Many of us struggle to write good content for our blogs. We look at the blank page and nothing comes to mind. What do you write about? What CAN you write about? What will my readers want to read? We all need to take a lesson from this little gem that’s done the rounds on the internet. What a way with words! Never in a million years would I have been able to write this if I tried.
Let me explain …
Apparently, Judy Wallman Trudeau, a professional genealogy researcher in southern Ontario, was doing some personal work on her own family tree when she discovered that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s great, great uncle, Remus Trudeau, was hanged for horse stealing and train robbery in Alberta in 1889. So Judy Trudeau e-mailed the Prime Minister for information about their great, great uncle, Remus.
The only known photograph of Remus shows him standing on the gallows in the new Alberta territory. On the back of the picture, Judy obtained during her research is this inscription: “Remus Trudeau horse thief, sent to Alberta Territorial Prison 1885, escaped 1887, robbed the Alberta Rail Flyer six times. Caught by Northwest Mounted Police detectives, convicted and hanged in 1889.”
Apparently, Prime Minister Trudeau’s staff sent this response back:
Remus Trudeau was a famous cowboy in the Alberta Territory. His business empire grew to include the acquisition of valuable equestrian assets and intimate dealings with the Canadian Pacific railroad. Beginning in 1885, he devoted several years of his life to government service, finally taking leave to resume his dealings with the railroad. In 1887, he was a key player in a vital investigation run by the renowned Northwest Mounted Police. In 1889, Remus passed away suddenly during an important civic function held in his honour when the platform upon which he was standing, collapsed.
Before I go any further on this story, the above story has been checked and found to be false. Apparently the story was originally presented as a joke as early as 2000. However, this purpose of this article is not really about Trudeau’s Uncle Remus but to highlight a point I want to make.
What a way with words!
What lessons can we learn from this little bit of “news” ? How can we apply this to business?
- Always check if it is true before you share the news. A quick check will tell you this story has been used for more than 10 years with different names, to smear Harper, Dion, Trump etc. This is definitely fake news. Justin Trudeau has no such ancestor and no such “political spin” reply was ever sent. We tend to accept information we receive as being true and in our eagerness to share this valuable piece of information, we do not check the accuracy or otherwise. In sharing, we perpetuate the “news” and 2 million shares later, it becomes a fact!
- Get a different perspective. It all depends on how you look at it. The second version made great, great Uncle Remus positively amazing. Who would not want great, great Uncle Remus, the successful entrepreneur, as their ancestor? I’m not suggesting that we all put a spin on our products or services that we sell. You must maintain your honesty and integrity. But it does tell you that perhaps not everyone who sell their products or services are telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
- Content writing is a skill that we should all learn … or be prepared to pay someone else to do it for us! We have all seen the bad advertisements with spelling mistakes and bad grammar (although the bad grammar is sometimes intentional). Or the illustration is so badly done that the story is no longer believable. This is certainly not the case with this article. It was so well written that most people accept this as true and they share the information with their friends. It’s all about our way with words. Used properly, we can tell an exciting story. Do it badly and people will switch off, never to return.
- There is plenty to write about if you look around. This was just one of many articles that cross my desk today. There are always lessons to be learnt. As Barbara Johnson said, “If we can keep our minds open to the blessings, humour and education in whatever happens to us – if we can set that little invisible radar dish on top of our heads to constantly search for blessings instead of disaster – our lives will be enriched by the experiences we endure and we can grow from the calamities that fertilise our lives”.
- Practice makes perfect. The fact is that the more you write, the easier it becomes. When I look back at my early blogging efforts, I cringe. Today, it’s not difficult for me to churn out a 3,000 word article. My bigger problem is to stop. There’s always so much to write about and the rabbit hole can do really deep.
Writing good content is a skill that not many have developed. The advent of ChatGPT must be a dream come true. Used properly ChatGPT is a great tool – unfortunately, many will not. I believe the arrival of ChatGPT is going to be the one tool that will separate the real writers and lift them up to a whole new level. I will discuss this in a future article – first, I have to do some research on it!