It’s a fact of life. Not all content is fascinating to write about. For every article about a fabulous vacation or the best and trendiest fall decorating trends there are six about dry and technical topics. Investing in oil might be a smart financial decision, but it probably doesn’t stir your creative muse from her slumber. If you’re a Writer, it’s well worth your time to hone your skills so that you can write articles, even ones whose subjects you don’t find personally interesting, quickly and knowledgeably. Read on for a few tips and tricks for writing quality content on a technical topic.
Do Some Research, and Know Your Sources
The first step with any assignment should be doing a little background research. Before you commit to writing an article, if you have the chance do a quick search to see what kinds of sources you can find on the subject area. If you’re researching oil investments, for example, search for related keywords, like “oil drilling investment” and “investing in oil wells” to see what you find. Try to give your knowledge base a boost before you pick up the assignment so you’ll have a clearer idea of what you’re getting yourself into.
It’s also important to make sure the information you use for your research is from a reputable source. For this investing example, articles and news from sites like Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times are perfect official sources to trust. (Just make sure that any source you cite in your article takes a positive view of the services the client provides—including anti-fracking sources is probably not the wisest move for a client involved with oil investment.) On the other hand, personal blogs or blogs of competing companies may be interesting reading, but they shouldn’t be used as the basis around which your article is formed. If you need help with the research or you’re not sure if a source is official enough to include, feel free to reach out to the User who posted the article and check.
Find the Right Tone
It might be tempting to jazz up a dry and technical article with figurative language and a familiar tone, but resist that urge. While a well-placed joke and a poetic flourish is typically more than welcome in more editorial content, try to make sure the tone of your piece matches the tone the User expects. If the article is on a serious or business-like topic, try to write a serious and business-like piece, without winking references to pop culture or a sly rewording of a well-known aphorism. As tough as it is to rein in your razor wit, try to stay focused on the needs of the User and their client.
On the other side of the same coin is the need to keep things positive. Simply including the facts about certain topics—from medical risks and symptoms to services for those in jail—can make an article seem harsh or downright dreary. Whenever possible, try to use neutral or even positive phrasing to keep things a little more upbeat. When you’ve finished your article, read it over and see if you can find any areas that sound too negative. Something as simple as swapping out a few adjectives for more neutral ones can make a big difference.
How to Keep Things Interesting—Stay Active
It takes a special balance to skillfully walk the line between a serious topic and a too-dry article. Simply stating the facts will put your readers to sleep, but too much spin on the topic to stay engaging might make the piece feel fluffy. If it comes right down to it and you can’t think of any way to spice up an article on oil well investment, for example, there’s one failsafe option: use the active voice.
The active voice is the difference between saying “The award was presented to Susie for her outstanding work” and “Susie earned an award for outstanding work.” In the first example, something happens to Susie—she’s a passive participant. In the second, Susie takes an active role: she earns her award, it isn’t just given to her. Using the active voice is one trick to make any sentence more compelling, as it creates a sense of motion and importance—of activity—that the reader connects with. If you find that your article sounds a little too dull, see if there are any passages written in the passive voice that you can energize by switching to the active voice.
How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Technical Topics
It doesn’t take as much skill to write an excellent article about a topic you’re already interested in as it does to write quality content on a topic that’s more challenging. While it’s fun—and helpful for tackling writers’ block—to pick up an article that’s a total breeze, Users can’t help but notice an expert handling of a tricky technical topic. If you’re stumped as to how to keep your writing interesting, keep these tips in mind to produce complex, quality writing that will stand out in a crowd.