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?

Meet Lisa Butler

Hello! I’m Lisa M. Butler, and I offer straightforward web guidance for making it happen online. I got to where I am because of my website, and I want to help you get where you want to be. As a web designer and developer, I’ve guided my clients through the tech-y stuff, step by step. I’m here to share that same advice and guidance with you so you can get your website together and be awesome online.

Comments

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

    Posted on February 6, 2013
    • Lisa says:

      Thank you!

      Posted on February 6, 2013
  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

    Posted on February 6, 2013
    • Lisa says:

      I’m happy to hear that! Sometimes you do just need to take a break to feel inspired again. When I’m feeling uninspired, I usually try to think of my blog as a way to research for something I want to do in my life — whether that’s decorating a spot in my apartment, or figuring out how to style something in my closet, etc. Then you’re taking care of two things at once, and it usually gives me the momentum to keep going.

      Posted on February 6, 2013
  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!

    Posted on February 6, 2013
    • Lisa says:

      I’m glad it was good timing for you! I think it’s totally ok to get inspiration from Pinterest, but you have to ask yourself how you can push it further.

      Posted on February 6, 2013
  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!

    Posted on February 6, 2013
    • Lisa says:

      Looking forward to seeing what you come up with! Stop thinking about it for a while, and maybe an idea will hit you — that’s usually what happens to me! Or, in the case of At the Moment, I wrote down those three things I always want to ask people then sat on it for a while and kept adding questions I could ask as they occurred to me. Then I went back through my notes and was able to create a theme to tie them all together.

      Posted on February 6, 2013
  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 :)

    Posted on February 6, 2013
    • Lisa says:

      Haha I totally get what you’re saying — I worked with AV on one of the themes last year and also resolved to comment on every single blog that participated… and got halfway through the list (so many!). And yes, it was so much easier to leave thoughtful comments when I could respond to a story they were telling! If all I have to say after a post is hey, I like that too, I’m a lot less likely to leave a comment.

      Posted on February 6, 2013
  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! =)

    Posted on February 6, 2013
    • Lisa says:

      Awesome, let me know how it goes!

      Posted on February 6, 2013
  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

    Posted on February 6, 2013
    • Lisa says:

      I love hearing that, thank you so much!! The shoppable graphics are genius — way more fun and interactive than sorting through links at the bottom. Always love seeing them on your blog!

      Posted on February 6, 2013
  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. :) )

    Posted on February 6, 2013
    • Lisa says:

      This says it perfectly, and I really wish I could retweet comments haha. Guess I’ll go tweet this manually instead!

      Posted on February 6, 2013
  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!

    Posted on February 6, 2013
    • Lisa says:

      That’s exciting, definitely share when you go for it!

      Posted on February 6, 2013
  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!!

    Posted on February 6, 2013
    • Lisa says:

      I think when you can provide original photography and artwork, you’re already a step ahead, because the online world is SO visual! The writing will come eventually, I think it helps to just write how you talk, then go back and edit.

      Posted on February 6, 2013
  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.

    Posted on February 6, 2013
    • Lisa says:

      I love that advice! It’s definitely so much easier to write about something when you’re fired up about it, and it’s easier for people to respond to that as well.

      Posted on February 7, 2013
  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!

    Posted on February 6, 2013
    • Lisa says:

      Thank you so much for commenting! Yes, Victoria is a genius — I had a session with her last year that was my kick in the butt to start my interview series. I have no idea why the idea was so scary to me before, maybe I didn’t want to inconvenience anyone? But if you ask far enough in advance and make it fun for people, they’re happy to help — I haven’t had a single person I’ve asked for help turn me down yet. For a couple of people, it was inconvenient timing, but they immediately offered another timeline that would work better for them.

      Looking forward to seeing your guest feature series!

      Posted on February 7, 2013
  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?

    Posted on February 6, 2013
    • Lisa says:

      I’m still reading your blog, aren’t I? Hahahaha.

      I think the difference between you and a lot of people starting blogs these days is that you’ve been blogging since it was more a form of online journaling. But now, a lot more people are using it as a creative outlet, and I think it’s harder to come up with content when you know you want to create something but don’t know what.

      Posted on February 7, 2013
      • I think this is a really great observation. And definitely one that makes me feel better about myself.

        Posted on February 7, 2013
  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.

    Posted on February 6, 2013
    • Lisa says:

      Can’t wait to see what you do! In the meantime, I’m enjoying all the Instagrams of Aiden!

      Posted on February 7, 2013
  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.

    Posted on February 6, 2013
    • Lisa says:

      Yeah, having a regular collaboration with someone else definitely keeps you accountable!

      Posted on February 7, 2013
  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.

    Posted on February 6, 2013
    • Lisa says:

      Yes, when you can add in another person’s perspective, it creates more of a conversation than if it’s just you alone!

      Posted on February 7, 2013
  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

    Posted on February 8, 2013
    • Lisa says:

      I’m glad you find it helpful! I would agree — share what feels right and is comfortable to you. Something Jasmine Star said at Alt that I loved was to think of a stranger on an airplane, and only share online what you would share with them.

      Posted on February 8, 2013
  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.

    Posted on February 10, 2013
    • Lisa says:

      Haha, you might be the first — thanks for stopping by!

      And yes, I think it’s great to respond to comments when you can, but it’s definitely a struggle to keep up sometimes! I try to make sure I’m at least responding to comments on posts such as these that are more discussion oriented, but if I’m simply sharing something I like, and people are just agreeing, then I don’t always respond.

      Posted on February 11, 2013
  19. Love your idea of collaboration! I will try that one out!!!

    Posted on February 10, 2013
    • Lisa says:

      Good luck, hope you enjoy! Collaborations can definitely be a lot of fun.

      Posted on February 11, 2013

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