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In an ideal world, I would only be writing content regarding makeup and beauty but sadly that doesn’t always happen. Although it’s been only 2 months since I began working at Inbound Mantra I have written some highly technical pieces of content. These content pieces were about things I knew absolutely nothing about.
The first time Raj asked me to write content for a technical support giant I was utterly bamboozled and didn’t know where to start. But being the research oriented person that I am I found out how to do it and submitted a pretty good piece that the company liked. So when I was looking for potential topics to write about and came across this Inbound.org answer I immediately realized what I needed to write about.
We often think that content creation can only happen for industries/topics that we are masters at. But then how do journalists write such stellar informative pieces? They can’t possibly be masters at every topic they try their hand at.
While my content is still a work in progress there are some tips that I can offer to those who need to craft highly technical engaging content. I have learned through trial and error but perhaps this blog can save you from haplessly trawling the interwebs for a solution.
So without further ado, here are the 5 tips to create engaging content on topics you know nothing about:
Clients can often be the bane of our existence but more often than not, they are a boon in content creation of this variety. They definitely have years, if not decades of experience, in their field so it would be extremely silly to not use this in your favour. Talking to clients about the topic you need to cover can give you a great head start on the content you can create and help point you in the right direction for more research.
So don’t be full of yourself and just ask questions! They could be the silliest ones ever and your clients might even laugh at you but they’ll respect you for it once they see your stellar content.
The biggest mistake I made when I initially tried my hand at technical content writing was getting carried away with expressing everything in jargon. Clients don’t want content so technical that unless you’re an expert there is no way in hell that you’re understanding it! They are looking for content that evokes emotions and can connect with their audience; not educate them about what they already know.
It may feel lovely to understand what sounded like gibberish before but no need to use all those big words in your content. It isn’t going to add anything to the reader’s knowledge but may detract from what you’re trying to convey. There is plenty of technical unengaging content in the interweb, don’t add yours to that pile.
A huge myth that the Internet labours under is that the longer the content, the better it is. But journalists have writing content down to an art. They first write a verbose draft that has all their thoughts, they then ruthlessly edit it till they have the crux expressed concisely and then add any storytelling elements that they may have edited out. This allows them to send out clean copy that isn’t so long that readers may get bored and stop reading.
Technical readers aren’t here for BS and don’t try to serve them that, they know better.
The first thing that every journalism student is asked to master is the art of interviewing. This is the best tool in their arsenal to understand the ground realities of the situation at hand. So why shouldn’t content writers do the same?
We aren’t writing content in silos. If you are just taking the brief from the client, researching on the Internet and writing your piece you’re missing something very important. What is that? Stories, ofcourse!
Storytelling is the weapon of choice of all successful content writers and that is because this is the type of content that draws the reader in. So interviewing your target audience, client and competition are key. Use their inputs to craft a piece that is succinct, engaging and expresses the most complex topic simply.
Secondary research has been given a bad name but there are a lot of things one can glean from the Internet and other literary sources. So don’t just use primary sources for finding information, concentrate on researching online and offline too to understand your topic.
Research till your eyes bleed, but atleast have an intermediate understanding of your topic before talking to people regarding it. Asking silly questions is fine but unless you have a general understanding of the topic you won’t even know which questions to ask.
Journalists have been creating content for time immemorial, but inbound marketing has just begun to dip its toes.
Comment below if my headless chicken struggles were of some use to you and share your own too. Let’s all have a good laugh and learn from one another