: The Enduring Power of Protein Powder (health)
  • How ‘Digital Nomads’ Game the System to Work in Paradise (work and careers)

5. Consider Alternative Formats

If you’re still not having much luck with making your written content more engaging, you might want to consider a different format completely.

Some topics lend themselves better to video. This is especially true of educational “how-to” content.

Just have a quick search on YouTube for “plumbing” – not exactly the world’s most exciting subject – and you’ll see thousands of videos, some of which are engaging enough to have earned millions of views. Some of these video topics include:

  • A day in the life of a plumber
  • 10 plumbing mistakes and how to fix them
  • Most expensive plumbing fails – plumber’s worst nightmare!
  • How to start a plumbing business with no money

While some of these topics may also work well as written content, putting them in video content form makes them entertaining and easily digestible.

Need Help With Content Creation in a “Dull” Industry?

If you are ready to get more traffic to your site with quality content that’s consistently published, check out our Content Builder Service. Set up a quick consultation, and I’ll send you a free PDF version of my books. Get started today and generate more traffic and leads for your business.

2 thoughts on “5 Ways to Turn Dry Topics into Content Marketing Wins

  1. Mark Armstrong

    “The aim is to be likable, not a comedian.” Great line, so true. It’s not about heavy-handed slapstick, telling bad jokes, or trying to be a standup comedian. It’s about smiling as you write, and being good humored. Using images is vitally important for breaking up text and retaining reader attention– but beware of tired memes and stock images that have been around the block way too many times. Original images, germane to your content, grab attention, and tell people you’re different– and being different and distinct is vital to a brand’s success. Great post, thanks.

  2. Michael Brenner

    Thanks Mark, it’s a great point!

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Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner is an international keynote speaker, author of "Mean People Suck" and "The Content Formula", and Founder of Marketing Insider Group. Recognized as a Top Content Marketing expert and Digital Marketing Leader, Michael leverages his experience from roles in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as his leadership in leading teams and driving growth for thriving startups. Today, Michael delivers empowering keynotes on marketing and leadership, and facilitates actionable workshops on content marketing strategy. Connect with Michael today.

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