Wage War Against Boring Content
We can pretty much agree that there’s interesting content and boring content. Interesting content could include novels, blog posts, how-to videos and fun social media posts. Then there’s boring content, like tedious legal documents (ugh), pages of blah, lifeless product documentation (enuff!), and annual reports that are even less interesting than watching paint dry (make it staahhhp!). Beyond that, there’s content that should be fun but has had all the life sucked out of it. As passionate content marketers, we should all be striving to create more fun content and less boring content. And we should definitely not be sabotaging our efforts and ruining content that could be exciting with a little more work. Below, we’ll take a look at a few common content types and how you can improve them and make them more interesting for your readers.
Without even reading Buffer’s blog posts, you can tell this popular social media scheduling tool’s collection of articles on various marketing and social media topics is a step up from many company blogs. The blogs include a large amount of visual content, including branded images, screenshots, charts, infographics and more. Even if you skimmed through a Buffer blog post, you’d still take away an interesting factoid or two. They also do a great job of breaking up the content by using small paragraphs, large headings for better readability, bolded text, bullets and more.
Documentation and Help Content
Good documentation and help center content can be a differentiating factor for a lot of software and web tools. It allows users to find their own solutions without having to contact support and cuts down on the number of simple support tickets you receive. The key to making documentation effective is to make it user-friendly. Don’t assume that all your customers have a technical background. What might be perfectly understandable to you may look like a lot of boring mumbo-jumbo to the customer that’s trying to figure out a key issue with their use of your tool or software.
Landing page creation software Instapage’s help center is a great example. It’s the help center that other help centers want to be. The page on their Image Manager and Bigstock Library features clear benefits of these features and simple instructions for how to go about using them. The page includes large, colorful, clear screenshots of the software in addition to a few GIFs (like the one below) demonstrating certain common actions.
Your customers, your investors, your partners and other groups are all interested in the state of your company. Information about your revenue, progress towards goals and other successes help people decide whether to take you seriously or to move on to other, better competitors. Even though it has “report” in the title, annual reports don’t have to be boring content.
Take Dell for example. They created a vibrant, interactive website to house their annual report. It’s an impressive feat of both content marketing and digital storytelling and features a user-friendly and design-forward tiled layout.
About Us Pages
About Us pages fall into the category of content that really should be interesting, but too often turns out dry, bland and about as original as a business stock photo from the early 2000s. There’s no reason why your About Us page has to be boring content. It’s your story, after all. Chances are you first got into business because you loved it, you were obsessed with it, you couldn’t stop thinking about your idea. Instill that passion into your company description.
Denver Bacon Company is a great example of a business with an About Us page that oozes personality. From the large headline, to the accompanying picture, to the first few sentences, you can almost taste (pun intended) how much the founders care about real bacon made the right way.
Product descriptions are your chance to sell a product to your customer in the small period of time that they’re on your website. Not every company takes advantage of this opportunity, but the ones that do know how to use rich language to describe their offering and its benefits to the consumer.
Bittermilk, a small business that sells artisan drink mixes, includes unique product descriptions with their mixes. Notice how the descriptions teach you something new about the ingredients in the drink and give you instructions on how best to use the product. Now instead of having to decide whether a product is worth it based on the image and only essential information, you automatically start imagining how you would use this drink mix. Even product descriptions can be interesting. Try following Bittermilk’s example and infuse yours with evocative descriptors and useful information.
Hopefully, at this point, you’ve identified a few examples of boring content on your own website and have an idea of how you want to tackle them. Use the companies above as inspiration for how to revolutionize your content creation. Remember that content is only boring when we settle for boring. Any content vehicle, Facebook ads, invoices, packaging, the back of a cereal box, any of the examples above, and countless other things, can be interesting and engaging. All you have to do is put in the work.