As a content marketer, every single day, I find myself constantly looking for Tweet and Blog-worthy content. I thought this wasn’t anything special, until someone reminded me that writing and creating for marketing deadlines isn’t simple for everyone. So, with that self-assuredness, I thought it is important to improvise further and always be ready with originality.
Let's look at some creative ways to generate new ideas for original content. This will be especially useful to content marketers, bloggers and brands.
1. Get Away from the Internet
"The Mystery Show" (not on the Internet): If you had to listen to one podcast last season, it had to be Starlee Kine on "The Mystery Show." A lot has been written about the sheer originality of the shows, and it truly has been a fantastic find! I was one of those playing one episode after another and hoping our car ride does not get over before the episode. What was it that made it so original and generated such an emotional audience response? It’s hard to break it down given the experience and talent Starlee Kine comes with, but here is what I found to be the key:
- Get away from the Internet: Writers and bloggers often find stories on the Internet, especially when creating social content. But exceptionally original and unique ones belong to our lives outside of the Internet. It may work in your favor if you step out from your machine zone and find your stories out on the street!
- Listen: Through the mystery show, apart from the key protagonists, a lot of side stories and characters made the narrative fun. Starlee listened, and let them share their stories to create an environment of co-creation. In her first episode itself, there were parts where I felt that the friend looking for the mystery was more fun than the mystery itself. As content creators, it is important to be aware of this. Working with your audience or stakeholders by involving them in your content process can be hugely rewarding.
- Create An Exciting Narrative: Naturally, because it is a high quality production, The Mystery Show is very well put together. There are tons of digressions, and yet, you are involved with the narrative. There are sub-plots, surprises, hypotheses, plot twists and open questions to guide you further and sustain your interest. Now imagine doing that to a blog post. What can you do to create something that people read beyond the first 10 per cent?
2. Create in Shared Spaces
Tuiza art (collective solidarity): Tuiza (in the Hassaniya Arabic dialect of the African Bidan) is work carried out in collective solidarity. People work together in a shared environment and create. In a content marketing process, we are often faced with situations where we feel overwhelmed by a 24x7 timeline to churn in more originality. How can we work around this? I saw a Tuiza art installation earlier this year in Madrid, and here are some ideas:
- Co-create with your team in shared spaces: Collective working enables teams to get the spirit going. Curating content using opinions of different team members helps bring together interesting ideas. Teams tend to have a higher ownership of the content they contribute towards, and share it further too!
- Open up your workspace to create an atmosphere of co-learning across silos: A shared space or even a singular workshop allows you to be together with say your sales team, or customer support team. This usually leads to very interesting and customer-oriented content that’s hard to create in a aloneness.
- Cure your creator’s block: We all suffer from a creation block every now and then. There’s no better cure to it than just sitting with a bunch of other creatives and getting things done! Even Van Gogh wanted to create a studio of the south in Arles, and generate a creative spirit. Surely, we can follow!
3. Invert the Narrative – Make it New
Cuckold (invert the narrative): Part historical, part mythological, Cuckold is a book written by celebrated Indian author Kiran Nagarkar. The reason I picked this up as an example is the tenacity in narrative that this book provides. The author experiments from first person to third person and creates multiple engaging perspectives. He also takes up a well known story and changes the protagonist, something that was not explored much in earlier writings. Here’s what you can learn:
- Tell the same story from the lesser known point-of-view: Usually when applying newsjacking as a technique, many content creators are basically talking about the same issue or theme that is trending. Ask yourself: How could you say the same story from another unique perspective? Can you change the protagonist?
- Question the obvious emotion: It’s important to remember that when you’re questioning something that is seen as common knowledge, ensure you get your research right. Cuckold was written after years of research in the area where it was set in, with exceptional detail. The only question people had was why did no one else think of this before? Content is a great way to push for thought leadership, but it’s immensely important to ensure your quality is right.
- Mix it up: As a content marketing head in my previous job, I worked very closely with our PR folks and also with the senior management. They would often be careful in sharing personal opinions on a B2B oriented blog or media. My experience in the industry for over a decade has shown me that we don’t need to hide behind a mountain. Showing up and being the real you is not lost on anyone. Of course you need to maintain your brand tonality and professionalism, but it’s important to create original content that may be beyond official speak. You need to mix up the narrative and generate renewed interest.
What are some of the ideas that you use to create original content? Do share some tips with me on Twitter or in the comments below!
Original image source: Flickr