How Can Websites about Boring Topics Succeed on Social Media?
A reader asked a very important question in the comments which many people ask: how can websites about boring topics succeed on social media?
Indeed for many people it’s already an assumption that so called boring topics can’t succeed on social media. Well I don’t agree. Let me explain why: First
no topic is really boring, second there are social media for all topics.
What’s boring and what’s not? Who decides? What my readers and others probably mean is “popular” or rather “not popular”. What’s boring for me is not boring for someone else.
SEO is boring
I might not care for scanning electron microscopy but some people probably love that topic and spend half of their life dealing with it.
In fact SEO is the most boring topic on earth if you ask me, most people do not even know what SEO is and only recognize it when it went wrong.
- You can’t see SEO
- You can’t photograph it
- You can’t even let some beautiful women dress as SEOs to make the topic more appealing
Nonetheless I made my blog popular beyond the small niche of SEO geeks. I get not only visitors from the
- SEO industry
- the blogosphere
- the web developer community
but also perfectly average people who do not care for SEO at all.
What is social media anyway?
There are basically two ways of making so called boring topics succeed on social media:
- Either you find your niche audience
- or you appeal to the general audience by broadening your scope
and/or making your topic more attractive for the average person.
You do not even have to resort to the beautiful ladies dressed as [insert your boring industry here] specialists. Let me start with the niche finding approach though.
Many people err in that they assume social media is Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
There are also forums and niche communities for every topic. They are not always popular enough but there are also blogs for all topics which matter to more than a few people.
- Q&A sites like Yahoo Answers and Quora
- shopping search engines
- test, review and testimonial sites
cover every conceivable topic.
On unpopular topics
When you find a topic that’s not covered enough yet or is so tiny that it’s just not covered enough yet to make an impact in the marketing sense you can do two things:
Either be the first to create and popularize the niche, like I did with SEO 2.0 (before nobody cared) or you “target” the general public.
Now how you spread the word when your topic is not popular?
To be honest Patricia gave us a very bad example: she called the topic of “outsourcing” a boring one.
At the same time it’s a booming industry and one of the currently hugely popular books and blogs “The 4 Hour Work Week” deals with it.
Let me take on something that’s not as easy.
- Something that’s more than boring or unpopular
- something that people shy away from
- something that’s even ugly but nonetheless very important.
Real life examples
I want to show two examples, plumbing as the easier one. Everybody needs a plumber from time to time and plumbers have to deal with dirt sometimes.
As the second, the more difficult one, I want to use colon cleansing. Yeah, I see you cringe but it can even save your life.
Thus now I introduce to you the five most common methods of making a boring topic popular with social media:
- Harness humor
- Employ fear and loathing
- Transfer popularity
#1 Beautify: it’s the most commonly used way. Display beautiful people or beautiful things. OK, with plumbers it’s easy.
Just take a few guys who do some body building and who happen to be plumbers and make a calendar. Also display the images on your website as the “12 sexiest plumbers of the year”.
Now what about colon cleansing? Well, there even is a blog about it but I won’t link it as the images there are not good for your appetite.
In fact the beautify method doesn’t work here for several reasons, the foremost being that you just do not want to see any of it.
#2 Harness humor: for the plumber this is easy again: The 10 strangest things found in a pipe (a cat, a hand, an old laptop…).
Laughter is very good for you health and humor helps very much in dealing with health issues, especially those of the least desired kind, like colon problems.
You also want to maintain some integrity here and won’t make a list of “the 10 strangest things found…”
Instead you can do something more appealing and it already has been done, something like the strangest things said during a colonoscopy.
#3 Scandalize: scandals are all around us, you just have to pick one up. Something like “Police offers, plumbers and nurses most underpaid professions in the EU:
Do you prefer crime, no running water and people being left to die?”
This works very well with the second topic too: “Worse than terrorism: 20.000 deaths could have been prevented” you guess how…
#4 Employ fear and loathing: check out “Help, I got flooded! How to prevent your flat turning into a cess pool”. The same “Worse than terrorism” article as above also could apply here.
