Sometimes it’s challenging for bloggers to come up with new material. When you have limited time or resources, don’t have anything particularly new to say or are just feeling a little bit lazy, it can be tempting to simply recycle other people’s content (or your own). Here’s how to do that in a way that won’t get you in trouble (legally or otherwise) or force you to compromise on ethics, decency and respect.
1. Content curation. This approach involves simply taking other people’s content, publishing a short excerpt, and then linking back to the original source. Vertical Response has an excellent post describing the difference (see what I did there?) so make sure you publish the name of the site (and ideally the author, if available) along with a link back to the original source. Publishing the entire piece is not the way to go–just a few sentences or paragraphs will do. If you’ve got the time and energy, you can build off of the piece as well by providing commentary and context, instead of simply posting the excerpt and backlink.
2. Dig into quotes you didn’t use for a previous piece. That interview you had transcribed but only used a third of the quotes from sources you’d interviewed? Can you pull together the rest of your material and come up with a different but related topic? I’ve actually printed “outtakes” of interviews I’ve done–the really great quotes I wanted to use but that couldn’t quite work into the piece because they didn’t fit the t heme. You can even link to the original piece you did with your own personal comments.
3. Find a new spin. This is a great approach if you’re doing some reporting, but are coming up with the exact same information as previously published work. The best way to be unique is to find a new angle. What can you ask about that hasn’t already been covered? Or, if you’re pressed for time or resources, what do you already know about that you could discuss to draw parallels to the piece you’re currently working on? This does require a little bit of additional work and some creativity, but extra elbow grease is always a better choice than writing content that’s stale.
4. Pick a different audience or ability level. Explaining the technical nuances of a service is very different depending on who you’re talking to. Perhaps you’ve covered the bare bones minimum for someone else’s site, but want to go more in depth for your more experienced audience. Or maybe the opposite is true–you’ve explained the technical details but have never made the topic accessible for those outside the field. Consider your audience, and have at it.
5. Switch mediums. A video tutorial of something that’s been covered in writing can make an old topic fresh, as can a slideshow compiling examples (with permission, of course) or an audio roundtable discussion where previously there were only blog posts. Think about what you can add or build on to create truly original content, though, instead of just making a verbatim video version of a how-to guide. What can you do with video, audio, etc. that will provide more value for your readers or viewers?