Admit it, you probably weren’t paying much attention when everyone in Washington was talking about the sequester budget cuts earlier this year. It all seemed very abstract, and there was a lot of political posturing. We heard a few things about air traffic controller furloughs, but as the March 1 start date came and went, and nothing seemed to happen, we all stopped paying attention.
Until we started to see those lines at airports.
Now, instead of some abstract government fiscal debate, it was a situation that was affecting millions of people by causing thousands of flight delays to cascade across the country. Our transportation system, so vital to our economy and way of life, was threatened. Almost nothing else could have made the budget cuts real in such a personal way for so many of us.
When it comes to complex topics, it’s often difficult to get people to pay attention. As content creators, many of us struggle every day with how to make dense subjects accessible. If you’re writing about something that deals with abstract issues, how do you get your audience to care?
Here are a few ideas for how to add that startling element that can make complex content more alluring for readers.
1. Make it personal
Let’s say you’re writing about a medical device — not an easy topic to discuss in a way that will engage general readers. This kind of subject matter often gets weighed down by a lot of technical details, regulatory language and medical terms that may be unfamiliar to most.
What can you add to make all this palatable? The human element: a personal story about how someone overcame health issues in his or her life because of a particular device. Bringing in the experience of someone actually using and benefiting from the product will make it much more vivid for readers than all the technical stats in the world. Give your audience someone they can relate to, and your marketing message will be more memorable and effective.
2. Show readers why they should care
For many people, financial topics are unpleasant. The terminology can be intimidating and the complexity of information can be stressful to decipher.
How can you make this topic compelling? Reach your audience where their pain points are. The key is to show them how they could be impacted personally – how their wallets will be affected. For example, a bank promoting its services may want to post information about smart money management: tips that could help readers learn about credit, saving and investment. Readers will pay attention if they think they will learn something about how their problems can be solved or avoided in the future.
3. Let your audience know how they could benefit
Nonprofits have a very difficult job. Most of their communications revolve around asking for money and volunteers. How in the world can you make that message engaging?
Once again, it comes down to focusing on the audience. The best way to pull them in is to let them know how they can benefit. Yes, people want to read about all the good works accomplished by an institution, but what will really hook them is learning about what’s in it for them personally. For example, an organization that needs volunteers should let people know about all the evidence that shows how volunteering is good for you, both physically and mentally. Highlighting the concrete advantages will be of interest to readers, getting them interested in learning more and becoming involved.
What compelling element does your content need? For more ideas, check out some of our other posts about blog writing.
And if you’re headed for the airport soon, have a great trip.