I was sitting in a business conference listening to a speaker expound upon the many reasons why we must blog, and choked on my hot tea when I heard her say to the two hundred people in the audience, “Blog comments are mini resumes. Let them speak well of you.”
In 2006, I wrote those words in “How NOT to Comment on Comments.” Go through the list of trackbacks and you will see that many people grabbed that phrase and continue to use it today, long past the moment when people still remembered who said it the first time.
I’m always startled when I hear my words coming back to me, weeks or many years later. It’s humbling actually as I rarely think what I have to say matters. Yet, as a long time leader in the web publishing, blogging, and WordPress industry, I’ve been privileged to coin a few words and phrases over my long career. I’ve often been asked to put them on coffee mugs and t-shirts for bloggers, a humbling request indeed.
A favorite of mine was heard in the southern United States. “Well, ice cream don’t grow hair.” I have no idea what that means but it still makes me laugh today.
Have you ever had that moment when you said something then realized it was actually the words (and sometimes the voice!) of your parents? That’s scary.
My mother’s quotes are legendary in our family. Some make complete sense like “Don’t just sit there like a bump on a log.” Others are confusing but you manage to get the gist of it. “Do you need a kick in the head.”
My father loved to quote Bill Cosby. “I bought you into this world. I’ll take you out.” He also modified this as the answer to everything. When the dentist reported a cavity, he explained I needed to take better care of my teeth. “I put your teeth in your head. I can take them out.”
One we’ve all heard is “Didn’t I tell you…” and our answer is always “no” whether or not we’d been told.
It’s time to turn that around for yourself.
You say brilliant things all the time. I read your blog posts and I’m so impressed. I’ve seen some beautiful phrases and quotable statements during these blogging exercises as you flex your blogging muscles on your sites and share the stories of your lives, work, talents, and expertise.
You also echo the words of other people such as family in what you say. You also live in areas where what you say, the colloquial phrases common to your neck of the woods, are colorful ways to say things people in the other woods don’t say quite as eloquently. Share those.
It’s your turn to preserve your own famous words and sayings that are original to you, part of your family’s dialog, or part of your colloquial influence.
Your blog exercise today is to sift through your writing (and your brain) to find those catch phrases and memorable words you’ve published and collect them into your own quote collection.
Here are a few of my examples, original words and phrases, I’ve collected from my own files over the years to help you get started.
“It’s when people will steal your content, not if.”
“Content theft.” While a few carefully used it, it wasn’t until I took a risk and published an article naming it that the word began to be used. It is now a common phrase in the online publishing and social web world.
“Categories are your table of contents. Tags are your index words.”
“In WordPress, Pages hold timeless content, and posts hold timely content.”
“It’s your blog. You choose what is on it.”
“Details.” “It’s all about the details.” “The details will always get you.”
“I should have been more specific.” This relates to getting what we ask for, not what we wanted.
“When creating a website, look at its bones first.” “Don’t design with paint.”
“Bork code.” (In reference to broken web design code, coined by me during the development of the first WordPress Plugins in discussions on the WordPress IRC Live Chat in 2004 and it went viral. Also a reference in politics.)
“Blogging is an evolution not a fixed point.”
“Don’t let your content compete, even with itself.”
“The million dollar answer to SEO success: Write with nouns not pronouns.”
“Stop writing for your eighth grade teacher.” (Given to me by the indomitable Liz Strauss.)
“Everyone was born with two ends. Success in life depends upon which one you use the most. Heads you win. Tails you lose.”
Here are some things you can do with your quote list as part of this blog exercise.
- Publish them as a single post featuring the quotes in a list.
- Publish an article that uses one or more of the quotes to claim them for all time – if they are original.
- Publish a series of posts featuring your quotes, telling the story behind each one. I’m sure you have some good stories about some of the sayings you’ve been carrying around for a long time.
- Create graphics of your quotes and share them on your blog and your social media channels.
- Submit your quotes to wikis and other quote collecting services for others to use and to cite yourself as the source of your original sayings.
If you have some good ones, you may leave them in the comment box below but the point of the exercise is for you to blog these on your site and across your social platforms.