Line of Sight | Discovering Originality in Content Creation

20382768_blogHave you ever had an eye injury? Both of my sons, ages three and six, have had corneal abrasions in the last five months, due in no small part to the fact that they are – simply – boys. In both cases, an eye patch was required for the healing process.

The recovery for my youngest has been a bit difficult. While the abrasion healed, there is a scar remaining on his cornea. He is now quite sensitive to bright light. Glasses may be in his future if it doesn’t rectify with treatment. At least he’ll look adorable in them.

As I observe him navigating the familiar terrain of our home having to adjust to limited vision, I can’t help but relate his predicament to my work. While the bystander would cringe as my son discovers a wall with his tender little nose (okay… well… I cringe too), I notice how he begins to look at the things around him differently.

He makes more calculated observations. He adjusts accordingly. And he begins to zoom around the house once again, regardless of how his eye is functioning on any given day.

The Content Wonkavator

My son doesn’t look at his world the same as he did prior to his eye injury. We shouldn’t continue to look at our world the same either — not if we want to be successful content creators. It doesn’t take Sherlock to know that we are drowning in a sea of redundant content. It’s becoming harder and harder to make the text on our blogs and websites stand out. Nothing is original anymore, as it seems.

And how else can it be when we all continue to look at content the same way; a recurring loop where we’ve grown accustomed to the lay of the land?

We have to change our line of sight.

Now, I’m not saying go whack yourself in the eye with a stick. But I am saying that we have to start approaching content in a way that defies the beaten path. Forget thinking outside the box; it’s time to look at content sideways and slantways and longways and backways and squareways and frontways…

Give it a Try

How about a little exercise to help you see what I mean? Stand in a doorway, facing the door frame. Note the two divisions of a room that you’re taking in simultaneously. Now cover one eye. Suddenly you’re much more keenly aware of one side of the room. Now cover the other eye. What you were oblivious to just seconds ago is now revealed.

Without adjusting your line of sight, however, you’re missing details and elements of your surroundings that would otherwise go unnoticed. Just because you can see everything, doesn’t mean you’re seeing much at all.

We have to suss out the really sticky stuff when we write in order to see a dedicated following from the masses. How?

Now vs. Later

Get beyond how a topic makes you feel in the moment and, instead, quantify how it changes you for a lifetime. If my son spills a glass of milk (hey, I’m a mom of young kids — everything revolves around them), I can write a blog post all about how he’s not careful and I’m tired of cleaning up messes.

Or I can dive deep and the chocolate swirled milk all over the table and floor becomes a metaphor for the mistakes my son may make throughout his lifetime. It could turn rancid if left alone, or make his future nice and sparkly as we clean it up and he learns to be more careful. Yes, I’m probably still frustrated by the clean up, but I’m getting beyond the emotion and looking for something deeper.

Let Go of Preconceptions

Closed-mindedness keeps us from being creative. Preconceived notions limit how much we’re able — or willing — to see or admit when creating content. Take that Wonkavator and shatter the glass ceiling so that you can see the entire world from a new vantage point. Forget everything you ever thought about a topic and approach it anew.

Do it for You

When you write a blog post, write it for yourself. When you put a webinar together, do it in a way that makes sense to you. If you start creating content focused on every viewer who may ever come across it, you’ll lose focus and originality.

However, if you write it with only yourself and your company in mind, then your true voice will be revealed and the post will be as original as you are. And the honesty of it will resonate with your viewers. That’s not to say you can’t go back and tweak the first draft of your blog post, video or Facebook status for branding purposes, but the foundation that your content is built on will be like no other.

The process for creating truly original content is as complicated as a big ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff (can’t go wrong with a Doctor Who reference). There is no equation you can apply to be certain every approach will work. But changing your line of sight — looking at content as an artist looks at a canvas and seeing the infinite possibilities — is a valid embarkation.

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