Blogkeeping // Original Content

Blogkeeping // Original content // Elembee.com

On the Blogkeeping survey last year, by far the biggest struggle noted was growing your readership. I’m sure you’ve heard this a hundred times (and probably at least half of those in last week’s Alt recaps), but the key to growing your readership is focusing on creating original content. But what does that even mean? And how are you supposed to create original content with limited free time, when you’re earning a living elsewhere?

I think a lot of people think you have to take your own photos and create entirely new concepts to have original content — and yes, that would be truly original content. But that can take a lot of time and resources that many of us don’t have. However, I think you can still create original content by putting your own unique spin on things. Here are just a few ideas:

Tell a story

I mean, let’s be honest, anyone can regurgitate their Pinterest feed. How can you turn it into a story? Instead of just posting things you like from Pinterest, talk about why you like them and how it applies to your life. (And please, properly credit — Pinterest is not a source.) Bonus points if you can tie it to another one of your interests!

Collaborate

What do you really want to know about other people? Ask them! My At the Moment series was a big factor in growing my blog last year — it was a great way to get to know other bloggers, introduce my readers to some of my favorites, and they would share the post with their readers as well, which would bring new readers to my site. I’m always curious about the beauty products people love, where they want to travel, and what books they’re reading, so I started with that and expanded the idea from there — what tied it all together is that I’m just really curious about what people love at a given moment in time. What are you curious about? Is there something you want to explore for your own personal growth? For example, Krystle wanted to explore overcoming fear and turned it into an interview series sharing real-life stories about how others overcome their fear.

Also think about ways you can work with other bloggers to create something unique together. I’ve been seeing a lot of this lately, and I think it’s a great idea — by offering two perspectives, you’re automatically providing something that can’t be seen elsewhere! A couple of examples of this are Design Residency with Striped Cat Studio and Bedsidesign, and Foliophoto with Raincoast Cottage and Bedsidesign.

Share your expertise

I use the term “expertise” loosely, because honestly, I don’t see myself as a know-it-all blogging expert even though I’m sharing blogging tips with you. I think the key here is you don’t have to know everything, you just share what you do know. Jasmine Star talked about this at Alt — she built a following sharing photography tips during her first year of business, and seasoned veterans questioned why people would go to her, a beginner, for advice. It was because they could relate to her! She had just gone through what they were going through, and because of that, her advice was more relatable than someone trying to remember where they were 15 years ago. What do you know that can benefit other people?

Present it in a unique way

Again, anyone can present a list of things they love. How can you make it memorable? I focus on creating consistent layouts with a unique style, well, for obvious reasons, so no matter what I do, I always make sure my graphics stick to certain standards I’ve set for myself. I also love how Eleni and Victoria make shoppable graphics for their posts! If graphics aren’t your thing, maybe you use a unique writing style or have a special sign-off for your posts — think of some personal touch readers can remember you by.

These are just a few ideas, but I would love to hear your thoughts! Are there any examples of original content that inspire you? What ways do you make your content your own?

Discussion

  1. I love these post! They are really helpful, thanks!!!

  2. Katie says

    This is a great post. My blogging has slowed way down because I feel like I’m at a stand still. These are great tips to get me back on the blogging wagon.

    Thanks for sharing your great ideas!
    KJ

  3. This is something that’s been on my mind lately. “I mean, let’s be honest, anyone can regurgitate their Pinterest feed.” hahaha, as a design blog, this hits home. Thank you for this post + its perfect timing!

  4. Allyssa says

    I love these tips. I really like the idea to collaborate. It’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately and I definitely want to implement on my blog at some point, I just have to come up with a concept first!

