Great content – has it all already been written?

One of the biggest problems facing bloggers, content managers, social media managers and brands is what to write about. The old addage of ‘Write What You Know’ might seem like good advice but the myriad of online sites spouting forth tips, advice and guidelines on every subject known to man, means that before you’ve even hovered your fingers over the keys to type, you’ve probably had brain freeze, made a coffee and come back to blankly stare at the screen thinking you have nothing worthwhile to add to the rabble.

Whilst deciding to put this website together I realised that A LOT of what I have to say has already been said, probably far more eloquently, expertly and no doubt with more sales links than mine. You can’t get advice these days without having to battle through a minefield of pop up adverts and then once you’ve made it inside, feeling like a modern day online version of Indiana Jones, there’s usually blinking graphics and click me icons and then when you do finally land on the page the golden egg of advice you are seeking is usually 5 regurgitated bullet points that have been doing the rounds since 1996, dusted down, spruced up and made to look like the holy grail of whatever advice is was you were seeking.

At least this is my experience anyway. On my travels looking for info for social media content management, I’ve come across many ‘experts’ (there’s that word again!) who over and over will post the same content, from other sites, from their sites, back to front, upside down, shuffling the words about but at the end of the day, the content is still the same. I’d imagine if we were to do an audit of the web we’d be able to condense it down into a few key sites and the rest would be just repetition, regurgitation and replication.

So where does this leave you? Don’t give up just yet. 

In my previous post about ‘Finding Your Online Voice’ – I discussed how important it is to put YOU into whatever it is you are writing about. Setting the tone is incredibly important. In the glut of brands, experts, sites etc it’s not only important but it’s the most genuine thing to do for whoever is creating the content to get their personality across, whether you are in the creative arts or stuck in a large corporation creating content about  Financial Management Systems, it’s still the most essential thing to realise, your personality is your brand and that is what will bring people to you. No one wants to be sold at anymore. No one. 

When deciding what to write about, don’t get overwhelmed by what’s already out there, concentrate on what it is that YOU want to say. Again, without wanting to sound like some new age self help group here, this really is all about YOU. Maybe you are in the Orange business and yes maybe all facets of being an Orange have already been successfully covered online but chances are they’ve not had your take on the whole Orange thing and what you have to add could even be  the most revealing thing anyone has ever read about an Orange. If you are passionate about the Orange business, that will shine through. I’d rather read something passionate and interesting than a few bullet points and then lots of links on where to buy, because at the end of the day that’s still direct sales and it’s not adding any value to anyone or anything

Create a ‘call to adventure’ – don’t settle for crappy, superficial content, instead aspire to light a fire inside the hearts and minds of your readers so strong that they’ll want to keep coming back and also possibly implode from excitement. Write your story, day in, day out. Be yourself and keep on message. whatever that message may be – music, oranges, chocolate, engineering – it really doesn’t matter.

Don’t get hung up on keywords, metrics, SEO, analytics – we can cover that another day. For now, sit down, write, write, rant, write and write some more. If it’s inside you and burning to get out, write about it. Want more followers on Facebook? Start writing compelling status updates, same for Twitter. Want people to read your blog? Then write content, then some more content, keep it informative, lighthearted and shining like a beacon of literary light. Go on, you’re awesome! 

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