If you live in the midst of Western civilization, some English or History teacher probably told you that the ideas of Ancient Greece form the roots of our modern society. Everything from our structures of government to our philosophy, architecture, science, and arts resonate with Greek thought and ideals. And, if you’ve seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding, you “know” for a “fact” that any word—any word—can be traced back to Greece.
Would you also believe, then, that the Ancient Greeks knew a thing or two about content creation before we did? We’re talking them having thousands of years of experience over us—so much for content creation being a “new way” of doing things.
The Greeks had different purposes than we do now, though. They weren’t focused on selling a product or service to an audience. Rather, they were in the market of ideas, of sharing them, of persuading others to share them, and having them spread.
They built whole professions on this concept. Orators, or speech-makers, would stand in front of a crowded amphitheater, using their words, voice, body language, professional backgrounds, and logic to get their audience on board with their ideas. Famous rhetoricians throughout history have followed in these Greek orators’ footsteps: W.E.B. Du Bois, Susan B. Anthony, and Martin Luther King, Jr., to name a few. (I had to give you some good examples; no doubt the word “rhetoric” makes you think of corrupt politicians, and that’s enough to ruin anyone’s day.)
So who was the self-proclaimed father of rhetoric in Ancient Greece? My man, Aristotle.
But content creators aren’t rhetoricians or speech-makers, so how can Aristotle’s rhetorical technique help them connect to their audiences? How can you be as effective as Reverend King? Isn’t that a bit of a stretch?
Recent analysis of content readability has shown that most readers like bite-sized bits of information. This means headings, sub-headings, short paragraphs, and quick sentences are always a win.
If you’ve ever worked with Craft Your Content’s editorial team, you know that we spend a lot of time breaking your writing up into smaller parts.
In the busy, digital information age, this makes even more sense. Think of a commuter reading off an iPhone as she moves around the city.
Because she’s reading in short intervals from a device in a busy environment, she must be able to easily recall where she is in the article or post whenever she’s distracted. Headings, short words, sentences, and paragraphs will help her remember where she left off.
Less complex things are easier to remember.
It’s difficult to overestimate the influence that Ralph Waldo Emerson’s 1841 essay “Self-Reliance” has had on subsequent creative minds.
For contemporary writers struggling to generate an original idea, Emerson’s advice to “learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across [your] mind from within” can still provide validation of their unique creative instincts.
According to “Self-Reliance,” you shouldn’t need validation from anyone else.
The crowd, it would seem, should have no bearing on how we understand the world: “the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.”
“Plethora” is one of my favorite words.
I know what you’re thinking. What kind of random awkward human being has favorite words?
When I was a teenager, I knew that I was falling in love fast. Sure, with my adorable high school boyfriend, but also with the sexy and seductive allure of words and language.
See where the “random awkward human being” thing starts coming into play here?Continue reading