  5. This is such a great way for me to check in with best practices as a blogger! Thank you :)

    And, actually, it’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot in the last week. I link up with {long distance loving} for her Friday’s Fancies, and I resolved last week to comment on EVERY SINGLE BLOG that linked up. (There were over 90! I failed. haha!) It was so easy and natural to engage with the bloggers who posted an outfit with a story – I’m doing X this weekend and I’m going to wear this outfit because… – as opposed to the posts that were, basically, just an outfit with “I like these things.” Giving myself the challenge of trying to build a relationship with these 90+ bloggers last weekend really highlighted the fact that the connection comes almost exclusively from original content.

    So – sorry, that was an essay! But it’s a case in point :)

  6. Thank you for the tips! I try to tell a story or things that are actually going on in my life on my blog! I feel like it makes me real… =) I’ll keep your tips in mind! =)

  7. Hey Lisa,
    thank you for including me in your blogkeeping series. It is such a great honour to see my name in it!!!
    Love this series, so informative and motivational, I’ve been a reader since the beginning!
    xoxo

  8. What it really comes down to is this — strong/unique blog voice = original content. In the online world, everything has been done before. Injecting your own voice into the ideas — even the regurgitated ones — are what will always make them feel original! Great tips, Lisa! (And thanks for including me. :) )

  9. Katie says

    Once again another great post! We hear all of the time “original content is the way to blog growth.” Your tips get to the heart of it and have inspired me to go for something I have been toying with for a while!

  10. Hi Lisa, I love this post and I can totally relate. I have my little art blog, using all of my own photography and artwork unless I’m featuring someone who inspires me. I feel like my content is pretty original, but seem to be struggling with my writing style, finding that casual, conversational tone… But I just keep working at It, trying to find my voice. Thanks for the push!!

  11. Templates are taking over the internet, and more than ever it’s important to remember that we’re one-of-a-kinds. I get really frustrated by blogs that continuously post round-ups of “pretty” and usually “expensive” things.

    Bloggers are better than that. We want our voice heard. Isn’t that why we start blogs in the first place? We have stuff to say … so let’s say it! I want to know about the blogger and her struggles, her triumphs, her creative tricks, her opinions, her routines and her goals.

    My advice:
    When you get fired up about something, write it down. Then go back to your notebook of topics and turn them into blog posts. Being passionate and fired up about your topics will shine through to your readers.

    Great post, Lisa! And thank you for including a link to my Fear Confessions series.

  12. I’m a longtime lurker but new commenter. This post really resonated with me. At the beginning of my blog, I kept trying to emulate other, more popular bloggers. It wasn’t until a session with Victoria and a long introspective look at my posts that I realized that the blog wasn’t really ME. As soon as I started writing in my own voice, unabashedly and proudly, I both loved my content and built a loyal following.

    I’ve been toying with the idea of introducing a guest feature series, but haven’t pulled the trigger yet. You’ve just inspired me to get it going!

  13. This post exhausted me. Can’t I just talk about myself with no graphics whatsoever and be beloved? IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK?

  14. Jadyn says

    Great post Lisa! You give me food for thought as I’m pondering what blogging means to me at the moment and how to proceed.

  15. So honored to be mentioned twice! Collaborations really are key to my blog – they help me stay consistent and I love the relationships built with other bloggers.

  16. Sandra says

    Thanks so much for including the foliophoto collaboration with Christie. Whether it’s a large collaboration or small, I love working together with others. There’s something great that happens that wouldn’t have if we were just on our own.

  17. Clover says

    Oh, Lisa, you are a true blessing – especially to the newbies (like I am) in the blogosphere.
    Thank you for sharing! It’s so important to see it all written down, as it opens doors for creativity and new ideas. My thoughts on this are to respect yourself as a person and to share only what feels right and comfortable to you. I also plead to keeping the content real and genuine and respecting others by offering proper credits and inspiration sources.

    Great post! Thank you!
    Clover

  18. First, where are all the other men? lol

    Second, good for you in responding to comments, because that’s another way of making sure you keep people coming back, and then encourages others to comment. It’s important when people decide to stop by that they see the author cares about his or her visitors.

  19. Love your idea of collaboration! I will try that one out!!!

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