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Is boring the new interesting?

By Mikela Dennison, Senior Account Exec @ The Clarity Business

Here at The Clarity Business, we love to write original posts about PR, business, social media and other things that take our fancy (like beer).

Alongside our own content, we also make a point of sharing and recognising other writers' content - a great way to add insight, spark discussion and create opportunities to connect with other professionals.

Post stirs industry discussion

Last week, I shared an article from Ragan.com into some of the LinkedIn groups I am part of. The post was called 7 tips for writing about a boring subject by Shanna Mallon. It was a really interesting article, offering useful ideas on how to make the most of a topic that mightn't be particularly interesting to write about from the outset.

However, as useful as the original post was, where I found the most insight into this topic was from the myriad of comments that emerged from the LinkedIn group Public Relations and Communications Professionals into which I had shared the article.

From my hometown of Auckland, New Zealand, to London, Seattle, Florida, even Bulgaria, communications professionals from around the world shared their views on the post. It was fascinating to see the different points of view emerge (so fascinating that I created a funky word cloud using all the comments to illustrate this post). Thanks very much to everyone who has been taking part in the discussion.

Some of the comments we've seen included the idea that there are no boring subjects, only boring writers – actually, this seemed to be the general consensus.

A few members noted that if they weren't interested in a subject, they wouldn't write about it – power to you. Others noted that they found the tips in the post useful, or were already implementing some of the tactics. This much is clear though, the post certainly gets PR and comms people thinking about how we approach the topics we write about.

The communicator's role

A strong argument was made that as professional communicators, our role is to take even the most mundane subject, explore it, find the key points and make the material interesting for your target audience. One group member offered a great example of Honda using video to add interest to a subject that would have been less appealing in written form (thanks for the link Marsha). You might have projects where a photo essay might be more effective in communicating a message than a press release. An interactive Pinterest campaign that taps into key influencers could garner more interest than a more traditional advert or news feature.

Other members talked about the left-brain, right-brain perspective, and how putting creativity and curiosity to good use can actually be beneficial to the subject matter at hand.

Horses for courses

This much is clear: when it comes to communications, it's often horses for courses - and our role is to find the best course for said horse.

If, like me, you come from that stance that every organisation, business and individual deserves the opportunity to be represented in the public sphere, then of course there could be times when the subject matter your client or organisation wants you to write about is outside your usual area of interest.

But isn't that challenge where the fun lies?

The chance to be intellectually engaged, stretching your mind and your writing skills to find the juiciest points about a topic and then coming up with the most compelling way to share the information with the right group of people is what many of us writers and communicators live for.

Could it be that the best material to work with is, in fact, that which you aren't particularly interested in to begin with? It forces you to be curious, to be inquisitive, to ask the hard questions, and push back if you need more information to get the full picture.

Maybe we are looking at subject matter the wrong way round.

Maybe boring is the new interesting.