This is a guest contribution from Julie Petersen.
With so much information on the web these days, the competition for high-quality content is strong — and it’s growing.
You can’t always introduce new topics to your target audience, since influential bloggers have already written tons of content on the issues you have in mind. There is a trick though: you don’t necessarily need an original idea to craft unique content. You can always develop your own piece by adding the right dose of creativity into any topic your audience is interested in.
For example, let’s say you’re running a lifestyle blog and you’ve exhausted all topics about getting inspired, finding a purpose in life, achieving goals, and all other themes that are usual for these types of blogs. You can take the good-old idea on giving goal planning tips, but you can add a different angle. Here are few examples:
- How Blogging Can Help You Plan and Achieve Life Goals
- Do You Really Need a Calendar for Planning?
- How Plans Can Prevent Procrastination
Or, you can relate your niche with the concept of blogging, so you’ll give tips to other bloggers. In this case, the topic could be something like Unusual Methods for Planning Blog Posts. There are endless variations and spins you can think of.
You may find several other online posts when you get such an idea, but your individual approach will make it different. How can you think outside the box to bring a new angle to a tired topic?
This blog post takes the traditional theme of planning and connects it to something unconventional: pet birthdays, fan conventions, and divorce parties. It’s a nice example of how you can give new life to a boring topic.
Remember: it’s definitely possible to achieve originality and a substantial following. However, it’s going to take hard work and practice. Read on; we have some tips that will help you with that!
Why is unique content so hard to find?
There is a simple answer to that question: huge competition.
It doesn’t matter what your blogging niche is and what topic you have in mind; your audience can probably find tons of other resources when googling the keywords you used.
That being said, it’s clear why it’s hard to find entirely unique content if you limit the term unique to something that’s available from a single author. Even if you think of a topic that has never been covered before, other bloggers will get inspired by it and they will take it further with their own ideas, so it won’t be that unique any longer.
Does that mean you should give up on blogging? Of course not! You see, there is a trick: the term unique is quite flexible in its essence. You can still work on an evergreen topic and bring something fresh on the table. You only need to reveal your individual style and think of some original ideas.
Matthew Inman’s The Oatmeal is a great example of how boring or mainstream topics can get really fun when you add a twist.
Why unique content is important
If you don’t serve anything new for your audience, you won’t be special for them. They don’t want to read the same old tips over and over again.
For example, let’s say you’re writing a post that’s supposed to help people surpass mild depression. Instead of writing cliché tips like “read a book, watch a movie, take a walk, talk to friends, and meditate,” you can suggest something radical, like “quit the job that’s making you miserable and start your own business.” — but you better be ready to back it up!
You can also link the theme with celebrities; that often works really well. Untitled3
The reality of search engine optimization (SEO) is essential to understand
Without satiating and unique content, your site will not receive the search results you want. Search engines value your content as much as your viewers. And ultimately, you will need exposure in search engines to achieve success.
A search engine measures uniqueness a bit differently than your readers do. Your audience needs fresh ideas, but Google needs non-plagiarized content. In other words — do not copy someone else’s work!
Your content needs to include strategically-placed keywords and phrases as well and clear, well-written human copy.
Keywords in the right places are indicators to search engines, which will help them to classify your site and target the appropriate viewers during searches. Don’t overstuff your piece with keywords, though. When you use too many keywords that your audience can easily recognize, they will affect the overall uniqueness of your post.
Valuable content will increase your expertise and authority
In addition to search engines, you need to consider your readers. Search engines will give your blog/website higher SEO rankings if your content is seen as an “authority”. To achieve this status, your posts need backlinks, as well as a steady and large number of visitors (who maintain long view times).
When you give readers something of substance, you are more likely to retain them as consistent visitors. When they get used to your blog, they will perceive your content as unique even when there are tons of similar articles on the web. They will always read yours first. If, for example, someone is looking for articles related to digital, social media, and technology, they are most likely to visit Mashable as an authoritative blog in the niche, since they know they will always find something valuable there.