Something more personal would be even better: “My trial: The most painful weeks of my life” where a colon cleansing could have saved him.
Just make sure to stay ethical. Do not employ fear to somehow trick people into buying. Use their fear to get attention just to dispel it not to strengthen it.
#5 Transfer popularity: this is an easy one for both: Just take famous and acclaimed people and connect them with your topic.
This can be entirely metaphoric like “The Ernest Hemingway method of fixing your pipes” (note, it’s also humorous).
It can be more intriguing “10 celebrity plumbers speak out”. Also consider this headline: “Famous actors who were saved from cancer by colon cleansing.”
I always say “when in doubt add Star Wars to it”. There are of course myriads of other universes you can refer to, Star Wars just being one of the most popular.
The Young Jedi Guide to Cooking might sound better than simply “Cooking for Beginners”. Cosplay is even better. People dressing up as their favorite fictional characters always turn heads.
Both plumbing and colon cleansing are prone to be associated with the “dark side” where some evil force resides that can be remedied by some fearless rebel.
Now don’t tell me your industry is boring or not popular
You can popularize everything when you want it. Unless, of course you don’t want it. Then you can resort to the niche social sites.
For colon cleansing you’ll find plenty of forums and questions on Q&A sites.
Also people will want to recommend doctors who made it painlessly. For plumbing also local SEO is very important.
* (CC BY 2.0) Creative Commons image by Richard P. J. Lambert
You are right! There is always a funny or interesting side, even in things that superficially seem boring. I like the way you put things.
I think you are the right man to believe that footer should actually be FEETer. It is natural that pages walk from reader to reader on two feet instead of one. So even though it might seem boring or no value-adding, we want to promote footer into proud feeter! What do you think?
I’m a new blogger. This post is really useful for me.
You are really have a point to something..
This tip are useful.. I start like the tips on this blog..
Sasa: Nice idea. Indeed you often can get attention by misspelling on purpose.
joie: As long as you a blogger, it’s OK with me, you sound like a bot though.
Nas: Thanks for the feedback.
Of course everything said during a colonoscopy is by definition funny.
[…] can have success with social media for virtually any type of website or blog (See Tad’s post, How Can Websites About Boring Topics Succeed on Social Media?) Without the proper focus any blog can wind up wasting a lot of time and effort with ineffective […]
Hi Tad, coincidence or not, just got a plumbing client,
I hope you dont mind if i pinch on some of your ideas above
Coincidence or not… I wrote that content for Lucio’s plumbing client :) If only you’d published this article a few weeks ago Tad.
I guess it’s never too late to steal content ideas though :)
lucio, James: Great, just use it and show me the outcome, I’d love to inspire you.
Tad-will do it mate.
James-Will u be interested judging Top 10 Hottest Plumbers?
I’ll write the article Lucio, but only if I get the number 1 spot as the hottest plumber… :)
i agree.. any topic can be interesting. boring topics maybe just need a little renovation and thats it.
I agree, one can make any topic either boring or fascinating. Sometimes it’s what the writer can inject into the topic.
The skill of the author will make a topic boring of fun. It is like watching cricket on Tv, with a good commentator it can be quite entertaining, otherwise it is boring!
One should always try to look at things differently, a boring thing can become interesting if viewed from a different side.
Your tips were a great help!!!
You forgot Geek-ify
Wow, you inspired me a lot, dude.
Right now I am in the middle of doing a blog that I consider the topic is boring. Hahaha… so no topic actually is really boring. I gues I’m gonna find the community or crowd who see that my topic is not boring.
Its really interesting pa.U have the capacity to change boring topics to interesting one so i really liked it….
From this site i came to know that no topics are boring.Our mind is only cause for boring so i keep my fresh before reading any topics.Thanks for giving such wonderful idea .
A lot of people use Digg and still think all you have to do is submit some good content and it will make “popular”…. You will often find that in your searching your ideas will change, be open minded and really take a look at what works in your niche….
yes..you can make everything popular…thats what social media is all about..hahhaha..!
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