Repetition, not redundancy.

Earlier, I’d written that if you’re a content writer, you shouldn’t fear repetition. In content, repetition is critical to making a continued impression on your audience. Easier said than done, yeah?

Last week, a writer at emdash hit a wall doing this. A few things happened:

  • Every blog post read the same. Even when the topic was different, the way the brand’s message was plugged in was boringly similar.

  • The structure became stagnant. She would begin with an intro > list a bunch of problems > argue that the brand’s offering was the solution > CTA > Rinse > Repeat.

  • She began feeling that she could only do so much with all the limitations.

  • There was more agony in the writing process than there was joy.

I’ve seen this happen with freelancers as well. They’ll write two dozen blog posts about something — say, data governance, cloud migration, data quality etc. — grow bored of it and asked to be relieved from the project.

So, how do you write the same thing over and over, without sounding like a broken record?

Change up the form: For a logistics clients we were writing for, we wrote a piece about a day in the life of a package. It helped us think about the client’s product differently.

Build on what you’re written: Like this very piece. I’ve already told you that repetition is good (and also a little about what you can do). Today, I’m expanding on what I’ve said. Try that.

Seek tangential ideas: Put everything away and think of themes in the farthest corner. It might feel like you’re writing about something that’s not top priority, but you might catch something interesting in the process.

Rewrite your worst pieces: Treat it as an opportunity to rewrite your pieces. Add/remove things you’re not happy with. (I’m not recommending that you delete your worst pieces. But either expanding them or writing another article fixing the problems.)

Be devil’s advocate: Make a list of all objections you can think of for every piece of content you’ve written. Write responses to those objections.

When you get on long-term projects to create ongoing content for brands, you will most certainly run out of “entirely new” topics to write about. Remember that it’s fine. Content writing isn’t as much about new ideas as it is about educating and persuading your audience about your (limited set of) ideas.