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You can only read about melting polar ice caps and DIY tips to install a toilet so many times and in so many ways. We have all read the same topics in different voices and through different mediums (objective, subjective, short, long, Slideshare, video, Infographic, etc.).
We have all seen the depressing pictures of polar bears standing on tiny shards of ice, so much so that it is permanently burned into our minds—and maybe even the minds of our great grandchildren. Originality seems to be something that everyone is lacking because countless people have done everything so many times before everyone else. Nothing in this big world of topics seems to be new. We all know everything, thank you Internet. However, there is a way around that.
It’s not a matter of whether or not your main topic is original, chances are it isn’t as special as you might think it is, and that’s perfectly okay. What matters is how you present that topic. Let’s continue with our polar bear example.
You could create an article with three subheads and five bullet points about global warming. Your readers will probably stop at the subheads and graze over the bullet points. Depending on their political stances they will nod in approval or shake their heads in disgust, and then move on. Why does it happen? That article is boring. Break away from the standards with a unique hook.
Instead of a generalized “Here’s what’s wrong with global warming” dig deep into the nitty gritty and give a shocking statistic as your opening statement:
Polar bears have to swim for more than 100 miles at a time to find an ice shelf, many babies don’t make it.
By breaking down a little known fact (yes, this involves research) you grab people’s attention and hold it there. Most people like to take a small point and run with it to dig deeper and explore an element that was only glossed over before.
Statistics will raise some eyebrows, but not everyone will be drawn to them. Let’s add a crazy element to grab their attention:
Polar bears might be the leading cause of a zombie apocalypse.
A decent amount of people will stare at your content and think, “this person’s nuts,” but they will keep reading to see just how nuts you really are.
By taking two things that don’t seem to correlate with one another; you have successfully piqued the curiosity of a lot of people.
Give your readers the ammunition to start conversations and arguments. That is your job in this information saturated world. It is no longer about big original ideas; it’s about the conversations your ideas can generate.
…And not just an average picture either – paint the graphic image running rampant in your head. If you’ve ever picked up a book, you know that your head is full of scenes that no camera could capture. Put that imagery to good use. Present the focus of the article like characters in your play. You are the director, so direct it in a way that other people can see your gruesome vision or your splendid montage of cataclysmic beauty.
When it comes right down to it, every major topic has been overplayed like a bad pop song. The difference comes in the details and your interpretation of the content. Take what you’ve got and mix it up until everyone jumps to your beat.