Did I ever tell you about the time I met Fabio?
I was a bartender in Boston at the time, headed in to work around 9am. As I crossed the Quincy Market plaza, I saw a big clear box truck parked in the square. Outside the truck, a few people were milling around. Inside, I could see a very large man with long flowing hair and a button-down shirt that was barely keeping itself together.
“What the hell,” I thought. “Is that Fabio?”
Sure enough, Fabio was in the truck doing a promotion for I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter. There was a faux-Mediterranean backdrop against one wall, and some fake plants strewn about to make it look more “authentic.”
The people outside were waiting their turn to take a photo with the legendary romance novel cover man. Did I get in that line? Yes, I most certainly did.
So what does this have to do with creating unique blog content?
Well for starters, I don’t know how many other blogs out there can boast stories about meeting Fabio. Take this little anecdote as an illustration of what I’ll be sharing through the rest of the post.
And if you make it to the end…there just might be a special surprise for you.
Use Storytelling to Hook the Reader
Facts are useful and they’re obviously important. But we read (and keep reading) for stories, not statistics.
When you work stories into your blog posts and other content, you create a connection between your piece and your readers. Maybe they see themselves in the story. Or maybe they’re just interested in how it ends.
These stories don’t have to be epic. No one is asking you to write the next The Lord of the Rings. Simple stories from your business or your personal life can still draw people in.
Recently, I’ve read stories about being chased by a turkey, a particularly mean Reddit thread, a woman over 40 who took an unpaid internship to start a new career…and these were all in marketing content.
One great copywriter that I follow recently sent an email that told a story of being smooched by Chris Eubank, the famous boxer. She didn’t know who he was at the time. She used this story to illustrate that there will always be people that haven’t heard of you yet. And that’s why you shouldn’t shy away from putting yourself forward. (Her name is Frederike Harms, btw, and she’s delightful).
This story got me to read through her entire 500+ word email. And because I know that her emails are always full of good stories, I always open them.
A true story, whether it’s in the intro of a blog post, in a social media caption, or in an email, is a super-successful way to hook the reader and keep them coming back.
Use Visual Content, Like Original Photos and Video
Duh, right? Everyone knows you should use photos and/or video in your blog posts.
But we’re talking about how to be unique, here. And that means stock photography may not cut it.
Now I’ll be 100% honest—I use stock imagery on my website, blog, and occasionally in social media. That’s because my content team consists of me and just a few hours per month of help from a virtual assistant/graphic designer.
I don’t have the resources right now to do a photoshoot of me casually sitting in front of a laptop and cup of coffee, showing off that #girlboss life.
But larger businesses have more resources. You probably have a whole library of photos and videos that you could repurpose into your blog posts. While it won’t be new-new, it will be new in the blog world, and that can help your content to stand out.
Use Infographics to Make Data Shareable
In some blog posts, an infographic can be a great way to condense the blog’s information into a unique visual format. Infographics are all over Pinterest, which can be a major source of blog traffic.
I mean, how gorgeous is this?
Caption: Infographic design by Luz Viera
Infographics are highly shareable, which can help you get backlinks to your original article. You can use services like Canva to create your own or hire a graphic designer to make one for you.
Use Testimonials, Interviews, & Quotes to Let Others Chime In
Quotes and testimonials from clients, customers, or colleagues are a) 100% original and b) a great way to add a level of customization to your content.
Let’s say you’re writing a blog post about the health benefits of kefir, which is in your product. The internet is littered with articles on the same topic. By adding quotes or testimonials from customers who have experienced the health benefits you’re talking about, you both prove your claims and add unique content to your blog.
Now, how much better would it be if you interviewed, say, a clinical nutritionist to give their own take on kefir? Now you’ve got even more original content to work with.
Use Guest Posts to Get Valuable Content without Writing It
Pro tip: You don’t actually have to write all of your content with your own fingers.
For the cost of a link back to their website, other people will write articles for you. But choose your guest posters carefully.
I get frequent emails from companies offering to contribute guest posts to my blog. I usually ignore them, because they’re either completely irrelevant to my audience, or the introductory email is so riddled with typos that I have no faith in the quality of the article I would receive.
Skip the unsolicited emails. Instead think about who you know that would create something useful or interesting for your audience, and start the conversation yourself.
An event venue could invite a local wedding planner to contribute a blog post, offering tips to couples on their big day. A product-based company could invite someone in their general industry (but not a competitor) to do a guest post. For example, if they made coffee presses, they could invite an expert barista in to talk about different coffee roasting techniques.
Guest posting gets you a custom blog post from an expert—and you don’t even have to write it.
Use User-Generated Content to Let Your Target Audience Shine
Many brands keep their user-generated content on the same platform. You might add good reviews to your website, but forget to cross-post them to social media. You’ll share tagged Instagram posts to your stories, but we don’t think to use them in your blog posts.
One of my clients runs two annual festivals, and we like to turn their customer’s Instagram posts into a source of blog content. This gives us a chance to highlight how much fun people have at the events, play into some FOMO (don’t you wish you were there?), and gives us a source of completely original content.
Just make sure you get the poster’s permission before you repurpose their post or content on your site, blog, or social media.
Zhuzh It Up!
With literally millions of results for most searches, it’s tough to create relevant content that hasn’t been done to death. There are only so many ways to present the same basic information, right?
When you use these content extras, you can add a uniqueness-factor to your blog.
And now. The quality content you’ve been waiting for.
P.S. Get one degree closer to Fabio when you work with me.