Don’t you hate when you start to read something and then your mind wanders to the grocery list, weekend plans or the self-reminder to pick up the dry cleaning on the way home from the office? A paragraph in, you start again. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Maybe it is your fault because you are unfocused. More likely, it is the author’s fault because what they have written is boring.
Capture that feeling of being so bored that you want to poke your eyes out. Now, think of how you want your customers to feel when they are reading your blog, whitepapers, ebooks, etc. The mere thought of your customers being that bored with your content is dreadful and mortifying. Is it not?
The stakes are high when it comes to publishing great content. Content is the backbone of your inbound marketing strategy. Yawn-worthy content can negatively impact traffic, leads and sales. If you want your online marketing efforts to pay off, it is important to get this right.
Well, not to fret, we are here to make sure that you aren’t the boring author with your name in the byline. Of course, no one actually sets out to be boring (except maybe Ben Stein – remember those dry eye commercials? Then again, his boring is actually interesting, so it works).
Here are some of the most common pitfalls that can make your writing boring and how to avoid them:
1. You are afraid of offending your audience, so your persona is stiff and stuffy.
I’ve seen this happen quite a bit over the course of my career, especially in those industries that are considered to be “conservative”. If your target customer is in finance, consulting, for example, you might be concerned that showing too much personality will be considered unprofessional. Here’s the thing – professional doesn’t have to mean boring. Geek out and let your passion show. Your enthusiasm and vibrant energy as it relates to your work will draw make your content more compelling, memorable and enjoyable to consume.
2. You overuse jargon and industry terms, which translates into “blah, blah, blah.”
You have a ton of knowledge to share, be sure that it doesn’t get lost in a sea of meaningless terms and industry fluff. Your focus should always be to communicate as clearly as possible. Use short sentences and speak in terms that everyone can understand. Using too much jargon minimalizes the message, which is the opposite of what you are trying to accomplish in content marketing.
3. You write as if formal and interesting are mutually exclusive.
Stale will get you nowhere, and no one wants to read dry material. It is, in fact, possible to create a compelling piece that maintains a formal tone. Use personal anecdotes, metaphors and case studies to support your message.
What are some other ways that we find ourselves guilty of publishing boring content and how can they be avoided? Share with us in the comments below.