It used to be that simply having a static website was enough to garner a healthy amount of website hits. Now, it’s not simply about website hits. It’s about discovery, engagement, and reengagement, and the key to this is your content. An effective content marketing strategy gets visitors and followers to notice and find your site, stay on and engage with your site, and to continue coming back where they can build trust and eventually become happy customers. Originality is essential to growing your business through content and increasing your rank on search engines, so read on to learn how to come up with valuable and original content for your audience.
Put simply, original content is content created by you! This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to recreate the wheel and come up with groundbreaking ideas or conduct original research. Original content can be your opinion on something someone else has published, an old topic presented from a fresh angle, comparing information from other sources, etc.. You can even repurpose your original content into more original content!
Original content is closely linked to your brand strategy. It’s written and presented in a particular voice and style, which stays consistent across website pages and media channels. This makes it easy for your audience to detect what is original and what is not.
While you may use other sources to create your own content, you cannot copy and paste someone else’s work and call it your own. Even if you copy/past and make a few alterations or include different photos, this is still not original content. You can, however, use others’ ideas, facts, and statistics but you must give credit to the original publisher.
This brings us back to why original content is so important to your website and business. We’ve mentioned quite a bit on our blog that search engine ranking is vital to your business’s success and your site’s content can make or break those results. Google has algorithms which can detect a copycat.
If you’re guilty of stealing someone else’s content, Google (or someone else) will sniff you out and you will be penalized for it. Even if you have information on your site that appears in more than one place online, Google calls this “appreciably similar” and has issues deciding which to pull into search results, and therefore rankings for both pages suffers.
Original content will not only rank higher on search engines but is inherently higher quality. People are more likely to share original content which in turn builds your brand and your position as a thought leader in your field.
Anytime you write with the intention of sharing, keep your audience at the forefront of your mind. Ask yourself:
• What is important to them?
• Am I speaking their “language” (i.e. using slang or industry terms with which they’re familiar)?
• Will they find this information useful?
Knowing your audience is crucial to writing original, effective content.
Many of the answers you’ll need to determine how to write for a given audience can be found in your own internal customer data stores. If you’ve been collecting information from site visitors and customers, use it to your advantage. If you haven’t, now would be the time to start! Look to collect data such as:
• Buying habits
You may not be writing on a groundbreaking topic, but we’ve never heard it from your perspective before! Share thoughts on current events or relevant topics from your perspective. Letting your personality shine through and inviting people into seeing from your point of view is a terrific way to naturally come up with original content.
Chances are you’re a small business owner or, at the very least, knowledgeable on the topics you’d like to write about. Use your own experience and expertise to craft the perfect content and position yourself as a thought leader in your industry. Generally, this entails identifying a challenge and coming up with a clear solution.
We all know the value of being a good storyteller. People sit up and listen to someone who has a tale to tell or articulates themselves in a unique way. Be candid with your audience about personal experiences and be expressive!
Let your personality shine through! After writing your content, read it out loud and see how it may come across to your reader.
Group related content on your site or in order of relevancy so readers can find what they need quickly.
Choose interesting images to compliment your writing. Not only will it make your content more interesting but instantly makes it more shareable.
Take a tip from social media: stay in touch with your audience by watching your newsfeeds for up and coming topics to build content around. You’ll be sure to find “of the moment” subjects of conversation this way.
Take note of frequently asked questions from your customers and turn them into useful content for your readers.
Remember, you don’t need to be Hemingway to create original content. Keep your eyes and ears open and stay true to your own voice and in touch with your reader’s needs.