In The Book of Insults Samuel Johnson is quoted as saying:
"Your manuscript is both good and original, but the part that is good is not original, and the part that is original is not good."
Great comedians know a secret about content creation that most people don't know.
It's a secret that allows them to grab your attention and create new content in an arena which seems to be flooded with content and content creators.
I'll explain their secret to you in a minute. But first, you
must understand something important.
The Bad News
The thing you must understand is this: content has become a commodity.
In the early days of the internet, you could put up basic, helpful content and people would read it, link to it, and come back for more.
Today that is no longer the case.
What This Means to Content Marketers
That's a lot of content. And don't forget. That's all happening every minute! That's more than anyone can or would even want to consume.
That means the days when average, "me, too" content could be put up on a website and produce some results are over.
There is too much duplicate content for that method to ever work again.
That means if you're going to create content, then it has to be original. It has to stand out.
The Good News
The good news is that even though content is now a commodity, unique content is in demand more than ever.
In fact, I would say it's needed more than ever.
The question is this: how do you create unique content when there is so much duplicate content out there ?
To answer that question, I want to finally show you that secret that I told you that good comedians understand.
The Content Creation Secret That Comedians Know
Don't feel overwhelmed when you hear that content is a commodity, that there is a lot of duplicate content out there, and that you must somehow create unique content.
That doesn't mean that you have to come up with ideas that no one has ever thought of.
That would be impossible. As the ancient saying goes, "There is nothing new under the sun."
There is not really a way for you to come up with completely new ideas - at least not on a regular basis.
Instead you must do what great comedians do.
Think about it. Do you think that comedians have it any easier in coming up with unique material?
Do you think it's easy to come up with ideas for jokes that no one has ever heard of?
No. It's not.
But the secret that comedians know is this: you don't have to create completely new content out of thin-air to create content that is unique.
Instead you just need to do three things:
1. You just need to look for common problems, solutions, ideas, situations, or lessons that people normally overlook or don't think about.
2. You then want to focus your thoughts on thinking about what these things really are, their actual effect on us, and all the other ramifications and consequences that are tied to these things.
3. You finally take your observations and conclusions and point them out creatively to your audience using your unique (or in the comedian's case, funny) perspective.
Think about it.
When you hear a good comedian and you find yourself laughing, what's your first response?
I bet it's either, "That's true!" or "Ha! I never thought of that!"
Why? Because they have taken time to think about things we haven't or they have taken time to come up with angles we never have considered.
Let me give you an example of what I'm talking about from a comedian named Jim Gaffigan.
He came up with a part of his routine where he talks about a common, everyday food item that almost everyone has heard of.
Listen to this short clip of Jim Gaffigan talking about "Hot Pockets"...
Do you see what he did?
1. He noticed that "Hot Pockets" were a strange food product that somehow, for as strange as it is, is still popular.
2. He started to think about what they really were made of, how they made him feel after eating them, the different types there were, etc. Then he shared his unique perspective in a creative and funny way.
He didn't have to create a completely new concept out of thin air.
He came up with the idea from a common thing we all already know about.
The key is that he pointed out what most of us hadn't consciously thought about this common item.
Best of all, he did this in a creative and unique way.
That's why it resonates with us.
It resonates because it's a truth we know already.
It resonates because he points out things that were always there, but we hadn't noticed them.
And it's pleasurable to us, because the content is presented in a unique and creative way.
How You Can Apply the Content Marketing Secret of Good Comedians
Let me give you 4 simple ways you can apply this secret to create content that is unique.
1. Begin by looking for common problems and situations that your prospects and customers deal with.
Think about them. Think about what things make up these problems or situations, why they are there, what they have in common with other problems and situations, etc. Think of creative ways to describe them, similar problems and situations in other arenas, analogies you can use to describe them, stories that reveal them, and unique terms you can use to describe them, etc.
If you need to, write down any of these ideas so you can have them for use at a later point.
2. Think about solutions to these problems and situations.
Start by thinking of common and basic solutions that are usually overlooked or not actually applied. See if you can come up with new ideas from the similar problems and situations you've thought about in other arenas, from the analogies or stories you came up with, etc. Write these down along with your above list of situations and problems.
3. Look for important truths or lessons that people in your niche overlook.
Now, instead of thinking of common problems or their solutions, think about truths or lessons your niche needs to know. Again, really think about them. Think about the effect these truths, situations or lessons have on people. Think about how they apply in different situations in your prospects' and customers' lives. And then, just like you did with the common problems, think of creative ways to describe them, analogies you can use, stories that reveal them, and unique terms you can use to describe them, etc.
4. You can now take the ideas you generated and material you gathered and use them to write your posts.
Take those common problems and situations, take those important truths or lessons, and create content using the revelations you came up with, using the analogies, stories and terms you have gathered. Use your unique perspective and be as creative as you can in the way you present your information.
The resulting content will be unique and will stand out from the other generic content that is being produced by your competitors.
Need a Concrete Example?
If you need a concrete example, you just read one. I used the method I just described above while actually writing this post. I noticed a common problem (content overload), a common need (to create unique content) and, after thinking about the common problem and need, I came up with a solution (use the same method that comedians use). Then I put it all together using my unique perspective and creativity (used a quote, an infographic, and a video to express my ideas).
What methods do you use when creating content? It would be awesome to hear in comments below.