As any online marketing professional can tell you, content marketing is critical for building brand awareness and forging strong, lasting connections with your customers.
The stronger your content strategy, the better you’ll do at cultivating genuine value that keeps your loyal audience coming back again and again.
But content needs to be more than just “ok” if you want it to deliver the goods.
It also needs to be original to stand out in all the right ways and set your company apart from the rest of the pack.
Here’s a closer look at what original content really is, what it’s not, and how you can start creating killer original content of your own.
What is Original Content?
In the world of digital marketing, the term “original content” simply refers to content that is unique in that it’s never before been published online in precisely that way.
Original content can take many forms, including videos and written material like articles or blog posts.
It may introduce a brand new idea, product, or point of view, but it can also revisit an old one.
For a given piece of online content to be considered original, it has to pass a plagiarism check, and there can’t be any duplicates of it anywhere on the internet.
Combining originality with timely relevancy and top-tier quality in your content creation strategy is the key to appealing to both the search engines and your audience.
How Does Original Content Benefit Your Business?
Here in the digital age, there are literally billions of new pieces of content going up online every day.
Many of them are interesting, relevant, or worth paying attention to. But true originality is something that’s in short supply.
Mastering the fine art of producing amazing original content could be the factor that sets your business apart from the rest of the competition in some pretty significant ways.
Here’s an overview of the benefits.
It’s great for your Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
You could be publishing some of the most amazing content ever written, but it won’t do you much good if no one knows it’s out there.
Good SEO is an essential part of getting a high SERP ranking and keeping your site visible.
A steady stream of high-quality original content helps show search engines you’re doing something of value.
Originality is also a crucial part of filling your backlink catalog with plenty of high-value links.
After all, the biggest websites and most important bloggers aren’t going to link back to just anything. They want engaging original content that hits all the right notes.
It helps establish credibility
Terrific products and fantastic services people can’t live without are part of what gives a business staying power, but they’re not all of it.
Those at the top of the heap in any industry are usually also thought leaders that people see as absolute experts in their field.
Today’s most respected leaders and thinkers didn’t get where they are by reposting other people’s content and recycling the same tired ideas.
Instead, they’ve leveraged the power of original content to showcase their expertise and show people they know how to think outside the box.
It inspires people to pass it on
Website engagement is an integral part of online relevancy these days, and it’s not hard to understand why.
The more people are engaging with a particular piece of content, talking about it, or passing it on to others, the more relevant search engines and social media platforms alike will deem it to be.
If you want people to respond to your content this way, it can’t just be good.
It has to be intelligent, entertaining, well-informed, and fresh.
People run into thousands of old, boring articles or blatant pieces of clickbait every day. So when they see something truly unique, they can’t help but sit up, take notice, and show their friends so they can do the same.
How to Create Truly Effective Original Content
Great original content that gets you noticed doesn’t write itself. And it’s about more than just making sure what you post can successfully pass a Copyscape test.
It takes skill, research, and a solid understanding of what your audience is really out there looking for.
Here are some tips to keep in mind as you develop your ongoing content strategy.
1. Find out what your audience wants
Talented content creators don’t come up with all their great ideas out of the blue.
They take the time to get to know their audience. They become familiar with the questions, concerns, and topics they care about.
Then they deliver content that addresses those things from a place of authority and expertise.
So go out of your way to meet your buyer personas where they live. Browse forums and platforms where they hang out to glean ideas for new content.
Jump into conversations people are having on your company’s social media pages (and on social media in general).
You can ask your audience directly what they’d like to see from you, as well.
2. Check out the data
Whether you’re brand new to content creation or are simply looking for a way to freshen up a blog or content channel you already have, it pays to do your research and data gathering.
If you’re already putting original content out there, crunch the numbers.
What’s doing well, and what isn’t? How has your audience responded to past efforts to mix things up a bit?
Make sure you’re doing frequent keyword research, as well.
What are the most popular topics in your niche right now? What are members of your target demographic out there looking for?
How can you and your team better take advantage of industry trends to deliver inspiring content your audience truly wants to read?
3. Speak from experience
At this point, with new content appearing daily to the tune of billions of pieces, there isn’t much out there that’s never been discussed before in any capacity.
Pretty much every topic has been approached from every possible angle.
But there’s one thing you can bring to the table that no one else can — your unique point-of-view and experience.
Only you have had exactly the experiences you’ve had, and only you have seen the world through your particular pair of eyes.
That said, weaving tidbits like personal stories or lessons learned into the content you create helps present important information from an angle that genuinely hasn’t been used before.
4. Fortify your content with visuals
It’s not just the words you use or how you express them that make your content original.
People are visual creatures, especially when they’re browsing for appealing content online.
Adding a powerful picture or video to your posts can help keep them from getting lost in the shuffle.
If you have original photos, videos, or other visual media of your own to use, that’s fantastic.
If not, there’s a wealth of stock photography and free use imagery you can use instead. But avoid options that other content creators have overused, and take care that the images you choose truly complement your writing.
5. Experiment with your content
Keeping track of your data is critical for successful content creation, so stay aware of how your content performs.
Yes, you should serve up plenty of the type of content your audience responds to the most strongly, but don’t get stuck in a rut.
Experimenting on an ongoing basis keeps your content fresh and original.
Just make sure you also have a strategy in mind. Try different platforms for publishing or sharing your content. Mix things up with your content when it makes sense to do so.
Aim for the sweet spot between showing up where your audience is and finding homes for your content that feel like a fit for you.
6. Strike a balance between new and familiar
While it’s definitely important that your content be original, many marketers make the mistake of overemphasizing absolute newness.
Every marketer wants to be the one to bring something to the party that no one’s ever seen before.
However, they miss the fact that most consumers are pretty scared of things that scan as entirely new. (Even big brains behind huge brands like Tropicana and Coca-Cola have had to find this out the hard way.)
This isn’t to say you should avoid putting new or unusual ideas out there when they come to you.
But present them in a way that makes them feel like familiar ideas repackaged in fresh and exciting ways — like how Henry Ford introduced the first automobile as a “horseless carriage”.
Wrap Up: Great Content is the Key to Incredible Results
While it’s true that content is still king, getting to the top of relevant SERPs no longer starts and stops at good keyword usage.
Original content that truly makes people sit up and take notice is the order of the day, so mastering the art of originality is your chance to step apart from the competition and shine.
Now it’s time to make sure your overall content strategy is on track by identifying and addressing any potential gaps in your knowledge.
Our content marketing maturity assessment can help you figure out where to focus next to get the stellar results you’re after.
Try it today!