Today’s post is by ProBlogger writing expert Ali Luke
Whatever topic you write about, you’ve probably seen a lot of ideas that have already been done to death.
If you’re in the weight loss niche, you might have seen a dozen posts on “How to beat the weight loss plateau”. If you’re in the freelancing niche, you’ve probably come across quite a lot of advice on “Should you charge per project or per hour?”. And if you blog about pregnancy and babies, you’ve probably read post after post about “Why breastmilk is better than formula”.
The problem is, you may also want to cover these well-worn ideas. Perhaps your readers have asked for a post on that particular topic, or maybe you want to make sure your beginner-friendly blog covers all the basics.
Of course, this is where I reassure you that your post will be different because you’ll be bringing your unique voice and perspective to it. (After all, that’s the advice I read time and time again when I started blogging.)
But while that’s true to a degree, I’ve read a lot of posts over the years across various niches that all seemed a bit too derivative.
Without a strategy in mind, it’s all too easy to write a post that just summarises other posts you’ve read on the topic. It ends up bland and boring, or skates over a topic without really giving any new insights.
So how can you offer something more for your readers? Well, I’m going to cover three options in this post, although I’m sure there are plenty more. You could:
- Use an analogy to make your post more engaging
- Acknowledge the other posts out there and subvert them
- Go much deeper into a particular topic than most people do
(If you’ve got other ideas for adding value to a well-worn idea, please share them with us in the comments.)
Method #1: Use an Analogy to Make Your Post More Engaging
If your topic is quite basic, or even slightly boring, an analogy can make it far more engaging. It will be not only more fun to read, but also thought-provoking for your reader. It can also be a lot of fun to write.
To create an analogy, pick something from outside your niche that you could compare with your topic. For instance, you might write about “How writing my PhD thesis taught me how to break my weight loss plateau” or “What McDonald’s can teach you about pricing per hour vs per project”.
Analogies can come from almost anywhere: other areas of your life and experience, or movies / TV shows / books you love.
7 Unconventional Birth and Business Lessons from a New Mom – Nathalie Lussier, NathalieLussier.com. This great post from the founder of AccessAlly shares some key business lessons as they relate them to giving birth.
What Classic Monsters Can Teach Writers About Monster Clients – Amanda Stein, Craft Your Content. While there are plenty of posts out there about dealing with difficult clients, this post (published just before Hallowe’en in 2017) offers insights in a fun way.
Method #2: Acknowledge the Other Posts Out There and Subvert Them
Sometimes it’s best to openly acknowledge there are lots of posts on your particular topic out there. You can then explain how your post will be different. Maybe you’ll be going against prevailing wisdom in your niche, or offering a very different take on something.
If your readers are fed up with bland, one-size-fits-all advice this can be a great tactic. Just make sure you can stand by your opinions. Don’t write a controversial post you don’t really agree with.
13 Effortless Productivity Tips To Keep You Sane (And Profitable) – Naomi Dunford, IttyBiz. From the first line of this post, Naomi makes it very clear she won’t be giving the type of advice readers have often seen elsewhere: “Productivity tips are generally things that make me want to poke my eye out with a spoon”.
When Life Happens: A Totally Doable Morning Routine for Writers – Hailey Hudson, Craft Your Content. In this post, Hailey (who has a chronic fatigue illness) goes beyond the standard advice on how to adjust your morning routine “when life happens”.
Method #3: Go Much Deeper Into a Particular Topic Than Most People Do
Sometimes, tackling a familiar topic means digging into it much deeper than most people do. Instead of just explaining the basics, you could give an in-depth guide with the hows and whys, or drill deep into one aspect of the topic.
This can be a great tactic if you think a lot of the content in your niche is a bit surface-level. Your readers may know all the basics, but they may be having trouble implementing them, or want to know more than most bloggers are offering.
100 Mostly Small But Expressive Interjections – Mark Nichol, Daily Writing Tips. While plenty of writing-related sites explain what interjections are and give examples, this is an impressively long and detailed list.
Your Ultimate First Chapter Checklist, Pt. 1: Hooking Readers – K.M. Weiland, Helping Writers Become Authors. There are plenty of posts out there on “How to write a first chapter”. But K.M. takes it a big step further, creating a series of three posts that each tackle the process from a different angle.
If you’ve always wanted to write about an idea but haven’t yet because it’s been done to death by other writers, I hope I’ve given you some ideas on how you could give your readers a fresh take on it.
And if you’ve got your own tips on how to tackle a well-worn idea without boring your readers, share them with us in the comments.
Image credit: Cody Davis