Blog post boredom – PAT testing challenges

This week’s blog post is quite different.

One of my biggest blog post challenges is how to keep PAT testing from being boring. I mean, I love it, but I couldn’t describe what I do all day in detail without boring myself to tears. So how do I write each week?

It helps that I love my subject. I can’t go anywhere without squinting at their PAT testing stickers. But it’s not a job with lots of pretty images, and it’s a job where every site is different but every day is the same. One cut power lead looks pretty much like any other. It’s rare for us to find anything drastically different.

So how do you write a regular blog about a subject most people find boring? Especially one which isn’t particularly photogenic?

1 – Be open to random inspiration

Sometimes our blog posts only have a tenuous link to PAT testing, and these days they’re often fairly personal since we’ve already covered subjects like fuses and extension leads. Sometimes they’re nothing to do with PAT testing at all – but might be about how we run the business, or what we’re doing around the house.

2 – Plan ahead

Think about seasons or events coming up, and how they relate to your subject. This weekend is Father’s Day – any business can do a roundup of Father’s Day gifts themed to their subject! What about offering your customers an online advent calendar before Christmas?

3 – Check the news

This cuts two ways.

Sometimes news stories can inspire topical blog posts – and sometimes they can kill them off.

For example, today’s post was going to be about product recalls and counterfeit wiring. I’d researched counterfeit cables, and found a BBC video showing how they can affect fire alarm systems in buildings.

However, following the massive tower block fire in London on Wednesday morning, I felt that post was inappropriate and pulled it. I may rewrite it and share it later, but I didn’t feel comfortable publishing it today. I will also confess that that story had me crying down the phone to my sister after I read it.

4 – Have a backup plan

This post has been sitting in my drafts folder for a while now. I’ve got a few other backup posts, for if I’m ever caught short on time either due to work commitments or breaking news stories. These posts are there ready should I need to fire a post out when there isn’t time to write one – this week was a prime example.

5 – Take lots of photos

Sometimes I have to create a photo for a specific post, but more often than not my posts are written around photos we’ve taken of things we’ve found.

A single photo might inspire a full blog post, and can sit happily in your hard drive until you’re ready to use it. Using your own photos also means you’re probably not infringing someone else’s copyright.

Even though our job isn’t photogenic, we can still take lots of pictures. Damaged plugs, burned out sockets, melted extension leads – they’re all visual issues.

Anything can look good with a little practice. Research photography tips and try a few to make your pictures look better. Use the highest resolution your camera has.

After all, I love this picture:

Original photo
Original photo

But prefer this edited version:

Shoddy PAT testing practices
Plug showing PAT test label and cardboard cover – showing the plug has never been opened so wasn’t tested properly. My tester and tools are in the background.

All I’ve done is rotate and crop the image, but I feel it looks much better.

6 – Edit your photos, and don’t be afraid to set them up

The pictures above are good examples of how editing can tighten the focus on a picture. But what about setting them up?

This photo was set up on a screen from a broken laptop, using the backing from a cereal box as a background.

Counterfeit plugs and fuses with recalled power lead ends
One week’s counterfeit plugs and fuses, and connectors from recalled LS15 power leads.

It’s not perfect, but looks far nicer than dumping them on a table and just snapping away.

I’m definitely not a photographer, but a little effort and time here can make a big difference to your posts and give you more confidence to write them.

What are your top tips? How do you keep blogging every week?

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