The internet is a big place, and there are lots of words that can be assembled together in many different ways. According to the infinite monkey theorem, a monkey hitting random keys on a typewriter for an unlimited amount of time is almost guarantees to type an existing text, such as the complete works of Shakespeare.
The only reason that’s relevant is because there is a chance that you can write something 100% original and then discover that somebody, somewhere, has already published something very similar. It happens… and that’s why running a tool like Copyscape is a good idea before you publish. Just in case.
In the end, there is absolutely no excuse for publishing unoriginal content on your website or blog. Whether by accident or blatant copyright infringement (like this one or this one) there is nothing glorious about passing someone else’s content off as your own.
With that being said, you won’t find your own content ideas by looking for inspiration on other blogs or websites. (You might find inspiration, but that can be too tricky if you can’t tell the difference between taking inspiration and stealing content.)
Tell a story that matters
Express one key message that you want to communicate to your brand. Perhaps you can give a case study or customer experience that drives a point about how a particular product can be used creatively? As long as it is your product, your customer, or your story… it is original.
Weigh in on a common topic
If everyone in your industry is writing about a particular news story, you can still be original by chipping in an original perspective…. your own.
The more you read, the more you think. Read industry publications or read ’50 Shades of Grey’. (Just kidding, you really don’t want to read that!) There is something about reading that stirs creative thinking.
Pick a title and change it later.
Sometimes writing down those first few words is all it takes to get the juices flowing. If you can’t even get past the title, follow a template like:
- How to _____
- A Review of ____
- The ___ Best _____ of 2013
- ___ Tips that Will Improve the Way You _____
- The Pros & Cons of ______
- A Handy Dandy Worksheet For Easy _____
- A ______ Checklist
The rest of the article may choose a different topic entirely, and the wonderful thing is that you can simply change that title if needed!
Perhaps, if you sit there long enough tapping away at random keys… you just might produce a kickass article purely by accidental chance!
All kidding aside, the blindfold should be metaphorical. Original content comes from inside your own mind, and to get it out you may need a distraction. You won’t find it by looking at what others have written. So take a walk, make a snack, re-organize your office. Shut down one sense and the ideas will come to you.