I think it’s fair to say that there is increasing pressure on business owners and marketers to create seemingly huge volumes of content, to support their digital marketing efforts today. When examined, the reasoning is sound; more content means more “stuff” to share via social media channels, which in itself should increase traffic to your site (assuming you have some level of influence), as well as an inherent improvement in the chance of ranking for certain keywords, and generally offering improved engagement.
Today’s time-poor businessperson is bound to look for inspiration – a common phrase we hear being “I don’t know what to write about” or “why would anyone want to hear what I have to say”? There’s a fine line, though, between seeking inspiration, and spinning existing content for your own needs – some of which borders on plagiarism and at best steals content and often sentiment from the work of others. It’s hard to reconcile the increased need for content with the surely-more-important need for thought leadership and true originality.
It’s too easy to say “it’s all been said before” and to simple augment curated content with minimal original insight.
So what to do?
Ideas for bringing back creativity in a time-poor world where content rules:
Crowd<insert verb here> became all the rage a couple of years back, yet with the continued success of crowdfunding, the discipline of crowdsourcing appears to have waned over time. Nevertheless, the “wisdom of the crowd” can be a great tool for designing and creating truly original content. Start by seeking out the common questions people ask about a particular topic, before considering the most thought-provoking and outlandish ways to answer them.
Accept that keywords “just happen”
Forget targeting keywords verbatim, and focus instead on engaging content that sets a new agenda. Too many people make it a primary concern to litter content with the exact keywords and phrases that Google tells them are “de rigueur”, and compromise on the quality and sentiment of the piece as a result. Try using real language instead, and make the reader’s response the most important outcome. Let the search engines fill the gaps, when it comes to keyword ranking, because they’re actually pretty good at that, anyway!
Challenge the Status Quo
Spin comes when we follow the herd, and stay “safe” with our content. There’s always another angle to come at a story from, and generally speaking, those with the new perspective will be those that benefit from higher engagement and response. Stay close to your true values and beliefs, but perhaps focus on what’s not being said by everyone else, rather than what’s being repeated again and again.
Am I being too idealistic to assume that quality content should be original content? As ever, I’d love your thoughts.