We recently had a laugh regarding the hubbub made over Flocabulary, the language program that uses hip-hop to teach students new words and grammar. The program came under fire when it was proposed for use in Oklahoma classrooms. Folks from the Panhandle State were concerned about the lyrics of Flocabulary, which referred to some of our country’s founders as old white men – gasp!
So in lieu of helping Oklahoma teens who desperately need assistance with grammar and pronunciation, the state decided this week to hold off on using Flocabulary. The fuss strikes us as silly, not because there is anything particularly funny about a nation of teenagers who can’t read or write, but because of the utter ridiculousness of attacking anything that can possibly expand a young person’s vocabulary. After all, as marketers and small business owners, we can appreciate assistance with helping pick the right words for our blogs.
When we talk blog vocab, keywords are the first thing to come to mind. Keywords as important as they are can also be creatively and cleverly used. We’ve heard from SEO gurus over and over again that using keywords in our titles and opening sentences is a great strategy to help in the search engine treasure hunt. We agree – and we also think it doesn’t hurt to place our keywords into an intelligent conversation or even use them to dish about a related news story. Also, our blogs don’t have to be dumbed down for our readers and clients. In fact, challenging our readers with some well-placed words and fun facts can surprise our audience rather than bore them. It is a new day in Blogland, where smartly-written pieces can actually end up in newsfeeds and in linkable heaven. Forcing ourselves to up the ante with great content pays off time and again.
When all else fails, we can always look for help beefing up our blog language. While there is no old skool rap program for adults who need vocabulary assistance, there are great resources online to help inspire better word use. We’re big fans of the Ultimate Vocabulary blog, which not only discusses new words but also blogs on smarty-pants topics like the latest words added to the Oxford English Dictionary. They also sell a fancy software package for wordsmiths who may need additional help. Throw Grammar From the Train is another informative word blog that ponders punctuation, etymology and grammar with humor and good-natured snobbery. If more structure is what you’re seeking, the AP Style Book is now available for iPhone and iPad.
Unlike the kids from Oklahoma, we have the choice to change and improve our blogging language for the better. The blogosphere can be a richer and more intelligent place when content is used that respects our readers and clients. Word!