OK, so you know that original content is the key to a strong web presence. After all, it’s what search engines and human readers are looking for!
Photo Credit: 10ch
But how on earth do you actually create it?! After all, doesn’t the “content well” run dry eventually, no matter what niche you’re in?
Luckily, creating original content doesn’t have to be as daunting as you think. If you want yours to have a one-of-a-kind twist, just follow these 7 tips:
1. Speak from your heart
Even though there are hundreds of millions of websites out there (and countless people writing content for all of them!), no one can duplicate your experiences and your emotions. That lesson you learned the hard way and that hilarious encounter you had over lunch the other day are totally original. Even better, they’re totally interesting!
Statistics and hard facts are important (after all, your target audience is looking for legitimate answers and solutions!), but they are what they are. The portrait you paint around those facts will be a one-of-a-kind masterpiece if you put a little piece of YOU into it. Remember, people relate best to other people. If you don’t speak from the heart, you’ll end up writing like you’re some kind of corporate robot – and no one will ever bother to read your stuff.
2. Write about your passions
Even though people can’t hear your inflection or see your hand gestures, they can tell whether or not you’re excited about the topic at hand. If you’re not interested in what you’re writing about, how can you expect to come up with anything that’s original and creative? More importantly, how can you expect your readers to get excited about it?!
Your passions and your opinions set you apart from everyone else on the web, so use them to your full advantage. (And, as an added benefit, you’ll likely get a response from readers that is just as passionate – whether they love what you wrote or think you’re totally off base!)
3. Look for interesting angles
Even the big developments in your niche that everyone is covering can be told in a unique way. For example, if you’re an SEO expert who needs to go over the details of Google’s latest algorithm change, you don’t have to simply rehash what everyone else is saying. Instead, think of a different way to approach the topic.
Well, if you’ve determined that small business owners could get hit particularly hard by the change because they’re trying to do all of their web work themselves (instead of having a full-time web staff to deal with it), write your article or blog post from their perspective. By telling the story from a small business owner’s perspective, you can talk about the “meat” of the algorithm change, without sounding like you’re parroting everyone else.
4. Pick an emotion
A great way to turn run-of-the-mill details into original content is to inject some emotion into it. Being funny, angry, or sarcastic is a great way to make the details memorable, in a way that’s totally different from everything else out there.
And, as an added benefit, if you become known for your witty quips or your sharp-but-accurate tongue, readers will flock to your content, if for entertainment more than anything else!
5. Listen to your readers
Feel like all of the good original ideas are taken? You’re forgetting an invaluable tool – your readers! The comments you get on your blog or the questions that fill up your inbox can be great inspirations for a new article, blog post, or video. Not only will you be covering topics and angles that you may not have thought of on your own, but you’ll also be giving your target audience exactly what it wants to see!
Don’t have a ton of readers just yet? No problem! Just put yourself in their minds. A little bit of mental role playing will give you ideas as to what they want or need to read about.
6. Stop the selling
Lots of web content these days tries to pass itself off as informational and helpful – but is really nothing more than a subtle sales pitch. (Some writers take things even further and write “articles” that offer not-so-subtle sales copy and no useful hard facts… Yuck!)
Instead of trying to create web content that pulls double-duty – and turns off readers – promise yourself that you’re going to save the selling for your sales pages and keep the rest of your content purely informational. That way, you can focus on providing the answers and solutions that people are looking for. Sadly, taking this approach has become original in and of itself!
Ironically, though, NOT selling anything in your content can be a great way to convince people to do business with you. After all, you’ll look like a true expert in your niche – instead of just a gifted copywriter – which is what people are really looking for.
7. Don’t stare at a blank screen
Nothing is more intimidating than an empty Microsoft Word document. You feel like you HAVE TO come up with something that’s totally original, and like clockwork, the creative side of your brain shuts down!
So, how do you give writer’s block a 1-2 punch and still come up with ideas for original content?
Simple! Just keep a notepad near you at all times. That way, you can jot down flashes of inspiration when the pressure isn’t on. These flashes may only consist of a single question, thought, or sentence, but you can use them later to build around – and come up with an original piece of content. You’ll find that things flow much better when you’re not “forcing it”!