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Content Creators, Then and Now

On the podcast Smartless, the hosts often rail against the concept of content, as opposed to writing. Content is seen as cookie-cutter, and uncreative — separate from artistry. I say that words are words.

Any form of writing involves creating and expressing ideas, whether for entertainment, information, or inspiration. Quality and originality may vary, but at its core, writing is the tool we all use to convey meaning to whoever the reader might be.

In ancient caves, people wrote with pictures on the walls. Around 3500-3000 BCE, cuneiform script began to be used in Sumer, and hieroglyphics in Egypt. Other writing systems emerged in China. Once people started they couldn’t get enough.  

Writing made trade easier and it was a way to record complex ideas and preserve history and stories. After the Phoenicians adopted an alphabet, the Greeks and Romans assimilated that, and boom, here we are 2,000 years later.

Blog Letters on Brown Wood
Photo by Pixabay:

Whether you are a screenwriter or a B2B blogger, you’re just trying to get someone to read what you wrote – and act on it. Make a movie or buy a product. Words matter everywhere. 

Just three of them launched Nike – “Just Do It.” 

J.K. Rowling needed more than a million of them to make the world in Harry Potter but no one holds it against her. 

I like what The Martian author Andy Weir says about messaging (and marketing):

I think marketers are very message-focused. They know what they want people to hear. They have to work backward from there to figure out how to make that happen. What they should do is find the thing that’s unique or interesting that captures people’s attention. Figure out what that thing is; don’t worry about the message right now. Just find the interesting part, and then figure out how to link that to the message.

That’s especially resonant because it was only when Weir gave up on his dream of being a published author and wrote something he enjoyed, that he became a published author.

And if you’re not writing the next vehicle for Matt Damon to star in, you can still have a little fun.

Your business content tells a story too. It just needs to be a story that people want to read. There are a thousand websites and books that want to tell you how to do this, and some of them are probably worth your time and attention.

But the cave painters didn’t consult any of them when they were grinding their minerals for pigment. They had an idea and a point of view  – and presumably an audience.

Doesn’t seem all that different than what I’m doing here. Welcome to my cave.