How to write about difficult subjects without totally boring your audience.
Just because a topic is complicated doesn’t mean it’s impossible to explain.
It doesn’t have to be a snoozefest, either.
Suppose you manufacture a tiny plastic component that fits inside engines. Your little plastic gadget does all sorts of fantastic things like extend the engine’s life, save fuel and mute sound.
It’s downright amazing!
Or, maybe you run a food testing laboratory. Every day, your microbiologists and chemists test food and water samples from local manufacturers for quality and safety.
You’re securing the public’s health!
But every time you write about your fabulous widget or services, your audience is like:
Explaining complicated or intricate subjects is a difficult challenge for many businesses. (I’m looking at you medical device manufacturers, the metals and plastics folks and everyone in fintech. )
Nevertheless, it is a challenge that must be worked through. Creating content is not optional in today’s world.
Writing that answers questions, solves problems and entertains people is how companies connect with consumers. It’s also how businesses sell to other businesses.
- 60% of people are inspired to seek a product after reading content about it.
- Millenials expect brands to develop content for them, and 80% want to be directly entertained through content marketing.
- 80% of business decision-makers prefer to get company information in a series of articles versus an advertisement.
(Source: Content Marketing Institute)
Creating Content May Be Necessary, But It’s Not Always Easy
How do you write about complex, multi-faceted subjects in a way that not only educates but also engages and entertains readers?
Here are three easy strategies anyone can use to effectively communicate complex ideas to everyday readers. I go into more detail about why they work and the benefits of each below.
Break it up into a series of blog posts.
Use bulleted lists and clear headings and subheadings throughout the post.
Create visually appealing infographics.
A 10,000-word article detailing every phase of a civil litigation case as it proceeds through inception, discovery, settlement discussions, trial and appeal is asking a little much of readers.
Besides, where’s the suspense?
One of the easiest ways to explain a difficult topic is to break it down into steps or individual parts.
You can dig deeper and explain a subject in a much more detailed way if it’s spread out over a series of posts.
A 5-part series of 1,800-word blog posts about a court case is much more appealing to readers, and it gives you more opportunities to connect with them. Each phase of the court case warrants a post of its own that delves into how the process works and why readers benefit from the experience and expertise of the law firm writing the post.
A blog post series gets readers coming back to your site.
Remember the dramatic cliffhangers that soap operas used to show every Friday? A long lost spouse wakes up from a coma or a main character is shot but we don’t know who pulled the trigger. That’s the idea we’re going for here.
Each article should end with an enticing detail to get readers to come back the next day or click on the next post.
It doesn’t have to be as dramatic as daytime TV, but a little promise of what’s to come goes a long way.
Sometimes, like in a manufacturing process, the steps naturally build upon one another.
Other times, it doesn’t matter what order the posts are read. I’m currently reading a series of articles about search engine optimization by Aaron Wall and his team at SEOBook.com.
I can learn about on-page optimization one day, then skip to long-tail key phrases without missing a beat. It doesn’t really matter what order I read them in. By focusing on a single topic in each post, I’m able to practice each day as I go along and learn by doing.
In the meantime, I feel like I’m building a relationship with the company.
As I read more from the authors at SEOBook.com, I learn they are easy to understand. What they tell me works. The folks over at SEOBook.com are earning my trust.Trust is big-time currency on the internet. Click To Tweet
By breaking my lessons down into a series of articles, SEOBook.com keeps me interested, keeps me coming back to their site, and is building a trusting relationship with me.
People don’t read anything anymore. Well, almost never. With so much information hurled at us constantly, we’ve become adept at scanning. Scanning allows us to quickly decide if a piece is worth the investment of our time.
Using bulleted lists, headings and subheadings that are clear about what’s to follow breaks complex information into manageable chunks.
People almost can’t resist reading bulleted lists.
When readers see a bulleted list, they are primed to believe they will receive:
- Information that is succinct.
- Information that is specific and important.
- Information that clearly supports the topic.
But be careful.
- Don’t just throw random sentences into bulleted lists.
- When there’s no apparent reason at all to do so.
- It breaks a reader’s trust.
Your headings and subheadings are like topic sentences.
They should capture the main idea of the paragraphs to follow. You want to be able to scan your article the same way readers will, reading only the headings and subheadings, and still come away with a basic concept of what the whole piece is about.
This will force you to write clearly and succinctly, which will make your writing, and the concepts your trying to convey, easier to understand.
The key benefit of descriptive headings for readers is they can quickly scan the article and know where they need to focus more of their attention first. They may be interested in only one or two key points you have to offer. Make those key points easy for them to find by clearly indicating where they are with headings and subheadings.
Color works, too, in showing readers where the most important information lies.
Using headings and subheadings also has direct SEO benefits.
Keywords are likely to fall naturally into the headings you use. This helps search engines understand your content better, which helps improve your rankings.
Infographics are taking over the world. People love them. When infographics are done well, they:
- are compelling and easy to share
- are engaging and easy to understand
- increase comprehension of complex data
In their infographic, 13 Reasons Why Your Brain Craves Infographics, Neoman Studios shows why infographics are so compelling to the human brain. It covers a lot of information. It’s easy to understand. That’s what infographics do.
Research shows that images make information more engaging, more persuasive and easier to recall.Infographics work because they blend info with imagery to create powerful visual storytelling. Click To Tweet
What better way to explain infographics than with an infographic? Here is an excellent infographic created by OneSpot that literally speaks for itself: