When you write about a niche or an industry on an ongoing basis, it’s inevitable that you’ll eventually find yourself in a situation where you’ll need to write about something that others have already covered ad nauseum. You’ll want to write about trending or worn-out topics to focus on search engine optimization (SEO), to demonstrate your thought leadership, and to continue to write about things your audiences care about. But you’ll also want to avoid simply regurgitating what everyone else is writing about, because that will only disengage your audience.
Here are some things you can do when writing about trending or worn out topics, to keep your writing more stimulating and your audiences engaged.
1. Take a New or Different Spin on Your Topic
One of the easiest things to do when writing about a worn-out topic is to take a new spin on the topic you’re covering. For instance, if everyone is writing about what’s “new,” write about something that’s “old” or “outdated” and turn the article into an exposé of what people might actually think is outdated but is actually indispensable. A recent example can be found in an article about Cobol programming in the The Wall Street Journal (accessible if you have a subscription). And if everyone is writing about what is “trendy,” write about what is “traditional” or “classic.”
2. Assume a New Perspective
Another easy way to write about a stale topic is to assume a new or different perspective for the same topic. For instance:
- if everyone is writing about how a new platform will be beneficial for marketers, write about how it will be beneficial for customers
- if everyone is focusing on the benefits of a newer technology, touch on the limitations of that technology
- if the topic in question is usually written about with a more sardonic or negative tone, then talk about it from a more positive viewpoint.
And so on.
3. Interview Subject-Matter Experts
To make a trending topic more compelling, interview subject-matter experts for their opinions on your topic, especially if they have conducted their own research. As an example, you could interview a CEO with a successful track record regarding his or her best practices for running an enterprise-level business. Then share that with your audience. His or her specific opinions will be different from other CEOs in different industries and who have very different backgrounds. So even if you’re covering an overused topic, it will offer a unique perspective and a compelling story.
4. Conduct Firsthand Experiments or Research
If you want to write about something in a compelling way, conduct firsthand research on your topic. Ask questions about your topic that no one else is asking and see what you discover. For instance, if everyone is talking about all the benefits of using a cloud-based platform, discover some of the concerns with using a cloud-based platform. Or do a little digging to uncover unique statistics and findings about a topic, so that you aren’t simply regurgitating or sharing the same information that your audience has likely heard before. Work hard to uncover new information about a worn-out topic.
5. Pay Attention to Feedback and What Readers Are Saying
If you read a few different articles with the same spin on the same topic, find out what people are saying by scanning the comments section or checking social media to learn more about what the piece is missing. And then see if you can address those holes or gaps in your own writing. For instance, if you write an article about the benefits of a new type of adware, scan the comments section of the article to see what your readers are saying about it. Then address their specific concerns and feedback about the adware you’re writing about in a follow-up article.
6. Focus on Your Headline First
When writing about a trending topic, focus on your headline first. See if you can come up with a captivating headline or title that’s interesting about a stale topic that hasn’t been used before you start to write your content. For example, if you need to write about why data analysis is important for your client’s business, see if you can find a compelling headline first, such as, “Ten Ways Data Analysis Will Increase Your Company’s Bottom Line,” or something similar. And be as specific as possible when focusing on your headline. For instance, include the name of a specific person, place or thing, or include a compelling number or statistic, such as this theoretical title, “How Google Drive Can Increase Your Employees’ Productivity by 84%.”
7. Remember to Use Your Own Voice and Forget Trying to “Discover” an Entirely New Idea
New ideas are exceedingly rare, especially if you aren’t conducting original research of your own. So, instead of trying to be original with your ideas, try to share an original perspective and voice. For example, if a lot of writers in your niche use a more academic-sounding tone, use a more approachable tone and write using plain language. This doesn’t necessarily mean you should use slang or be unprofessional, but it does mean that you are more likely to stand out with your audience. While other writers in your niche compile documents that are dense and take longer to read, you can write in a way that is easier to read but is still reliable and trustworthy. Or if other writers are more biased, try to write about trending topics with a more neutral point of view. And so on.
Do you have other things you like to do or keep in mind when writing about trending or worn-out topics? Share with us in the comments below. And be sure to share this article with others who will find it useful too.