5 Ways Of Making A Specialized Topic Interesting For A Wider Audience
Are you passionate about a topic that only specialists care about?
For me, it’s intercultural communication.
Actually, I am still kind of lucky. It’s a topic that has a lot of practical value. After all, through the process of globalization, everybody is coming in contact with people from other cultures all the time.
Other topics might be significantly harder to deal with than mine.
And yet, intercultural communication still is a topic that still hardly anyone besides the practitioners- and the researchers in the field, cares about.
Whenever I have been trying to build an audience in that space, the only people that have responded were people who themselves are working in the field.
And yet, my real interest is in making intercultural communication accessible to the masses of people.
The question is simple: how do you do that?
How do you take a topic that only a specialized group of people care about, and turn it into something interesting for a wider audience?
1. Find pain points that the audience can relate to
Luckily, there are thousands of examples of intercultural encounters gone wrong happening around the world every single day. Some of them have some major implications for somebody’s life.
Take this photo of George Bush and King Abdullah, for example.
At the time when it happened, it led to a major backlash within the US population. In a culture where holding hands is associated either with romance, or with parenthood, this doesn’t really come as a surprise.
For King Abdullah, however, this sign of holding hands didn’t mean anything despite friendship. And George Bush merely respected his gesture.
Misunderstandings and conflict happen whenever two cultures are getting in contact with one another.
Therefore, in the case of intercultural communication, it is relatively easy to identify pain points that people can relate to.
- what pain points are related to your field of interest, which a larger amount of people than just the specialists in your field can relate to?
- how can you show to your audience that knowledge of your field can help them solve these problems?
- how can you frame your message in a way that it shows the audience the practical value of solving these pain points?
2. Capture the essence of the field
A wider audience isn’t interested in all the details that the specialists are discussing. Rather, they need a quick overview of the most important points that can actually help them in their day-to-day lives.
This is really a difficult skill to learn.
The ability to take a massive field of knowledge, and break it down to its essence.
Let me give it a shot here.
Intercultural communication is when two worldviews come into contact with one another. Its purpose of existence is to help people work through all the misunderstandings, clashes, and conflicts that are naturally arising as a result.
In other words, you first show your audience why this is actually relevant for them, and only then you show them how they can apply it in their own lives.
- what is the purpose of existence of the field that you are specializing in?
- what are the most important elements of your field that readers really need to know about?
- wherein lies the real practical value of your field?
3. Make it personal
Show how the field relates to the lives of real people. Use storytelling to underline your message. Bring plenty of examples from yourself and other people that show how knowledge of your field can improve people’s lives.
And most importantly, figure out how these points apply to your potential audience.
Figure out who these people are that could potentially be interested in your field.
But wait, interest is actually not enough.
You need to figure out who actually is struggling so much with one aspect of their lives, that knowledge of your field would really help them make a real difference.
If somebody only looks at your content out of interest, then perhaps he or she will come back a few times and read a few free articles, but that was that.
These are not the kind of people who will read everything you produce. These are not the kind of people who will eventually be willing to pay for your products or services.
Remember, you want to speak to the right kind of people. The people for whom you can really make a difference in their lives.
- who are the people for whom you can make a real difference in their lives?
- what stories can you tell that will speak to these people on an emotional- and cognitive level?
- what are the emotions that will trigger your audience into action? How can you evoke them?
4. Use the language of your audience
Find out how your audience likes to communicate. They will need to feel that you are speaking the same language as them. That you are the person who understands them and their needs.
For a long time, I’ve only been able to reach other intercultural communication specialists through my writing.
That was because I was speaking in a way that only they could relate to. I was using language that only they understood. I was using terminology and examples that only they could appreciate.
Forget about the terminology of your field.
Feel free to experiment with your own words in ways that you believe will be more relatable for your audience.
Instead of saying “cultural framework”, say “worldview”
Instead of saying “solid financial management”, say “financial intelligence”
Instead of saying “value proposition”, say “unique selling points”
Make your message simple, clear and relatable. Make your audience feel as if they were talking to a friend, not a researcher.
- How can you change your language in a way that is more relatable for your audience?
- How can you simplify your message in a way that everybody can understand it?
- How can you change your terminology in a way that is recognizable, memorable and shareable?
5. Add a sense of inspiration or entertainment
We all probably heard of the three options for making successful content:
Knowing that you are dealing with a very specialized topic, I am sure that your content is mostly fulfilling the educational aspect.
Having an element of one of the other two aspects can help you to increase your audience dramatically.
For many people, pure education is simply too boring.
I myself found that I have zero skill in entertainment whatsoever. Nor do I have any desire to get involved with entertainment. Therefore, I decided that at least some of my articles would have elements of inspiration in them.
In my own field, I found there to be some ways of doing so:
- learning about other cultures is a life-long pursuit that will enable you to keep learning and growing every single day of your life
- helping people to communicate across cultures contributes to building an understanding between different countries and therefore helps build a better world
- learning to look at the world through the lens of another culture will give you a completely new way of looking at the world
By bringing elements of inspiration into my content production process, I was able to attract completely new audiences compared to the times that I was focusing on pure education.
So, how can you bring elements of inspiration or entertainment into your content production process?
In the end, it all comes down to moving away from the way that the people from your own industry are communicating among themselves.
Remember that the people you want to talk to right now are very different people from the ones who you are familiar with. You guys have been living and breathing your own area of knowledge for years.
Your audience may have zero existing knowledge about the subject at all. They may have completely different things that they are dealing with every single day as compared to you. They may care about completely different things that you or the people you are dealing with on a daily basis.
Get to know these people.
Figure out what they care about. And then figure out how your topic relates to these things.
Start a conversation with them. Not as an expert, but as a friend. Find out what problems they have that they are desperately trying to solve but don’t know how.
There is an audience for every topic in the world. You just need to discover them.
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