There have been lots of interesting things in the news as this year comes to a close. Personally, I find the Occupy Wall Street phenomenon interesting.
Some people might find the Republican debates interesting. Different topics interest and engage different people. Like beauty, what we find interesting is often in the eye of the beholder. What we find interesting, as a result, says something about who we are.
So what do you do if you are the marketing person assigned to interest the media and potential customers in some service or product line that you personally find inherently boring?
You could write another press release that you know nobody will read and hope your next assignment is more personally engaging. There are lots of those tossed half-heartedly at the media every day.
You could write something with a lot of hyperbole and gosh-oh-golly prose. There are definitely enough examples of that gumming up the PR interwebs.
Or, you could turn and face your boring assignment and find what’s interesting within it.
As a freelance writer for most of my career I have written articles on a wide variety of topics, many of which appeared on the surface to be insufferably boring.
Take grout. Some years ago I wrote feature articles for an engineering magazine. My assignment was to write articles that “engineers would find interesting.” It was a good beat. I wrote stories that I found interesting on fractal geometry and chaos theory. I wrote a piece on what it would take to build a mile-high skyscraper and another on international currency traders around the world.
Then I got an assignment to write about grout. Isn’t that the stuff you jam into the cracks in your wall? Yes. Hmmm.
Somewhat reluctantly, I started researching grout. It took a little digging, but I actually found people who have devoted their entire careers to grout. These weren’t boring people. They were intelligent, thoughtful professionals who were passionate about grout. By finding them, I found aspects of the stuff that even I could find interesting. Take the fact that highly engineered grout is what makes it possible to place heavy equipment with laser-like precision. Grout compensates for imperfections in the most exacting manufacturing processes.
Okay, I didn’t find it so interesting that I wanted to devote my life to the study of the molecular structure of grout. But I did come away with the conviction that there is something I could find that is interesting in everything.
Brand storytelling, just like writing, is an ultimately revealing process. If you don’t find a topic interesting, there is no way you can make it sound interesting when you write it up. It always sounds fake. To produce an interesting piece of writing, you have to find something about the topic that you find interesting.
The interesting thing is: if you look hard enough, you can always find it. And, in the process, you find yourself living in a much more interesting world.
- Storytelling vs. Corporate Speak (A Graphic) (brandtelling.com)
About Mark Kindley
Mark Kindley is editorial services director at Communication Strategy Group and has over three decades of experience as an award-winning journalist and business analyst. Arthur Germain is Brandtelling's creator and curator.