So, what are the rest of us supposed to do for a living?
If you or your client’s line of work doesn’t involve regularly throwing televisions out of windows or exterminating Daleks, don’t despair, you can still create scintillating copywriting for your website.
However forlorn a subject may seem to you, it is actually quite easy to find interesting angles to write about once you know how.
Ask the right question
According to Copyblogger, the key for any copywriter to unlocking the interestingness in boring subjects stems from one basic commandment: ‘Always ask the right question.’
In Pratik Dholakiya’s blog post he gives the example of ‘coffee cups’ as a mundane topic and proceeds to brainstorm engaging questions, such as, ‘who invented the first coffee cup and how did they get their inspiration?’
So, Pratik, on behalf of copywriters everywhere, I accept your challenge and raise you the topic of: ‘dog food’.
Using Pratik’s copywriting theory, the next step is to take a moment to consider questions about dog food using the simple ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘when’, ‘where’, ‘why’ and ‘how’ formula.
- Who regulates dog food production in the UK and how?
- What exactly is in dog food? (According to the back of my dog’s food pouch, it’s 12% ash. Mildly concerning).
- When does dog food go off and how can you tell?
- Where is the most dog food bought in the UK? What does this say about the
- dog owning public?
- Why do some dog foods come in tins and others in pouches?
- How do brands develop and test new varieties of dog food?
See, not that hard.
The value of this technique is that, whether you are a copywriter writing for a client on a completely alien topic, or an e-commerce site owner who needs to produce original articles about your products, you can apply this formula to any subject to quickly shake out some interesting copywriting ideas.
What are your audience asking?
Another technique for seeking inspiration on an uninspiring subject is to look at what people are asking online.
For example, a search on Google and Ask Jeeves reveals a series of dog food related questions, any of which could be expanded by a copywriter for an online article or blog post:
- What is the healthiest dog food?
- What foods are dangerous for dogs?
- Which is the best dog food for diabetic dogs?
Furthermore, because people have taken time out of their busy day to enter these questions into a search engine, you know that these are issues that your target audience wants to know about.
By providing the answer you encourage more visitors to your site which is more potential business across your virtual threshold.
Watch your angle
In your mission to find motivating subject matter, remember that the purpose of your copywriting is to attract prospects and encourage fans of your product. Unless it is part of a carefully managed PR strategy, it is best to avoid topics which may present your product in a negative light.
For example, a probing, ‘warts and all’ blog post exposing what goes into dog food on a dog food retailer’s site, may discourage prospects from buying the product, undermining the purpose of your copywriting.
Always try to find the right balance between interesting and informative, not interesting and irreversible reputational damage.
In brief, the success of spinning boring topics for copywriters is:
- Ask the right question – follow the ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘when’, ‘where’, ‘why’ and ‘how’ formula to unleash interesting subject angles
- Find questions your audience is asking – type your subject into search engines, such as Ask Jeeves to generate popular and recent queries
- Unless it is a well managed PR move, avoid undermining the quality of your product by pursuing potentially negative angles
- Listen to what your audience is asking. If a prospect asks a question on your forum or blog, write – or ask your copywriter to write – content addressing the question in full to attract further like-minded visitors.
How do you tackle dry subjects? Let us know below.