Yes, You Can Make a Dull Topic Interesting



by Bonnie Buol Ruszczyk, president

Screen Shot 2016-05-22 at 1.13.42 PMI absolutely love words, and the more creatively they are used, the better. At bbr marketing, we are called upon all the time to make complicated, technical or downright boring topics interesting, and most of the time we manage to succeed. As you may expect, I’m also an avid reader, and when I find others who have taken a pedestrian topic and given it a creative twist, I love it.

Which brings me to this real estate listing. It is for a fairly average house in Birmingham, AL. I don’t live in Birmingham, nor do I know anyone looking to move there. I’m not a follower of real estate in any way. But I clicked on the post when I saw it on my Facebook page, mainly because the person who posted it said it was a great read. I enjoy “great reads” so it seemed reasonable to risk 30 seconds to check it out. I was not disappointed.

I was hooked when I read, “This 2 bed 2 bath home is the perfect starter home to show your parents and friends that you have it together.” Unique and amusing angle for a starter home description. Rather than simply explaining the features of the two bathrooms, the author wrote this: “The master bath has a stand-up shower. Would you rather take a bath? The second bathroom has a tub/shower combo. Start a bath and switch to a shower if you are indecisive.” I laughed as I pictured someone wrapped in a towel quickly darting between the two bathrooms to enjoy the luxury of both a stand-up shower and a sit-down tub.

When the writer describes the neighborhood, she lists specific places that I assume are popular and includes this gem, too: “Take your child to the Creative Montessori School or just toss them over the fence in the backyard to get them there quicker because you are running behind because getting a kid ready in a timely fashion is difficult. (Disclaimer: Don’t throw kids).” Surely even the most punctual of parents will see the appeal in this option.

The description included quite a few area hot spots and their proximity to the house, but not in a boring list. Instead, she offered scenarios that allow readers to picture themselves taking advantage of this easy access, pointing out how fit you’ll get by walking to all of them and even listing the various houses of worship in the area using thorough, yet non-committal, prose. “Worried about your soul? Walk to church at Dawson Baptist or Trinity Methodist depending on the age you were baptized. If that isn’t your style, the home is convenient to 280, downtown Birmingham, and the interstate so you can go to the faith of your choosing. I don’t care. If you would rather sleep in on Sunday, the street is very quiet.” Something for everyone!

While I can’t say this for sure, I would imagine this 2/2 attracts more attention and gets more viewings than other similar homes, simply due to this creative listing. If I was in the market for a real estate agent in Birmingham, I would definitely interview Dana Belcher too. (Though I did click on a few of her other listings and was disappointed to see they are not written with the same panache or attention, which makes me think that the homeowners at the listing I describe are more likely the creative ones.)

What did I pull from this property listing other than a blog post? This is proof that you can take a fairly boring topic and give it life. It’s a perfect example of writing from the reader’s perspective to create compelling copy that increases interest and retention. The listing doesn’t just describe the house in factual terms, but it allows you to step into it, check out the neighborhood and even laugh at some things we can all relate to. Who wouldn’t prefer that to the same old, same old?

2 comments on “Yes, You Can Make a Dull Topic Interesting

  1. Pat on

    When I was selling my house in Gardendale, AL my realtor offered me a boring description listing. I thanked her and wrote my own, to which she objected. I fired her, hired another one, and sold the property within 2 months. Don’t let others muzzle your creativity for the sake of “fitting in.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *