Lessons from the past
Online streaming video companies, Hulu and Netflix, started broadcasting original content some time ago. Hulu and Netflix used to only provide access to already existing content. The broadcast television networks then decided they didn't like Netflix and Hulu business models any more. This put Hulu and Netflix in a serious bind exacerbated by decreasing membership. Now-a-days Netflix boasts a noteworthy original show "House of Cards," starring Kevin Spacey and things are peachy keen.
With all the social media activity on the web, it's now second nature to share someone else's content. I do it all the time. I read something that I think is good and click the social media buttons on that site. I read somewhere that the ratio of shared content to original content is probably 9 to 1, which isn't good. I'll wager that it's probably closer to 9.9 to 0.1. Any takers? Anybody? Whatever.
If you're like most content creators looking for something to write about, try this:
Keep reading other people's content
This is by no means plagiarism. After reading so many other blog posts and webpages you'll realize that there is something missing from the "popular" discussion. Often I find the content in my field to be a bit too generic. Go the extra few steps and write just a little more than the next person. Give a little more detail, without giving away your most guarded trade secrets. In some cases you can explain all the steps in solving a problem, but that doesn't mean you're not needed. Do-it-yourself seminars generate new business all the time.
Engage in online discussions
While looking at other content, answer questions, make comments, and ask your own questions. Sometimes the easiest way to get a conversation going is to open the floor to critiques. This can be a little dangerous, but live life on the edge a little. Be open to the discussion. Those discussions will generate new ideas and perspectives. In these interactions you may come across a problem experienced by customers in your line of business that you were unaware of. If nothing else, you can write a blog post about your online intereactions. :)
You're not just writing something that is engaging, provocative, and entertaining. Those words are a bit too vague. To be more specific you need to write content that is helpful, useful, and actionable. Helpful means it answers a question. Useful means it is relevant and meets a need. Actionable means it shows others how to solve a problem. It may seem too generous, but you need to be generous if you want more people to like your content. The great thing is if someone following your advice gets stuck, they'll probably email you. That email may not generate a ton of business right away, but you may have a new advocate on your hands. If handled properly this advocate will tweet, share, and like you all over the web. Do that twenty times!
The main point here is that creating good content requires you to get out of the citadel. Engage others and find out what others want to know or what they are talking about. Then, write about it. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. Before you know it, you'll actually start to be knowledgeable. Go figure!
That's it for now. Thank you for reading this blog post. I have new and original content coming down the line. I'll keep you posted. You can also join our mailing list here for provocative, engaging, and entertaining content. :)