No Copycats. The Art of Originality

July 19th, 2016

“They” say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.  If this is the case, Melania Trump sure seems to have a greater sense of respect for Michelle Obama then she let’s on to.

For those of you who haven’t had an opportunity to read through today’s headlines, skim through Yahoo news, or get a peek at your Twitter feed, the world of mass media is having a field day with last night’s GOP convention.  One of the bigger stories of the night is Melania Trump’s alleged use of Michelle Obama’s 2008 convention speech.

But Cobalt Digital Marketing isn’t here to argue political rhetoric; instead, our focus for today is on originality, sincerity, and obvious plagiarism.

Inspiration or allusions to older texts/speeches, and some instances of sentence (singular) borrowing are relatively expected in any form of writing.  But outright plagiarism of more than a few sentences, or even an entire paragraph, is an unequivocally loathsome act (especially when denied).  As a writer, as a blogger, as a marketing team, as a creative-type, as an artist, the worst description to have your name attached to is “copycat”.

Anybody worth their creative chops hates to be considered a derivative of somebody that came before them – unless of course it’s meant as a compliment rather than an insult.

So in a world where thousands, if not millions, pieces of digital content get posted online every day, how do you maintain originality?  Well the reality is that it is damn near impossible to be 100% original.  In fact, I’m pretty sure there’s a couple million blogs out there already touching on originality (metacognition anyone?).

But that doesn’t mean it can’t be done.

Being cliché as possible here…what makes you and your writing unique is you.  Your style of writing, your imagination, your voice, your thoughts and ideas, should all be representative of you.

There are 59.3 million new #blog posts on @Wordpress sites each month. What inspires you? #contentmarketing Click To Tweet

“You May Say I’m a Dreamer – Imagine

 Remember what it was like being a kid?  Creating storylines for your toys to “live out”.  Jumping over lava in the living room.  Heck I made my own turtle soup once (quick recipe: cologne, mouthwash, cream, calamine lotion, toothpaste, water, face wash, and of course Ninja Turtles).  That little person with all the imagination in the world is still in there, ready to bring out their unique perspective and play.

It’s not about absolutely letting go of your adult understanding, but rather about releasing some of those inhibitions, and mending the two to allow for a creative mindset to help you reach those goals of creating original marketing pieces.

We All Have a Voice

Your voice is different than mine; both our literal speaking voices and our writing voices.  Every company, and employee in that company, has their own voice.  It’s about allowing that voice to shine through to help guide the ship towards the shore.  What sort of marketing agency or blogger are you?  Are your topics weighty and require a straightforward sober tone?  Or perhaps there is an opportunity to add some levity to the work.  Whatever it may be, write from your own voice and don’t try to be any other sort of writer.  If you’re just naturally a joking individual then utilize that to your advantage.  If you can wax philosophical then drop knowledge.  Whatever your voice is, use it!

Make Your Own Rules

No, I don’t mean break the law.  But the beauty of working in the creative field is that you don’t have to follow a specific procedure or accept tradition (like not starting a sentence with the word but).

Technology has opened up the Web and made it a Wild Wild West of sorts, where the bravest men and women, willing to dive headfirst into their startups and beliefs, can create their own destinies.  Take those thoughts that make you an individual, try to translate them to a physical form (i.e. writing), and accept the ride for what it’s worth.  Marketing, creativity, blogging, are ultimately about grabbing attention.  And everybody loves a rule breaker.

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Quality Means Originality

If you’re truly offering quality services then you are more than likely being original.  That’s because originality usually takes time to form and come to full fruition.  Why do you think fast-food joints never taste as good as the mom-and-pop restaurants?  It’s because there is an obvious difference between quantity versus quality, and it all stems from the true love of an activity.  If you’re writing, creating, selling like crazy just to get a paycheck, check the quality and originality of your work?  Is it truly where you want it to be?  Sometimes dishes need to stay in the oven just a little longer to reach that perfect flavor.  That desire to make an original dish/writing means you’re offering unique quality no else can.  And people will notice.

Who Are You?

This is probably the first question you should be asking yourself.  Who are you as an individual, and who are you as a company?  What are you strong points? Your weaknesses?  What is the truth of the skills and services you are able to provide?

Be true to your brand. Be an original. @Cobalt_Digital #branding #marketing Click To Tweet

I am a writer.  That’s the truth of who I am, at least right now.  I love art, but can’t draw worth a squat.  I love to sing, but probably sound like William Hung.  I know who I am and what I am capable of at this moment.  Doesn’t mean I won’t continue to grow or seek to develop skills I currently lack.  But in order for me to find out who I am, I need to find the truth of what I am.  It is in that truth that we find our true selves, and thus, originality.

Yes, this might sound like some ancient mystical philosophy, but can you show me where to find originality?  Can you take me to the store to buy some? Perhaps provide me with a magic potion?  These all receive a resounding NO because originality comes from within.  Once you can lock onto who you are, the doors to creative originality will open up.

But…if you’re still not too confident about your own creative abilities, there’s no need to panic, because Cobalt Digital Marketing has more than enough to go around.  If you need some assistance with website content or blogging, Cobalt Digital Marketing is more than happy to be a part of your digital marketing journey.

Oh, and to all you politicians out there, we have some great writers over here at Cobalt Digital, so give us a call if you need some help with your speeches!