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Tired of seeing the same old thing on your Facebook feed? So are our readers. As copywriters, it can be difficult to craft creative, new content when the web is already saturated with information, much of which is similar to the content we’re expected to write. We also may hesitate to venture too far outside of the box for fear of damaging our ethos with unprofessionalism. Still, as copywriters, we are expected to bring new and interesting content into the lives of our audiences.
However, that pressure to create something so unheard of can also inhibit our creative muscles and make us afraid to take a chance and branch out. Fortunately, just because something isn’t new to the internet doesn’t mean that it’s not new for our audience. Furthermore, our content can help readers see information in a new light, even if it’s news that they’ve already heard before. With these ideas in mind, this article will explore how to create novel content in a world saturated with (and sometimes drowning in) information.
Image via Flickr by vicent2013
Interesting news comes to our attention everyday. A woman can’t get enough of her Chewbacca mask. An epidemic of clowns sweeps the nation. Every day is ripe with exciting news across the world. However, we and our audiences may feel that our lives are significantly under ripe with exciting news. As a whole, the world feels quite the same on an individual and daily basis. But over time, lives gradually change and circumstances change. And with that change comes new perspectives and new needs and wants.
Copywriters live for the changing circumstances in someone’s life. We write about what to do when they’re looking for a job, what they should be aware of when purchasing a new car, and what kind of air conditioner is best for their new home. As a result, the content we write becomes new. We may not be the first to write about the best way to write a resume, but we are forming a new connection between their present circumstance and the information they need.
Forming new connections (or what’s new to the reader, at least) becomes personal when we consider that this information is new to them, when we show them that this relatively dry and old information can mean something in their individual circumstance. For example, if we’re writing about the hottest car of 2016, we can discuss how folding seats make room for extra luggage on an extended road trip. The idea of folding chairs is far from new, but the reader may not have thought of using folding seats in such a way. By doing this, we form a new connection.
In relation to forming new connections between content and audience circumstance, copy can also become novel when it is related directly to the needs of the audience. A reader can read a piece of content one day and find nothing that stands out, but they can read the same content a few months later, once their circumstances, and thus their needs, have changed, and find new nuggets of knowledge that would be non-existent if we as writers had failed to address their needs.
Back to the automobile example: if we’re writing an article about great minivans, our audience (who are most likely looking for a family-friendly vehicle) probably don’t care about the aerodynamics of the minivan’s body or the power of the engine, unless it directly relates to some safety feature. They will likely be looking for more information on airbag placement, safety technology features, and seating capacity. This information can meet the audience’s needs in a new, unexpected way, as opposed to just a generic summary of the vehicle’s features.
Content writing should be seen as a discussion. When we address the needs of the reader, we begin an invested discussion, and insight can always be gained from an invested participant in such a discussion. Our content discussion can answer a reader’s burning question, and to them, that answer is new and fresh.
Do you remember reading a book assigned to you by your college professor, only to come away feeling that you just listened to Charlie Brown’s teacher drone on for an hour? Have you then gone to the lecture and listened as the professor presented the exact same information in a much more understandable way? Did the information feel completely new to you? As writers, we can learn a lesson from this professor.
The professor in the previous example did not present any new information in addition to what you read, but it was their method of presentation that shed new light on the otherwise dry content. This is an example of the importance of individual voice and style in writing. Every writer, like a professor, has a unique voice and style in their work. It is yours and yours alone. Thus, anything you write in your voice and style adjusts the tone of the content and makes it feel fresh and personal.
But we must be cautious. Voice is important for creating novel content, but it should be appropriate and professional in relation to the subject and audience. Even in the most professional circumstances, however, your voice can always shine through.
Just as everyone has their own voice, so too does every writer have their own method of developing voice. The best general advice, however, is to avoid imitation. While we can gain much from imitating certain elements of another’s style or voice, we should instead let our own unique voice flow throughout our work.
The internet is inundated with enough monotony without our adding to it with unoriginal content. Instead, we can saturate the web with novel, interesting, relatable content that helps readers form connections and addresses their needs. This is not always an easy task, but it is more than possible when we add our own unique tones to the droning Gregorian chants that are all too pervasive in today’s information-saturated world.