If you’re like most people in business, you may be a little weary of blog posts that sound like generic spiels that were stolen from a LinkedIn website marketing article that got five thousand views two months ago. This is not going to be one of those posts.
What Is Original Content?
This post is about creating original content. In the end, original content trumps copied content. It trumps content that’s been rehashed, re-spun, retreaded and reworded. Original content is the hard stuff. It’s things you come up with from your own head, instead of cribbed from a “How to Be Successful” manual or taken from a Seth Godin book. Original content is a reflection of your brand’s personality, style, unique vision and mythic past. It shouldn’t look, sound, smell or feel like anything else. It should be unique. This is the kind of content that’s most valuable of all. Why? Because people won’t have heard it before, unless it’s been sitting around so long that others have copied it or co-opted it — in which case, you should probably discard it in favor of something new.
The Originality Test
How do you know if content is original? Here’s a quick way — try stating the crux of what you’re saying in one basic sentence and Google it. Does anything similar or even the same come up? If so, then what you have isn’t original, even if you’re convinced that you’re the first person who thought of it.
Originality Takes Time
The truth is, original content is hard. It’s hard to dream up; it’s hard to distill; it’s hard to put into words, and it’s hard to communicate. But in exchange for this higher level of difficulty, you’re likely to attract a much larger and higher-quality audience than with re-spun or regurgitated content that’s been seen or heard elsewhere. The age-old adage of “you get what you pay for” very much applies here, except what you’re paying with is your time, rather than money; quality content takes longer to generate precisely because it isn’t copied from some other website, blog or media form. It’s unique; it’s your own. Therefore, it’s worth honing it to a perfect polish so you can maximize the greatest value from it.
What Originality Can Do for You
Anyone can state the same 10 principles of success that a million other blogs and websites espouse. But not just anyone is going to tell you the difference between Marvin Minsky and Raymond Kurzweil. Original content is specific; it’s precise. It conveys a message people haven’t heard before, and it does it in ways they haven’t seen or imagined. It stands out and it sticks in their heads. It has true value, rather than diluted value, and it usually isn’t just “another layer of the onion” on top of previous knowledge or principles they’ve learned. Original content should open up new avenues and take people in new directions. It should make light bulbs go off in their heads or at least shift their minds momentarily from execution to imagination. Try to remember this post, because you’re not going to see it anywhere else. That’s the message of originality.
To realize the true value of original content, look to Simplemachine, a company with originality in spades and the wherewithal to use it.