Jesse James Rice

Write or Die

A blog about needing words to breathe.

There Are No Boring Topics, Only Boring Content.

Welcome to Normal, Illinois.

I recently submitted myself for copywriting work at an Insurance company in Normal, Illinois (not kidding). If I haven’t bored you yet, hear me out. In a recent interview with the recruiter, she glanced at my resume and had to ask “why?”

What seemed like a no-brainer to me, I realized, might actually be a bit of a mystery to many. There is a simple way to bring a ‘boring’ subject matter to the forefront of content, (and possibly make it more exciting than the latest Mission:Impossible flick)

When I dive into subjects (big or small) I find many reasons to be excited by them. From subjects as varied as beef production to the NFL, there is always a common thread that keeps me passionate:



If you find out the questions your audience is asking, and maybe you’re asking yourself, you can come up with compelling ways to reveal your client’s business. We’re all autodidacts at heart.

Let’s stay on the subject of Insurance. I’d start by coming up with a series of questions I’d ask:

    Why do I need insurance?

    What are the alternatives to Insurance?

    Who invented all the rules and regulations regarding Insurance?

    Why should I even care about Insurance?

    Why am I being forced to pay for Insurance and who’s face can I punch for those co-pays?

That list didn’t take much effort to make. Just go through a ‘who what when where why and how’ regimen. Then, do a quick poll of those in your life representing your core audience; find out the questions they’re asking.

    How do I know I chose the right coverage?

    How much coverage do I need?

    What if I have no money left over after bills?

    Why can’t anyone write a damned policy I can understand?

Prove it.

Okay, so far this may still sound boring, but hang in there … these are real people with real concerns. If they’re spending time looking for these answers, why not spend your time providing answers on your clients’ site?

Forums and social media may also lead you to the biggest questions being asked. Hopefully, you can at least see the infinite potential in content ideas being raised here.

It will behoove you not to shy away from bizarre questions too, like Buzzfeed, the ever-popular click-machine. They recently answered questions like “How well do you really know Flo, the Progressive Girl?” and “What are the most odd body parts that are insured?”

There are no good questions.

Okay, first of all, not true. But maybe you are still lacking inspiration? Pratik Dholakiya, the Co-Founder & VP of Marketing of E2M, suggests these tools to help you come up with questions which are interesting to you and your audience:

“Use a random word generator to help cure your tunnel vision.
List questions as soon as they come to mind. Don’t filter.
You’re not doing it right unless some of the questions you come up with are completely absurd. (A bit of absurdity can work for viral content anyway.)
The best time to brainstorm is when you’re having trouble focusing. This is backed up by scientific research. Still more scientific research suggests that creativity is enhanced when you think about contradictions and embrace paradoxes.”

Back to that insurance client: the reason I gave that recruiter why I was interested? It was clear and present, after asking a few questions:

Insurance is important. It’s a chance for me to learn.

So grab those boring subjects by the balls, ask some questions, and turn those yawns into screams.

Jesse RiceComment