Think of it this way: if you read informative articles of great value, you’re most likely to bookmark those sites for future use. That’s the effect you want to achieve with your own posts.
How to create unique content
You will need to begin each post with a great idea, however, this can be difficult to achieve on a consistent basis.
First, you must understand that high-quality, original content requires various areas of focus. Don’t narrow your mindset down to the specific niche you’ve chosen; make sure to research other areas of interest and connect them with topics relevant to your audience.
Review the following guidelines to get started.
1. Idea Generation
If you’re creating site content, then you probably have ample experience and knowledge in a specific area to produce quality work (and a foundation to back it up). However, that does not always mean you can create intriguing titles, headlines or unique ideas.
It’s normal to face a point of low inspiration. Below are some of the best online destinations that help you find ideas for unique posts.
TweakYourBiz is a great option that quickly provides hundreds of ideas (separated into categories like lists, bests and problems) for writers with a simple keyword search. Not all of these suggestions will seem logical, but at least they will inspire you to find a twist to the theme you plan to cover.
Other tools, such as Coschedule’s Headline Analyzer and AMI’s Emotional Value Headline Analyzer, will help you choose the most efficient headline when you have few alternatives on your mind.
Expand your imagination and check out blogs outside your given niche. Even if a blog is completely off-topic from your own, you will be surprised to find unrelated areas of interest intersect and inspire new ideas. Then, you need to relate those ideas to your own niche, and you’ll come up with a unique topic for your piece.
For example, let’s say you find an awesome blog post about the importance of academic writing, but you’re running a blog related to business startups. You can infiltrate this ideas in your own editorial schedule with a post entitled How Academic Writing Made Me a Better Businessman.
This is a great way to discover what’s trending in your blog’s subject matter. If people are talking about it and reading about it, then you need to provide them with your perspective. Maybe the idea won’t be 100% unique, but your own point of view will make it original.
2. Adequate Research
Once you get some strong ideas, it’s time to research properly. You don’t want to give your readers false information and you don’t want to tarnish your status either.
Start by using Google and search your blog idea or title. The results will be your first exposure to the competition. Review the top results and look for the following:
- Check for clarity and flow. Is the article informative and interesting? Does it flow naturally? If it’s believable and factual, you can add it as a resource in your post.
- Be attentive and check the date on the posts as well. If the posts are newer, they will seem more relevant to your audience.
It’s also imperative to keep your research organized. The popular app Evernote is a great source for storage. The tool connects on all devices and users can save anything from video and audio files, to online articles, images and more. Have you heard the latest news? Evernote now allows you to pin the content you locate online. That’s awesome, since you’ll get an even better overview of the sources of inspiration you find.
When you keep track of all resources, you won’t risk using someone else’s unique ideas just because you forgot where they came from.
Remember: get inspired by the research; do not copy the content you found!
3. Editing and proofreading
Once you’ve drafted a post, it’s time to edit. You should never publish a first draft. This disregards an essential part of the process and will greatly affect the authority of your site content. Use the following tips to get started:
You should make sure to check the uniqueness of your piece during the editing process. Use online tools like Plagtracker to be sure your content is 100% original.
When writing for the web, your articles must be engaging, but also concise and to the point. The attention span in the digital world is short, regardless of the audience you’re targeting. If you post boring, unclear content, it won’t matter how unique it is… not many people will read it.
Use tools like The Hemingway app for help. The tool highlights issues like complex sentences and adverb usage, and it provides an overall readability score.
Read your content out loud to yourself. This can show you repeated or misplaced words that you missed while reading quietly to yourself. It’s also a great check for flow and natural tone. Repetitiveness affects a reader’s impression for uniqueness, so make sure to get rid of it.
No matter what topic you are covering, your content should always be created with passion, motivation and honesty. Every content creator should be using these tips and tools to enhance the creation process and come up with unique pieces of content.
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Chief Engineer at MarketHive
Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member