My name is James (not that it matters, but my parents always taught me it is polite to introduce oneself) and I have been writing business-related articles for quite a few years now.
Recently, during one of those late-night introspection sessions that we all have to deal with from time to time, I started honestly and almost brutally dissecting the stuff I write on the blog I run with a couple of friends and on other websites.
After about half an hour of palm-sweating and ulcer-inducing pondering, I came to the realization that I have definitely started writing boring business articles, or at least more boring than I used to write back in the day when I still believed business articles needed to be creative and unique.
It was only logical that I spent the next couple of hours trying to figure out why this was the case. Let's just say I didn't sleep too much that night and leave it at that.
In any case, I have come up with a few observations and theories that I feel the need to share with other writers just like me.
The Early Days
Ah, the early days—how fondly I remember you! I was only becoming a true family man back then; fresh off years spent traveling around the world as part of my career in the trade show industry and ready to revolutionize the world of business writing with my spectacular articles and extraordinary literary prowess.
As I started reading up on business blogging (as is common), I was finding out that most "experts" shared my initial instincts, i.e. that creativity and a unique voice is the best thing you can do for your business blogging.
Even now, if you check out the basic 'how to write business content' articles, guides and even infographics, you will often hear that it is vital to be creative and that only unique business content gets noticed and shared.
So, what were novice bloggers like myself to do in such a situation? Well, they're to buckle down, tap into the deepest wells of insights they have obtained over a decade-plus of traveling the world and interacting with all kinds of businesses and belt out articles that would turn this blogger into the next big thing in the world of business blogging—right? That’s how it works?
The Sobering Truth
Well, not so much …
As it turns out, writing half-decent (I am not a delusional prick) content that is going to be somewhat more creative and unique is not enough to garner much attention. In fact, it might actually harm your chances of getting such content accepted and shared once it is published.
Whenever I would offer blog owners and webmasters articles that were challenging some widely-accepted concepts and ideas, it would be as if I was talking to a wall. They would either not respond at all or they would ask me if I was open to modifying my article so that it resembled every other article on the subject ever written.
At times, I would strike gold and get published, writing some really innovative and interesting articles which often spoke about subjects from a standpoint that had rarely been considered. Unfortunately, when this happened, the amount of shares and comments was just plain discouraging.
We are finally completing the circle and coming back to that waking night when I ultimately came up with a few theories on why too much creativity can actually spell trouble for business content.
My first theory is that basic, almost painfully boring content has the biggest potential audience. It is the same with any other art form. You are far more likely to make it with mainstream, middle-of-the-pack stuff than with something that might challenge people or actually take sides.
Basic content also makes people feel involved. When they know they understand as much as the next reader, they are more likely to have a positive response to the content. It is quite simple. No one likes feeling left out.
As far as blog owners or webmasters go, they might be afraid to alienate some of their readers by providing content that might be controversial or at least to some extent dares to unsettle the status quo.
Of course, it would be nearsighted not to realize that business writing often needs to meet certain prerequisites that other niche writing does not have to. I am talking about enormous amounts of references and data that can be checked. Sometimes it is difficult to make content pop and sizzle when it is based around dry numbers.
What About the Future?
In case you were wondering, I haven't stopped trying. My articles have definitely become more boring in the sense that I am now more likely to settle for an idea that has been regurgitated dozens of times before to please a publisher. Still, I have been trying to find new ways to make my content challenging or at least interesting.
Moreover, there are still websites and blog owners who are not afraid to publish creative content. For example, you are now reading an article called Why I Started Writing Boring Business Articles, and that's not a bad thing.
Other people are trying, too. From both successful bloggers and content marketing companies, you will still hear about the importance of great, unique content. In fact, I recently come across a great blog with articles that are definitely not your ordinary digital marketing articles.
My plan is to keep trying, definitely. If you'd join me as a business writer, I'd really appreciate it. Take care, and thanks for reading!