Thus, words being symbols of ideas, we can collect ideas by collecting words. The fellow who said he tried reading the dictionary but couldn’t get the hang of the story, simply missed the point that it is a collection of short stories.
– James Webb Young
Fair point by James Webb Young but what if you have to tell your own story about what a word means? Jane Elliot never let a dictionary tell her the story of race, whiteness, or racism; as a result, her beliefs are valuable and important in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd.
Here’s how to play this game yourself.
1. Make a dictionary in which you redefine the most important words to your business. What words are in your tagline, your headline, your business name? Or what words do you often find yourself using as you talk about what you do? Now – how do you define these words? Do you rely on “the dictionary” (as if there were only one), Wikipedia, or Google? In other words, do you let other people describe your important words, or do you describe them for yourself?
2. When you define your important words, notice as you do so whether you get ideas. Make a list of those ideas. Even if they are just little ideas.
Example of a little idea: Seth Godin wrote today that it helps to say “typical so-and-so” instead of “average so-and-so” because typical encourages you to narrow down the so-and-so to a median, not a theoretical, abstract composite (“The typical Southern California parent, not the average one”).
A little idea but a useful one, so make sure you collect those kinds too.
3. Now that you have a list of ideas that came from defining your important words, try writing about them. Or make them the topic for your next podcast.
Now here’s the important part – a month or so later, use the same idea again. Any idea that you can mine to create multiple pieces of content might become what you could call a business belief.
Content marketing isn’t about having a list of things to write about, a list of prompts. This type of blog post, 225 blog posts ideas, contains 0 of your ideas. It contains prompts – which are useful if you’re starting out, or stuck, or need a jolt. But like freehand writing with your non-dominant hand, this is merely an ideation hack. Because not one of those 225 ideas comprises your business belief system.
Every belief system defines God in its own way; it doesn’t relinquish such an important word to others by saying, “I dunno, Google it”.
Content marketing is about cultivating a unique set of your business beliefs to write and speak about.
Have a wonderful weekend,