I try to check in with my web clients a few months after I’ve completed their website. I’m always excited to browse their posts and pages and see what they’ve put together and when I get them on the phone to tell them congrats and how excited I am about what they’re doing, the conversation almost always leads to the topic of creating new content.
Whether you’re a newbie or veteran blogger, I think creating unique content is one of the biggest struggles of blogging. It’s hard to be active on social media outlets and not fall victim to a me too approach after reading your favorite bloggers. But working solo can lead to tunnel vision and that never ends in a clear vision of what type of info potential readers are looking for either.
Whenever I find myself pin balling between these 2 camps, I often voice my frustration to my husband. “There are no more original ideas – it’s the same old problem – no one can really come up with anything completely new and original, it’s just… bah!”
And he responds with the wise words of Bono, “Every artist is a cannibal, every poet is a thief”. The editor in me wants to jump gets on the plagiarism bandwagon, ready for justice; but to be honest – Bono is right. The artistry comes when we give our own personal spin on whatever we’re looking at. We get inspired by things that are around us. As bloggers, it may not be just our own personal viewpoint, but rather our own experience and expertise.
Even after years of running a blog, I find that I have to fight pin balling between these two camps and I often find myself in the all too easy to declare “burnout”, not being able to post anything. But posting quality content consistently is what gets readers (and those search engines) to love your site. So how do you keep the good ideas flowing without finding yourself in the me too camp?
Here’s the simple approach I take to creating quality, UNIQUE, content:
Find Someone You Can Bounce Ideas Off Of
Find a trusted partner that you can bounce ideas off of. It doesn’t necessarily have to be someone that’s an expert in your field or a blogger themselves either. In fact, it can even be a certain task (all throughout college, my best ideas came about while I was blowdrying my hair). You’ll want to make sure that whomever you’re using as a sounding board understands that you’re looking for constructive criticism as well as loyalty to you and your great ideas. The biggest bonus to chatting through your ideas with someone is that it leads to clarity in what things should happen first, and they’ll more than likely ask some questions that will inspire you with even more ideas.
Schedule an Appointment
Frequent brainstorming sessions help to keep on track and fuel creativity. Set a specific time, mark it on your calendar, set an alarm on your phone and remember to schedule these appointments regularly.
I was inconsistent in brainstorming and seemed to only take on the task when I was running out of ideas or feeling the beginning stages of burnout coming on. Brainstorming under pressure is the worst. I recommend to my clients that they plan blog posts in monthly increments. They set a timer and write down all the ideas that come to mind. Then they go back with a blank calendar and schedule them all. Then there’s no reason why they don’t have something to write about, because it’s already planned.
Use the Tools that Work for You
A creative brainstorm is only effective if the tools you’re using are right for you. Some of my clients use a blank Word document. Others use an empty table or white board with a large stack of different colored sticky notes. I currently use a piece of scratch paper (divided into the topics I cover on my site), slate the ideas into their corresponding categories, and then manage the scheduling of my posts with an Editorial Calendar for WordPress plugin.
Some of my clients use a blank Word document. Others use an empty table or white board with a large stack of different colored sticky notes. I currently use a piece of scratch paper and then manage the scheduling of my posts with an Editorial Calendar for WordPress plugin. I’ve only been using the plugin for a few months, but I’ve found that its helped me with keeping up on my posts. The plugin even allows you to add some content as you schedule each post – so I try to write a rough outline for the post while it’s fresh on my mind. I use that outline as a starting point when I sit down to write, rather than hitting up Pinterest and checking out other articles that might hit on the topic I’ve chosen – I find that I’m a lot more original, and a lot less likely to become me too, if I do.
Make A Plan & Stick to It
I hate to even say this, but no amount of brainstorming is going to do a world of good if you don’t make a plan and stick to it. Part of making a plan is to not set the bar too high. I’ve noticed with myself and my clients that going all out usually only leads to not hitting the mark. Instead, assess where you are now. Implement a brainstorming and post scheduling method that works for you, and then stick to it.
So what do you currently do to come up with unique content for your site? I’d love to hear about it and try out your best strategies.