Do you ever feel like everything you read online is generic – as if everyone is writing from the same pile of notes? Do you ever worry that your own blog is headed in this same direction? With a constant pressure to create more and more content, and yet not give away so much that you have nothing left to sell, it can be pretty easy to sit down and churn out fluff. And before you know it, the articles on your site are essentially the same ones found on every other website in your niche.
Here are some ideas for creating a more unique contribution to the web.
1. More Time and Energy
Originality takes more time but it’s worth it. First, come to terms with the reality that higher-quality content does a lot more for your website and image than does a higher quantity. Once you accept this fact, you don’t feel so guilty about slowing down to give brainstorming, writing, and redrafting the time it deserves.
And when you give your articles more time, they take on lives of their own. A first draft may be bland and uninspiring, but you can go back later and more fully develop the ideas within, expanding on them and getting more creative.
2. Put Your Heart Into It
Do you care about the subject you’re writing about? It’s hard to be original when writing about something that doesn’t light a fire in you. In fact, if you lack that passion, you probably don’t even bother thinking about your niche when you log off your computer, and thus new, original ideas never hatch – it just becomes a job to you, as boring as running the cash register at the local grocery store.
Find a niche you’re passionate about, or research your niche enough that you find a reason to get excited. Life’s too dull when you don’t have an interest in your work, and the generic nature of your writing will reflect that.
3. Do More Research
Research does more than just make something more interesting for you – it also exposes you to more to draw from in your niche. The more knowledge you have, obviously the more subject “threads” you have to draw from.
You could sit in front of your computer all day, trying to drag ideas out of your brain and come up with nothing. On the other hand, you could sit down with a current book in your hand and have ten or twenty article ideas jotted down before you get to the end of the first chapter.
And the more research sources you draw on, the more you have to say. In fact, why not take your blog to the next level and cite your resources at the end of the articles in a bibliography? This type of well-rounded, credible article can bring profits to another level as well.
4. Actually Be an Expert
Are you set on becoming an expert in your niche or are you just mindlessly blabbing to draw attention to your product or service offerings? If you want to make the real money, becoming an authority is where it’s at, and becoming an authority involves knowing so much about your niche that you have highly credible and original contributions to make.
Constantly build your knowledge and you’ll also find your in-font-of-computer brainstorming sessions are more productive as well.
5. Know What Other Bloggers are Saying
While it might seem following other bloggers makes it more likely to copy them, it often turns out the other way around. Because if you only read one or two other experts in your niche, you’ll have so little to draw from you may mimic them without even realizing.
Rather, expose yoruself to a wide range of different opinions from various sources, online and offline, and your brain takes in enough material to develop ideas on your own.
You may still end up discussing ideas someone else came up with, but your knowledge is one of evolution and growth rather than mimicry.
6. Address Other Writers
Don’t just leverage other experts in your industry for research purposes either; you can also create original article material by conversing with them directly or expanding on their ideas, while clearly addressing them. Talking about the other experts in your industry really brings your articles to life and makes them current, and if the people you talk about are well-known, it can draw a lot of attention to your work.
In some cases, it may even open up dialogue with big movers in your niche.
In any case, your article will be unique.
7. Criticize Other Writers
You don’t always have to agree with people who write in your niche. In some cases, you may want to counter or criticize their stance and explain why you disagree.
These can make very interesting and unique articles; just make sure you really have the knowledge to back up a challenge like this, and always do it with tact, so as not to anger someone. People don’t like being proven wrong and sometimes can react in a hostile manner if they find your criticism online.
8. Expand On Your Own Work
Don’t just write your articles and let them go dead – pay attention to your stats and blog comments to see what’s working. Then, go back and expand on these ideas.
Create a series. Give updates, describing how things have changed. In some cases, you may even want to discuss how you were wrong and how your ideas have evolved since based on new information or epiphanies.
Your first article is often only a surface idea, but by continuing that thought-line, you can fully develop the ideas put forth. After all, writing is not just a way to get thoughts down; it’s a form of thinking itself.
9. Carry a Notebook
Often, the best ideas come not while sitting in front of your computer but when going about your day, doing normal-person things. This is when new angles strike you because you’re relating your ideas back to the real world and making interesting new associations.
In other cases, it’s just that your subconscious grinds away while not working, and other times you find a cool way to start an article by telling a story from your life.
Unfortunately, these ideas often blink by, and even if you make a mental note, you tend to forget them later on. By jotting down a quick article idea, unique thought, or outline for a list article, you can preserve it for later.
Do you want to regurgitate, or be a thought leader? The latter is becoming more important if you want to maintain a long-term, profitable presence online. Make a commitment to be unique starting today.