But as your heart drops through the soles of your feet, what you see instead is this:
Millions of results.
That’s the look of competition, and it hurts. It feels like theft, because it was your idea.
Well, lucky for us there’s hope.
You don’t need to hit a grand slam, reinvent the wheel or find life on other planets every time you write.
Next time you’re expecting virgin writing territory, but instead come to find a well-trodden path complete with discarded candy bar wrappers and beer cans, try one of these 8 Ways to Freshen Up All The Blog Posts People Steal From You.
Be fancy and write it better
You know how many sportswriters and sportscasters talk about the Pittsburgh Steelers? I have no idea. But between all the newspapers, radio shows, TV programs out there, you can bet there are a LOT of people talking about the Steelers from week to week.
But only ONE person gets the coveted National Sportscaster or Sportswriter of the Year award. Just one.
Why? Because they do their job better, louder, funnier than everyone else.
You can do that, too. If you’ve got a knack for writing, write your blog posts better than the next guy.
Tend a bit to the poetic side? Inject that into your posts.
Have a great sense of humor or dry wit? Again, target your writing with those sensibilities.
All of a sudden, that “same old blog post” is fresh and exciting.
And lest you forget, keep in mind that the internet is one huge suck-fest for the most part. The majority of it looks bad and is written even worse. Good writing on its own can become reason enough for your post to shine.
Prove the subject/author right with personal experience
If the topic you want to write about is a “7 Ways to do ” sort of thing, give us your experience with it when you actually tried those seven things. Tell us why it worked and how it worked for you.
Better yet, make it a case study. People love case studies, as they act as proof that something can be done. If you can do it, so can Jill and Bob.
By the way, these are also BRILLIANT posts for affiliate marketing purposes. As you discuss your process, you can talk about (and sell) tools you used, courses you followed, books you read, etc.
Prove the subject/author wrong with personal experience
You followed all the advice in The Four-Hour Workweek to the letter, failed miserably and could only deduce that Tim Ferriss probably ate paint chips as kid.
Perfect blog topic! Tell us exactly what you did, what the real results were and what didn’t work. And just like case studies of success are great, negative case studies have the same potency.
Taking it further, once you’ve bared your soul and told of your own destruction, turn it right around and end the post with what eventually ended up working for you.
Again, these posts can be great for affiliate purposes.
Take the rocket science out of it
You might remember this idea from “There’s Something About Mary”:
How do you improve on an Eight-Minute Abs workout? Seven-Minute Abs!
People (me included) tend to inflate ideas, make things complicated or overly convoluted.
This is where you come in. If you have a knack for simplifying, take an idea that’s been butchered by technicalities or dry details and make it something more generally palatable.
Take an idea that seems like Rocket Science and turn it into Seven-Minute Rocket Science.
Expand on it
Dammit! Someone already wrote 101 Uses For a Dead Cat.
That leaves the market wide open for 99 More Uses for a Dead Cat, or similar titles in the pigeon and hamster niches.
Sometimes stoking the fire is exactly the thing to do. You can counter the original opinion/post with fact, or counter fact with your interesting opinion
Why not try a little fisticuffs with an opinion-versus-stats riffing? It doesn’t really matter what side you’re on, provided you’re portraying your side coherently.
But people love to read opinion, and they love to read about real-life stats, too. So what can be better than a little of each in the same post? Maybe a cupcake.
Make it a story
Aside from just writing about the same topic but writing it better…you can take it a step further and write a story about it.
A technical blog post about how to card count at a Vegas blackjack table is one thing. But how about a true story of you or a friend, actually card counting at a real casino. Did you win big bucks? Get taken out back and beaten by the pit bosses?
You may have noticed the recent surge of zombie fiction and blog posts entitled “How Vampires Can Teach You to Write Better.”
This genre-mixing is often intended to breathe new life into old topics by looking at them at entirely different angles. Not only does this offer a fresh approach, it can also grab readers who might not have ordinarily flocked to the subject. Meaning, someone might read your “How Vampires Write Better” post because they want to write better or because they’re fans of vampires.
How do you go about this genre mixing? Well, just survey yourself for what you like, what you know about and what you love. Most of us know, love and experience many different things in life. Find two and smash them together.
- Ex: What an architect can teach you about computer science
- Ex: How a runway model sold $45,000 worth of zombie fiction
- Ex: 6 reasons an NFL quarterback will beat you at Blackjack
More than one way to skin a cat
In this post we talked about breathing new life into old ideas, even when those ideas were yours first and stolen by a bunch of ruthless bastards.
The important thing to remember is that there’s always a way to grab that idea back and make it something fresh. And heck, with a little thought and effort, you might end up with something even better.
Of course, these are just a few ideas for overcoming the “it’s all been done before” blues. I’d love to hear how these might work for you. Even better, do you have tips or tricks that you use?
Let’s hear about it.
For now, write it and publish it. Don’t let your predecessors work you out of a job.Posted: Monday, November 14th, 2011