There are several reasons why your content needs to be original. First of all, the issue of plagiarism — you can’t simply copy someone’s original work and promote it as your own. If you’re running a blog that you want people to actually read, the last thing you should do is plagiarize content. It’s illegal and simply an immoral thing to do. Second of all, if someone catches you and your plagiarized content, your reputation could be smeared and that’s probably the last thing you want as a blogger. Another really good reason to have original content is the fact that it’s just not good for your SEO. Google likes or prefers semantic content, and if you want your site to rank highly, you need to make sure that you pay quite a bit of attention to how optimized your content actually is.
Coming up with something original can be hard whether you’re writing an article or a blog post — but it doesn’t have to be. There are plenty of blog content ideas out there to help you avoid plagiarism and stay original while producing content that is still fresh and exciting.
What does original content mean?
Original content means it hasn’t been published before. If your text passes the plagiarism checker and there’s nothing like it on the internet — you’re good to go. It doesn’t apply just to text either — videos and other forms of media also fall under this category.
Why is original content a good thing?
For the most part, it has to do with your site’s rankings. If you want to rank highly, have a large readership, and continue growing as a blog, you need to produce relevant content that is both informative and valuable to your readers.
The problem is that this kind of content is hard to come up with since basically, everything is a copy of a copy of a copy (Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club). In the case of content, you can’t be 100% fresh and original — so you need to make adjustments and changes, provide a different view, or an outlook to lure your readers in. Cover topics that are trendy and fit your blog, but put a different spin on them. This way you’re producing original content that’s fresh (relatively), interesting and provides the reader with a new outlook on the subject.
Here are some ways to make your content fresh, original, and interesting:
Don’t go at it alone:
It’s hard to come up with the good stuff by yourself. If you’re running a blog with a team — have a brainstorming session. The more people you have working on it, the better. If you’re the only person responsible for the content of your blog, get your peers, and readers involved. This could be done through surveys or questionnaires. This will help with building your community as well as receiving some valuable feedback from your readers.
Bottom line is — two heads are better than one, and five heads are just terrific!
Interviews are great because in a lot of cases it’s going to be pretty original unless the person you’re interviewing is going to repeat word for word what they’ve already discussed someplace else. You can avoid this by asking them new questions and voila — original content.
Whether you’re doing the interview in a written format, podcast, or by creating a video, make sure to prepare beforehand and take notes so you know exactly what you’re going to ask. If you get to interview someone cool or well-known in your niche/industry — kudos to you! This will not only drive up your readership (especially if you promoted well-enough beforehand).
Having people contribute to your blog in the form of a guest post is great because you’re not just adding more content to your blog, you’re building relationships. Make sure that you agree on the title, length, and other guidelines prior to any work being done by the guest blogger to potentially avoid any issues that might come up at a later time.
It also makes sense to see their previously published posts — just so you’re aware that the content they produce is up to par with what you generally post on your blog. It still makes sense to run the guest post through a plagiarism checker, just to be on the safe side.
Share your story:
Your story, your company’s story, as well as the stories of your employees and coworkers, are all original. Sharing bits of your life with your audience, if this isn’t something you usually do is a great way to draw in your audience. Having a monthly ‘personal story’ blog post that revolves around your personal experiences is bound to be fresh. Just make sure what you’re talking about relates to your blog. If your usual content revolves around digital marketing, don’t suddenly post an article about your three cats if you’ve never mentioned them before. It’d be weird.
The personal blog posts could be about your or your coworkers’ experience with the industry, or about your company’s dynamics or projects you’re currently working on. Basically, it still has to be relatable to your readers and provide valuable insights. If your personal post covers all that — you’re all set. Besides, it is always a great idea to spruce your posts up with visual elements that match the concept you are trying to communicate and immediately catch readers’ eyes. In general, these should be high-quality images in a laconic style. If you barely understand how to achieve that minimalistic yet catchy look, contact a professional image manipulation service, and they’ll have you covered.
Put a spin on it:
Reuse your old content. It sounds counterintuitive, but you could easily turn your previously published infographics into articles and vice versa. It also works with expanding your product review lists — for example, if at the beginning of the year you reviewed 10 best video editors on the market, add 10 more, review them, and publish the article again. You’re not only letting your readers look through content they might not have seen for a while, but you’re also adding new content for them to check out.
People love reviews. Reviews compress a large amount of information into a couple of paragraphs — making them easy to read. Your readers will appreciate well-reviewed lists of products because they already trust you (hopefully) and it’s also the kind of content that’s pretty easy to keep original, especially if you or your team do go through the reviewing process yourself. This could be another way to involve your readers or your community into the midst — ask them what they’d like you to review and it seems reasonable and doable, go for it.
Having your audience create something for your blog is another great way to build and strengthen your community. This kind of content could be in a variety of shapes and forms and it’s also a good way to experiment with various types of media and get out of the rut (if you’re stuck in one).
If your blog usually posts only long-form articles and infographics, it could be fun to do a user-generated video since videos are a really good way to draw in your audience. The main thing here is to give your readers some direction of how and what kind of content you’re going to accept. This way they won’t have to reject something they worked on.
In a lot of cases, what you do end up posting will be quite similar to what other blogs in your niche are posting about. Your goal is to make it sound more interesting and unique than your competition’s. Your blog needs to be constantly evolving, whether through new and fresh content or various content types. The audience that you’re acquiring with your blog expects your content to deliver on several levels and you want it to deliver as well.
It’s important to avoid stagnation because your readers are growing, their interests are expanding and your blog needs to cater to that growth. Knowing what your audience wants is incredibly important because it helps you navigate the vast sea of content, what to publish and what to avoid. Keeping your content original and fresh shouldn’t be overly difficult if you do not rely on old tropes, instead looking for new ways to draw your readers in.
Darya Jandossova Troncoso is a photographer, artist and writer working on her first novel and managing a digital marketing blog — MarketTap. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, creating art and learning everything there is to know about digital marketing.