Two consistent posts in one week?! Not only on the blog but also on Instagram?! Look at me go! All joking aside I’m really excited for today’s post that’s all about how to create original content and grow your brand.
For the past few months, I would sit down to write a post or write a caption on Instagram and just freeze. Seriously, I open up my editorial calendar, my business email, head to my drafts where I already have fully edited photos and I just freeze. Which is funny because I’ve gone through a lot of changes in my personal life these past few months and yet I’ve been at a loss for words and I just can’t pinpoint why. But, I will say, it is the best feeling when I post on the blog and on Instagram. Something about it makes me feel like I have my life together. I’ll talk more about this on Friday but just wanted to touch upon it!
Back to what I wanted to talk about today though. These days it seems like everyone is taking the same exact photo or writing the same posts and as a reader and consumer, it can be so frustrating and uninspiring. As a blogger, it can sometimes feel like if you’re not doing the same thing as everyone else then you’re out of the loop and not going to grow. So I wanted to share my thoughts on how to create ORIGINAL content.
How to Create Original Content
Create What You Would Want To See
Anytime I sit down to plan my editorial calendar, the first thing I ask myself is “what would you want to see and read?” A lot of my posts are based on things I wish someone had told me; or things I wished I had known before going into situations.
I also set out to create content that excites me. When I first started blogging, I would strictly post outfits and then talk about my outfits and maybe my day. I just found myself growing out of that and not really finding it interesting anymore. Which is why these days I focus on more long-form posts. That also goes for the blogs that I consume. Typically, I gravitate towards long-form posts or posts where I can learn something; rather than just an outfit of the day.
As bloggers we have to wear many hats, but I think it’s important to not forget your reader hat. If you wouldn’t read a specific post from another blogger than maybe don’t create it for your own blog. If you wouldn’t hit like on someone’s photo then maybe don’t create that photo. It’s such a simple question, but I think you should always start by asking yourself, “what would I want to see and read?” and see what you come up with!
Does It Have A Purpose
After I ask myself what I would want to see, I normally have this crazy list of just random ideas. I mean it is a rough draft. Emphasis on rough. So from there, I ask myself, “But, does it have a purpose?” Because if the answer is no, then what’s the point? If it doesn’t add value or entertainment or inspiration then what exactly is the point?
It also helps me fine-tune ideas, like this post for example. To be honest, this started because I was frustrated that I was seeing so many copy cat posts and no original content. Rather than coming on here and just ranting and sounding bitchy, I asked myself, “what is the point of this?” “What purpose do I have in sharing this?” And I decided I wanted to share my process and my 5 tips on how to create original content.
In blogging, you often hear “oh this field is so saturated” and I personally hate that. The beauty of blogging is that anyone can do it. It gives everyone a voice and a platform and while there are so many people starting up a site or an Instagram page, there is absolutely room at the table for anyone.
But, it is also so important to understand what your purpose is and what you are trying to get across. Are you trying to inspire people to save money and instead re-style their wardrobe? Do you share the latest trends? What new mom tips, career advice, recipes, etc. are you sharing? Or are you just posting pretty photos because you’re pretty. It’s important to make sure that whatever you are working on, not only adds value to your life but to the people who follow you.
But, Is It You?
It’s so easy to get caught up in what everyone else is doing. It’s also easy to see someone succedding and thriving doing one thing and feel like you also have to do that same thing to be succesful.
Let’s take the Nordstrom sale for example. EVERYONE talks about it and covers it and you can’t help but feel a sense of FOMO if you don’t. I can admit that in the past I got caught up in it and would do long posts of just shopping widgets simply because everyone else was doing it. But, the reality is, that’s not me. I’m not dropping thousands of dollars to shop this sale and I’m certaintly not going to encourage you to go into credit card debt to shop this sale. I believe in buying meaningful items and finding different ways to style them to get the most out of you dollar and that’s what I share on my site.
You will also probably never catch me talking about my favorite vegan meals or the best bars in NYC because frankly, I like to eat junk food and I like being at home, not at a crowded bar.I think regardless of what is trending or working for some, you need to step back and think “Is this me?” “Is this my brand?” “Is this who I want to be/what I want to promote?” because if the answer is no, then why share it?
Get Off Social Media!
While we can find inspiration through multiple platforms like Instagram, Twitter and especially Pinterest, sometimes it helps to log off and look elsewhere to come up with fresh ideas. Sometimes I can get overwhelmed mindleslly scrolling and just need to hit refresh. A few things I like doing is getting lost in a book, getting some fresh air, talking to friends, even observing people and listening to what people are talking about helps. Just getting out of my little bubble and paying attention to the world around me and just being open to a fresh perspective helps. And believe it or not, my best ideas hit me in the shower. Or while I’m on a crowded train in my morning commute!
My post on makeup for the girl who doesn’t like makeup was inspired by my friends who didn’t want the full getup, but wanted just a little something and always asked me about my favorite products. My post about a day in my life, was inspired because a lot of my coworkers always asked me how I balanced working full time with having a blog.
A lot of the YouTube beauty gurus I watch, will make sure to not watch their peers reviews of certain products before they film their own review because they don’t want theirs to be influenced by their peers. And I think that same idea should go for blogging. Sometimes I think it’s important to log off and disconnect to come up with new and fresh ideas.
Just Don’t Be A Copycat!
I understand that there are a ton of bloggers and a ton of “shared” ideas. Like sharing your skincare routine or doing a weekly Friday post isn’t copying anyone. It’s not a groundbreaking idea and it’s just a post that many people do. But, certain personal posts that people share or certain photos (like the leaf as a skirt or watermelon as a dress) are blatant copies. If I can read your post or look at your photos and know exactly who inspired you, then I am unfollowing. Why follow you when I’m already following the person who did it first?
I think it goes back to finding your purpose. I see nothing wrong with finding something on social media and making it your own. Bonus points if you shout out your inspiration. But I hate seeing an original idea copied exactly by someone else. I see some people say “well there’s no such thing as an original idea anymore in blogging, no one is copying” because frankly I think it’s a cop out.
If you read my blog and I write a post about “Are you really a good friend?” based on my personal experiences and then I see you write a post about “Good Friend? Is that you?” then I’m put off. But, if I share my thoughts on Whole30 then I wholeheartedly expect to see what other people think as well.
I think the whole point of this is to be honest with yourself. You know when something is not your idea or your brand, and when something doesn’t really serve a purpose. Which is why I think some of the best bloggers are the ones who are self aware and work through those things. At the bare minimum, just don’t be a copycat!
Thank you so much for reading! I hope you found today’s post helpful. If you’re not a blogger, I hope you found it a little insightful to see my process on how I plan my blog content. Hope you have a great rest of the week!
What are your thoughts on how to create original content? Share in a comment below!