Let’s get some things straight right from the start: a technical writer will never think of their content as “boring.” And their point is valid. After all, we all know just how vital a well-written document is and how much headache and frustration a confusing user manual can cause.
However, readers might not always qualify your product review service as interesting. They might see an excellent piece of documentation but still think it’s just a hard to read snoozefest. So how do you change that perception and get your audience to engage with your technical content?
Well, there are some essential tricks you can use to make it a lot more interesting for your readers, without compromising the level of information it must contain.
Here are a few tips you can implement to make your technical content more appealing to your audience members:
Emphasize the Useful Factor
Let’s go back to a fundamental question any writer may have: why would anyone read my content?
For technical writers, the reason behind why people will go through the documentation is the need of acquiring information on a particular subject, either to understand a process, get the technical know-how or even solve a problem they have. That said, your article must emphasize that it serves precisely this purpose – of helping readers achieve a goal.
Readers won’t perceive your content as boring if it genuinely has an educational value. So, try to offer precise, useful information to them.
Look for Unique Angles
Though your job implies focusing on a variety of technicalities and processes, it doesn’t mean that you can’t get creative with how you present them.
The right angle can take your text from a boring piece of documentation to an enjoyable read. For instance, since people have to go through all the text to achieve their goal, engage them by breaking the technicalities with concrete examples or easy to understand analogies. Users might find it easier to follow the steps you’re describing if you give them some practical information that can complete the technical aspects.
As a general rule, people will find it hard to follow a block of text. Though you may break the information into short paragraphs, consider adding a visual element to the document as well.
Your text can benefit significantly from the right picture or graphic. Any visual you use should be a representation of the information you have in the document. Infographics work best in this case, as people can see the entire process as a whole, and then refer to the text for more details.
Keep It (Relatively) Short
It sometimes seems like an impossible request. The more complex the process, then the longer the text; otherwise you may risk compromising the quality of the documentation.
Still, it’s worth noting that an ultra-long text might make your readers disengage halfway through. Try to keep your explanations short and simple, and when you think the flow is going on for too long, add a visual element to spice things up.
Make a Connection
Any text can benefit from having a human factor. While you may not be able to add a relatable character to your documentation (though whenever you can, make sure that you do), there are other ways to make your text more human.
Essentially, it all depends on your tone and writing style. Use a friendly voice, as if a friend’s offering someone a piece of advice. For instance, if you’re writing about ways to use a particular tool, reassure readers that many people face difficulties when doing so and that your article will help them.
The right voice can make your article seem approachable, and it’s an excellent method to keep your audience engaged until the end.
Over to You
While you may not think of your content as boring, your reader might have a hard time staying awake. It’s a rather peculiar fact of life, considering they most likely stumbled on it because they have a genuine interest in the subject. Still, once you add a bit of spice to your text, it will undoubtedly be a lot easier to keep them engaged and coming back.