What do you know about potato chip inspection or Halloween costumes for dogs? And yet one day you may have to write about these unfamiliar topics. If not a definitive guide, then at least an ironic blog post.
As a content writer you don’t often get to choose a topic that interests you. Usually, you need to research an unfamiliar topic and adapt your style to it. While it could be a good challenge, one that improves your writing confidence, it can also tax your patience.
Find out how to write a great blog post or article even if you know little or nothing about the topic. Professional content writers use these strategies all the time.
Look for Information in the Right Places
The top search results on Google are useful and engaging, at least most of the time. You can definitely learn the basics about an unfamiliar topic if you read the first two or three top-ranking posts about it. But often, the really good and credible information is buried on .edu or .org sites.
Okay, maybe not the info about inflatable thanksgiving gifts or water guns for toddlers. But for more challenging topics involving science, technology, psychology, or education, digging deeper can be rewarding.
It can spare you from the hassle of having to switch from one site to another to fully understand a topic, which brings us to the next tip.
Limit Multitasking in the Research Process
While often necessary, multitasking lowers your productivity. The human brain can handle multitasking, but it doesn’t function optimally when it needs to divide its attention across mediums, screens, and channels.
Listening to a YouTube video while browsing for articles isn’t going to improve your information retention rate. Especially if your free hand is on the phone, replying to a message you have just received.
To tame an unfamiliar topic, you need to be like a lion tamer. You need to offer it your sustained attention. You have to watch it carefully and focus on the details.
Otherwise, you run the risk of getting it all wrong, and not only that but also losing a lot of time in the process.
Stop Gathering Data and Start Using Your Creativity
Voltaire once said that the secret to being a bore is to tell everything. It’s certainly true when it comes to an unfamiliar topic. Because you don’t know much (or anything) about it, you want to learn as much as possible so you can describe it confidently.
But the truth is that you can’t master a topic in just a few hours. Not even if it’s cow decor and collectibles or funny math t-shirts. Your researching is more like skimming the surface of a topic, similar to the way that some large birds skim the surface of the lake to catch fish. Even if they catch one, the lake will still have more than they will ever catch in their lifetime.
The simple solution to not losing your mind researching something you don’t want to research in the first place is to be creative. Gather information, but only up to a certain point. Once you cover the essentials, use your creativity to weave things together into a narrative.
It doesn’t have to be a narrative in the traditional sense of the word. But your intent should be that of the storyteller using their imagination to maintain attention.
Remember the Human Element
Whether we’re talking about public restroom rating or gum removal businesses, all topics and niches have one thing in common – the human element. As a writer, you have the good fortune of writing content that is intended for people. Even if you have to please Uncle Google in the process.
Any topic, however intellectual or obscure, can be tamed if you reduce it to the target reader. Ask yourself a few key questions about the people interested in the topic:
- What do they want to know?
- Why does this matter to them?
- What tone do they prefer?
If you tackle an unfamiliar topic from your perspective, you may end up cramming your article or post with filler sentences and long and boring paragraphs. Rather, write from the perspective of the person who wants to read it, however young or old, educated or uneducated, focused or distracted he or she may be.
Escape from the Prison of the Title and of the Keywords, If You Can
Sometimes it’s not the unfamiliar topic itself that makes the writing challenging. Rather, it’s the title and the keywords that force you to write about it in a particular way. If you can change the title and reduce the number of keywords, or replace them with related ones that are friendlier, do it.
But if the title and the keywords are beyond your control, don’t despair. If you provide enough matter in your content, you can smuggle in keywords like article writing tips without a problem. You can even repeat keywords like writing tips without prejudice to your readers or to Google.
Don’t start with the title or the keywords and then try to grow your article or post to meet the word count. Rather, build a quick knowledge base around the topic by reading about it, and then reduce it to the length of your article, accommodating the title and the keywords to it.
This may sound a bit complicated, but it’s not. Unless they’re absolutely awful, titles and keywords cannot restrict your creativity and the endless paths you can take in writing.
Give Article Writing Services a Chance
What about those cases when small business owners or managers have to cover an unfamiliar topic for a business blog or social media page? When they have to become content writers?
Imagine a farmer trying to write about the latest trends in local mobile marketing. Or a local mobile marketer trying to write about the latest strategies for increasing crop production during the global warming-induced drought. Wouldn’t they both be better off hiring article writing services?
The thing about professional content writers is that they have made taming unfamiliar topics their job. It may not be an action-packed job like taming lions, but it certainly is an interesting one.