At last count, the Internet had 389 gagillionbillionzillion pages of content. As we quest to figure out what quality content is, let’s start with original content. Do you have it?
If you have ever taken a Cosmo quiz about your flirting skills, you know how this works. For every question, choose one answer. Add your points for each answer together. Score yourself at the end.
1. I use numbers at the beginning of headlines:
- Never. How pedestrian. +10
- Sometimes. Better traffic and more social shares and more links, duh. +5
- Often. It’s so much easier to write when I know exactly how many paragraphs I need. +1
2. I use memes to illustrate my content:
- Never. I have All Original Content. +10
- Sometimes. When it makes sense. Probably in the past few months. +5
- Meme ALL the things! #winning. One does not simply stop marketing with memes. +1
3. I use multimedia content formats, such as podcasts, webinars and videos:
- Never. All I need are written words. +10
- Sometimes. A few webinars and podcasts, because they work for email harvesting content marketing. (Plus, I like to hear the sound of my voice in recordings. My voice is like the voice baby of Barry White and Luther Vandross.) +5
- Often. Mostly cat videos. +1
4. I compare Celebrity X to Topic Y:
- Never. All Original Content is incomparable. +10
- Sometimes. So Eminem resonates with my aging audience of marketers in their second careers. Who am I to judge? I’m waiting for the right time to use Burt Reynolds. +5
- Often. Especially if the celebrity is long dead, because Einstein and Nietzsche can’t sue me. Although if the celebrity just died, I can be poignant about Topic Y in the context of Our Brief Lives. +1
5. I use GIFs to illustrate my content:
- Never. People who love GIFs now weren’t even born when I was busy inventing websites with them. +10
- Sometimes. I used a bunch of GIFs to illustrate an article about how to use GIFs for marketing. +5
- Often. In fact, I’m taking it a step past GIFs into marketing with cinemagraphs. If someone can write a New York Times article about the significance of GIFs that concludes with…
“The GIF,” he said, “occupies very fertile ground between the still and the moving image.”
…then I don’t really see the problem. +1
6. I use infographics:
- Never. I have All Original Content best expressed as a long-form narrative. +10
- Sometimes. But I hear charticles are next big thing for Thought Leadership Marketing Content. +5
- Often. It’s not like an infographic needs to have data to be an infographic—just some decorated words that people will share. +1
7. I make lists:
- Never. I write the stuff that other people make lists about. +10
- Sometimes. Best-of lists are good for links. End-of-the-year or year-ahead lists are OK if I have nothing better. +5
- Often. I have even made lists of my lists. +1
8. I have used “…is king” or “…is dead” in my copy:
- Never. But if I did, I would have been the first person to say it ever. +10
- Sometimes. But only as a way to disprove that something “is king” or “is dead” and that really shouldn’t count against me. +5
- Often. But only in word clouds. +1
9. I have started an article with a dictionary definition:
- Never. I never quote anyone, even the dictionary. +10
- Sometimes. I know, I know. It’s a writing crutch. But sometimes I’m in a hurry. +5
- Often. Every time I have to look up a word in the dictionary, I think, “That’s a blog post!” If Webster explains something, then I don’t have to. +1
10. I read, watch or listen to other works of art and their creators:
- Never. That’s how I know my content is so original. +10
- Sometimes. I do have to keep up with industry news, but what really triggers my best content has nothing to do with my job. Music, photography, architecture, XBOX, Duck Dynasty, Tarantino movies. That kind of thing. +5
- Often. I haven’t read a novel in years, but I read Seth Godin’s blog every day. +1
How original is your content?
Your content is so original you probably passed along some ideas to Moses. Then you wrote The Epic of Gilgamesh. Homer, Plato and Socrates have nothing on your creativity. You coined marketable before Shakespeare did. Among some scholars, there are whispers that you are Shakespeare.
You’re the average content marketer. You’ll try most things once and keep doing the things that are working. When they stop working, you move on to the next thing someone is calling a best practice. But… are you OK with average? Would you rather be the person setting the content trends? Pump it up! (Try a quiz.)
You are the content marketer who takes a good thing and uses it over and over and over until even your mother knows about the ALL THE THINGS meme. It’s possible that you are terrible at your job, but it’s also possible that you don’t know what you’re doing is overkill. Consider this a head’s up.
It’s not possible to score below 10 if you followed the quiz instructions. Are you a content maverick in the making?
Cuneiform photo by Kurt Thomas Hunt.