Putting Your Own Spin: How to Add an Original Touch to Your Contents
Writing has always been something that is very personal to me. I’ve always been a private person and I was never the type to publicize what goes on in my head except to the people who are closest to me and even then only when prompted. So I guess I’ve always considered writing as a way for me to make sense of how I feel about everything around me, a way for me to put some distance between the world and me and to just properly put my thoughts in order. As such, my writing has always served as the most accurate expression of myself because I’ve never been truer to myself than when I’m writing.
This sentiment still holds true in the professional capacity as well. Even when I’m writing on behalf of the company I work for, I always strive to create an opportunity to show a little bit of myself through my writing, whether it’s by injecting some of my own unsolicited opinion or by simply including an anecdote that I feel to be relevant to the discussion at hand. Professionally, I do this mostly to keep my job from being boring but in the world of content marketing, this has the benefit of giving my writing more color and stands out from the hordes of similar contents out there that are being published daily to the internet.
Giving your writing a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’
A very dear friend of mine regularly chides me for trying to be original for originality’s sake because it’s a very Aquarius thing to do and I used to be slightly offended by this. Now though, I fully embrace that because who in their right mind would want to be described as basic? That word is by far the biggest insult anyone could possibly throw at me. I’m not advising you to just drop all semblance of professionalism and just write whatever you want but letting some of your personality shines through could definitely help your contents stand out in the ocean of data that is the internet.
As I’ve previously hinted, the originality mentioned here isn’t just about the uniqueness of your contents. There’s a particularly apt phrase from the Book of Ecclesiastes that goes like this; “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun”. I don’t think it’s possible to create something that is 100% new or unique, but originality isn’t just about the content itself and there are several things content creators can do to add an original flair to their contents.
Delve into the specifics of how something personally affects you
Anyone can read the news about the Notre-Dame fire and say that it’s very sad. Not everyone however can say about how the Notre-Dame fire is personally heartbreaking because they have a personal interest on Gothic architecture and has been planning to go there ever since they first watched Disney’s (very liberal) adaptation of Victor Hugo’s classic, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame. Reporting on the news is relatively straightforward but telling a story based on the news itself is another matter entirely.
In content marketing, we spend at least half the time reading about what’s going on in our industry and figuring out how it might affect the industry as a whole. This is all well and good but looking at things at a distance like this can leave you feeling somewhat out of touch and there are times when taking a more populist approach might do you some good. Try to come up with a personal angle on how certain things affect you as this can help making your content more relatable to readers and help gives the impression that this piece of content can only come from you.
Include personal anecdotes and analogies to your content
Each person has their own way of making sense of the world around them. For example, whenever I’m trying to explain a concept that isn’t exactly public knowledge, I use analogies involving something that is more universally known to the public. In explaining the concept of backlinks in SEO for example, I use the case of citations in scientific journals as a point of reference or how Wikipedia includes references at the bottom of the page. The more citations a scientific journal receives, the better the standing of that journal and the same thing applies to webpages when it comes to backlinks.
In other cases, I use personal anecdotes and experiences to help illustrate the point I was trying to make. At the beginning of this piece for example, I made remarks about how writing is something that is very personal to me before making case for originality in content writing. Personal anecdotes and analogies perform double duty in content writing because other than providing a more digestible frame of reference to understand certain concepts, they also lend a sense of originality to your contents.
Write an opinion piece, but make sure your company has signed off on it
The problem with opinions is that some people feel the need to share them all the time while others never do. Taylor Swift used to be known for her silence in the political sphere. Even when white supremacists in the United States anointed her as their ‘Aryan goddess’ because they took her steadfast refusal to condemn Neo-Nazis as an implicit support for their racist views, Swift remained silent. That changed late last year when Swift finally endorsed two Democrat politicians from her current home state of Tennessee.
Swift gained a lot of respect for her move but in the process, she alienated some of her fans who are firmly on the right. Writing an opinion piece is sure to be controversial but as long as you can do it in a measured and respectful way, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t do one. Use solid arguments to back up your point and when done properly, you could gain a loyal following out of those who believes in the same thing that you do and converts a few of the non-believer. Make sure your company is okay with what you’re doing however or you might risk ending up like Jerry Maguire.