Have you ever been contracted by a client who wanted you to blog for them, but they were in a “boring” industry?
Maybe they only sell dental chairs or shoelaces.
How on Earth do you come up with a blog to make those products interesting?
I mean, it’s hard enough to constantly come up with interesting things to blog about for a company that doesn’t sell “boring” products.
But I’m here to tell you that you can blog like the blazes about a boring industry.
No matter how boring your industry is, I’m going to show you how you can create a blog that people actually want to read (even if you sell cardboard boxes). Let’s jump right in.
Know what you want before you start
When we talk about blogging, it’s important to focus on what we wish to get out of our blogging. For most of us freelance bloggers, our clients are really interested in three specific things. They want:
- Regular blog subscribers
- Miscellaneous hits from people searching on Google
- Traffic from social shares (your blog posts get shared to new people)
And from those three things, they hope to get more sales.
With this post, I’ll show you how you can take a topic as mundane as plumbing equipment and turn it into a blog that will generate new readers and, hopefully, new backlinks.
Broaden the scope of your topic
If you’re not sure how you can write blog content about a boring industry, try to frame your topic in a larger way by broadening the scope.
For instance, if we use the plumbing equipment example, we can broaden this topic to reach a bigger audience. Since most people probably don’t know enough or care enough about plumbing equipment (other than being interested in these two plumbers) to want to read all about it on your client’s blog, you’ll have to move this topic outward to increase your reach.
If, instead of blogging solely about plumbing products, you also started blogging on other topics related to bathrooms, you’ve suddenly opened up the blog to all kinds of different possibilities.
Your number of possible writing topics has increased and your appeal has broadened to include casual searchers on Google searching for bathroom-related topics.
Instead of a niche audience, you’ve now opened up your audience to a much larger segment.
Answer common questions
I had a journalism professor in college who stressed the importance in journalistic writing of asking the following questions when searching for the lead:
Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?
Using these questions with our plumbing equipment example, let’s turn our “boring” topic into something that other people might be interested in reading:
- Who invented the toilet?
- What do I need to know to remodel my bathroom?
- When did toilets become standard parts of bathrooms?
- Where do people go to the bathroom in space?
- Why are all toilets made of porcelain?
- How does toilet plumbing work?
Since Google is constantly searching for fresh, relevant articles to deliver to their web searchers, your post with that fresh content now has a greater chance of being one of those search results.
Writing blog topics centered around this type of “question” format will often include the keywords that Google uses to choose which posts to show in search results. There’s also a chance that your article might answer questions that face less competition in the search engine rankings, meaning your article might be more likely to rank higher on Google.
Questions have a ton of variations and specifics that make them great ways to generate traffic to your client’s blog. This makes using questions a powerful way to choose blog topics.
There are three other tools I like to use when doing research for possible blog topics:
- Wordtracker – lets you research which terms have high traffic and which don’t
- Quora – a community of people asking and answering questions
- Yahoo Answers – similar to Quora, users looking for answers to questions
I personally use these sites when I’m stuck for a particular angle on a post, or want to know more about how people talk about my topic. I’ve found lots of new search terms this way, which broadens your reach even further in your particular industry.
A boring industry that gets this right
The Lowe’s hardware store chain is a great example of a business in a not-entirely-exciting industry that has taken its “boring” products and turned them into something useful for readers of the company blog.
Their Creative Ideas blog features posts about easy do-it-yourself projects, home makeover ideas, and decorating tips (there’s also plenty of information about how Lowe’s carries those products).
The idea with this blog is that they’ve taken “boring” products and supplanted that with useful content. Even if you’re not looking to buy something from Lowe’s, you can certainly see yourself visiting that blog for ideas or inspiration.
In Lowe’s mind, the more time you spend on that site, the more likely it is that you end up buying something — and even if you don’t, you’ve read content that you’ve enjoyed, making you more likely to buy from Lowe’s in the future when you do need to buy something.
Make any blog sexy!
With the right amount of reframing a topic, or changing your approach slightly, you can take even the most mundane of blog topics and turn it into a useful place for your readers.
No matter what you’re writing about, if you’re stuck thinking no one will want to read it, just remember what Steve Jobs once said:
Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact, and that is – everything around you that you call life, was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.
Have you ever had to make a “boring” blog come to life? Tell us about it in the comments!