Familiar, Concrete, and Spelled Out

Familiar vs. Unknown

When you write professional content that provides value, you express a new idea, insight, or perspective. The most effective content manages to convey novelty using familiar concepts.

Use familiar terms, concepts, or analogies to make your ideas more accessible to your audience. Make it easier to understand the unknown using things your audience already feels comfortable with.

When you use familiar hooks, your audience has to invest less effort in understanding and remembering your ideas.

Concrete vs. Abstract

Abstractions are a great way to say more with less. Good abstractions are open, so they can embed more meaning without explicitly articulating it. But abstractions alone can also be too open for interpretation. When expressing a new idea, leaving it at the abstract level makes it less accessible.

Use concrete examples to bring abstraction to life. The concrete details should not cover every aspect of the abstraction or the different ways to apply it. Good examples demonstrate an instance of the abstraction, from which they can derive later other applications.

Show vs. Tell

A vivid picture (visual or textual) is always stronger than a vague one.

Let’s say you wish to express the notion of coming up with creative ideas spontaneously. If you describe going to the grocery store, picking a box of cereals, and suddenly thinking about an idea for an article, your audience will be able to visualize this scene in their minds. Such a mental image is more memorable and will resonate longer.

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yellow spice version: 2022.05.0017

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