While the world of public relations is often fast-paced and exciting (what most of us love about it) there is plenty of maintenance work that goes into the job as well, and some of that includes taking very unsexy topics and turning them into something that people care about. Next time you’re faced with writing about something that may seem dry or uninteresting, be it a byline, press release or even a presentation, consider these tips to spice it up for your audience.
Teach yourself about the topic
Sure, on the surface tax preparation, janitorial services or restaurant lighting might not seem exciting. But the first step toward becoming a reliable voice on a subject is to understand it completely. Read some information about your chosen topic, and then run it through Google News to see what the media is saying about it. Check out some trade publications in that particular industry and see how insiders write and talk about the subject. Educate yourself and it’ll be much easier to find interesting nuggets that your audience may find intriguing as well.
Nail down your narrative voice
Once you know a little bit more about your subject, decide which narrative voice is most appropriate. Is your subject largely scientific or will it run in a formal publication or website? Tailor your language in that way. Is it an instructional how-to sort of piece? Try shorter sentences and punchier language. Make sure your story is formatted appropriately as well; it should be easy for readers to digest, and any good format should help guide the audience’s eyes through the piece.
Utilize intriguing data and real-world examples
Sometimes numbers speak louder than words. Find data that matters to people using examples they care about. Comparative information can be powerful, and so can real-world experiences. For example, if you’re talking about instances of cross-contamination in the commercial cleaning of health care facilities, find data that supports the instances of cross-contamination, then use emotional language to demonstrate the importance of proper cleaning and the impact that cross-contamination can have on a person’s health. Maybe on the surface it seems as though people have limited interest in cross-contamination, but everyone can be touched by a good story they can relate to.
Find interesting people to talk to
Every industry has experts. Take inventory of your professional contacts and see if there’s someone you can talk to in order to learn more about the topic. If appropriate, you may be able to get some quotes for your writing that will break up the narrative nicely. Discuss personal experiences and stories from the field with your source, and look for conflict and resolution to add interest to your piece as well. It’s always valuable to speak to an expert; you can find a new perspective or even a brand-new angle for the story itself.
Make it visual for your readers
Don’t underestimate the power of a photo or video to support your writing. People are biologically wired to respond better to visuals over words—the brain processes pictures more than 60,000 times faster than words. Tap into your creativity for a photo that’s captivating and informative, or consider using an infographic to break down especially data-heavy topics. Remember the expert that we spoke about before? This might be a good person to feature in a short video; choose dynamic, well-spoken individuals who will add visual interest to your story. Before choosing a visual, picture it on your Facebook feed and ask yourself, “would I click on this?”
Though not every topic will pull in every reader, there are several ways to ensure that your reach will be broader, your audience better engaged and compelled by the information you’ve shared.
Amy Lecza is the senior content marketing lead at All Points Public Relations where she ghostwrites, copy edits and creates integrated content marketing campaigns for franchise-industry clients.