Why Is So Much Business Content Unoriginal?

I create a lot of content, and part of my job is to keep a close eye on what’s happening across a number of different industries. I read dozens of articles every day, and every day I’m struck with an overwhelming sense of deja vu.

Each morning, I click on a collection of feeds or a Twitter list, and, whatever the story of the day happens to be, there will be at least 10 articles from bloggers and news organizations saying almost exactly the same thing in the same way and drawing the same “insights” — all of them apparently believing they’re doing something original or not caring that they’re adding nothing new to the conversation.

The situation is almost worst on business blogs, which often take their cue from larger publishers and create copies of copies.

Businesses create marketing content to make an impression, to stand out from the crowd. That’s not possible if their content repeats what others have said rather than leading the conversation. Unique and original content will be more widely read, quoted, linked to, and shared. It’s a powerful branding ally and can do wonders for SEO.

Developing and writing great content isn’t easy. It takes time and effort, but great rewards are waiting for marketers and business owners who take the conversational lead and contribute something new.

It’s almost impossible to be truly original — one definition of genius is the ability to achieve something that’s both original and important in a particular field of endeavor. Most of aren’t geniuses, but we’re all capable of creating something unique.

Go Deep

Most business blog content is shallow. The order of the day is hot takes, trend pieces, industry news, and listicles crammed into 500 words. That sort of content is easy to write and it’s cheap. But, as a consequence of it being easy and cheap, everyone does it.

Carefully considered long-form content is almost certain to be unique and, if well-written, interesting.

Ask What You Bring to the Table

We all have unique life experiences and mental landscapes, so isn’t it strange that it’s so difficult to write original content. Most of us don’t have any trouble being different from the people in our friend groups. Our friends think of us as having a personality that sets us apart from everyone else.

But the sad truth is that many business bloggers are afraid to express their personalities or indulge their idiosyncrasies. That’s a shame because your voice and personality are powerful allies in the struggle to create something original.

Think, Then Write

This one might sting a little. If you’re having trouble creating unique content, you’re probably not thinking enough. I know it’s hard when you’re pushed to deliver lots of content on a strict deadline. It’s so easy to pluck a topic from Twitter and dash out a few hundred words. But it’s not going to be original and interesting content.

Instead, try to spend a couple of hours thinking about a topic. Turn it around in your mind. Look at it from new angles. Interrogate it for answers. That’s when the magic happens.

If you want the benefits of original content, you’re going to have to go deep, show some personality, and spend time thinking before you start typing.