This one is for my fellow mompreneur ladies and small business owners. Let’s talk a little bit about originality and the importance of creating original content. On a regular basis, I receive questions about my photos, my editing style, my blog and requests for advice on how business and aspiring influencers can learn some of the tricks of the trade. I’d love to be your cheerleader to encourage you to get out there and create your own magic.
My current job title is “content creator” and while that description is relatively new in this world of marketing, PR and the digital space, creating content is something I’ve done for a long time for both clients and my own brand 30A Mama. It’s also something I’m very passionate about and a concept I want to spend a little time chatting about here.
The word “create” itself means to bring something into existence. Think about that for a second. One moment there is nothing, and the next there is something. That something has a place and a space and a moment and even a purpose simply because it was created. Let’s give creators and their original content the respect it deserves.
So what is content exactly? I’m talking about the bits and pieces of media and products that we consume everyday. Things that we see, hear, even taste or feel: a picture, a video, a graphic, a blog, an article, an email, a book, a magazine, a podcast … the list goes on.
Here are 5 reasons why creating original content is important:
Maybe you’re only talking to your mom and sister. Maybe you’re working to grow an audience for your small business. Either way, what you share is a way to connect with each other. Be authentic with what you share. By being the creator behind the post instead of using someone else’s work or a generic piece of content, you can truly cater to the needs and interests of the people consuming your content with pride and authenticity.
Take the time to put your own spin on it. If what you share resonates on a higher level, it shows with repeat visitors, engagement and a more loyal following. You know your audience or demographic better than an outside party, so use that information to create an original piece that speaks to them. Give useful information, helpful tips or firsthand knowledge. Don’t be afraid to show what you know or how what you offer can make a difference.
Content creators use imagination, action and curation. There is both a plan, a strategy, a vision and the execution of recording, documenting, writing or designing to have something (mostly) tangible in the end. Like many jobs, it can look simple, but in truth, it’s not easy to make it look easy. Skills don’t happen by accident and no matter what you’re doing, appearing effortless is a result of practice, experience and consistency.
Yes, it takes the extra effort, but by consistently sharing original work instead of photos, quotes or ideas from another account, you’re showing that YOU are the expert not just another channel repeating the same message. Give your audience something they can’t find in another place. A poor imitation does zero favors for your credibility.
I know so many of you are a mompreneur running a business that depends on keeping customers interested and into what you’re sharing. In addition to consistent branding (which is huge!), it’s important to show your experience firsthand to make the most impact. If you’re a boutique showing a new dress, resharing the stock image does much less than showing it on with sizing comments. If you’re sharing fitness products, posting someone else’s fitness journey isn’t as inspiring as putting out your own results and thoughts.
Some of you are looking for ways to improve your SEO. Original content is essential when guest posting and generating reputable external links. Even if you’ve established yourself as an authority to your audience, you probably still have a lot to do for Google’s rankings. Posting a fitness journey, clean beauty or essential oils collection from another source isn’t going to give you the authority and ultimately won’t give you the best chance for success.
Photograph your real life, your products or services and the benefits they have. Make content actionable, so it’s not only inspiring but has a measurable result. Align this with your business goals so they work in tandem. Having many forms of content (photo, video, inspirational quote, email newsletter, tutorial graphic, etc) can also mean a variety of ways to drive and promote your message.
Let’s talk about reposting. This one can be a little tricky, but keep in mind first and foremost, the person who originally created or captured that image OWNS THAT IMAGE. It is intellectual property and not just up for grabs. Whether it’s a photo, a meme, an illustration or anything else, there is ownership of that content and if it’s not yours, you really need to be careful.
Here’s my rule of thumb: If you have a strictly personal account and are simply inspired and want to reshare or support the original work, there are ways to do that so that you either have permission or insure that the original creator retains credit. (From an Instagram post, you can click the paper airplane icon and share that post, for instance, to your story and the image is both clickable to the original and has the credit tagged below.) If you have a business account and have ANY intentions of gaining from that image (whether it’s just gaining engagement or ultimately profiting through a customer, a sale or anything of value), you should not repost without express permission.
Please stick with me on this, because I don’t mean it as a complaint but more for educational purposes. Some people really don’t know the ethics and even legal guidelines for content usage and I’d love to use this opportunity to encourage you to stay on the safe side and be original. As I mentioned, if the intention of a repost is to celebrate the work of the content creator or be a post of support, that’s great. I’m talking about the times where an account skips over the “work” part and takes a screenshot instead.
I’ve had my images screenshot and reshared without my permission and often without any credit at all. Adding a credit tag is not enough. If you have a business and are using social media for business, there is no excuse to copy/paste/edit or screenshot for your own purposes. It’s unprofessional and only makes you look bad. You need to be prepared to create content, pay for content or get permission from anyone you would like to request to repost. Truthfully, you really need to have a full content strategy and of course, there are plenty of professionals (like me) who do this for a living, but perhaps its as easy as designating someone on the team to do these tasks or buying stock images to supplement what you create. Not having the budget is not an excuse to steal.
When there are literally millions of pieces of content coming at us in all forms from social media, the web and the real world around us, it can be somewhat intimidating to think about taking the first step in creating original content. Trust me, it’s easier than you think to make it happen and often, the first step is the hardest. Yes, it takes time to develop your style and rhythm, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the journey to improvement. No one starts out with their best work. Use tools like presets, graphic design apps or professional freelancers to make your work better and keep trying.
The fact that you created something yourself will give you so much more satisfaction than a screenshot can ever do.