September 14th, 2010
To listen well, is as powerful a means of influence as to talk well, and is as essential to all true conversation. ~ Chinese Proverb
Keywords are the words that are used to reveal the internal structure of an author’s reasoning. Keywords can be identified as words which appear with statistically unusual frequency in a text or a corpus of texts. An adventure into the significance of a single keyword includes etymological, mythological, cultural and personal discovery of meaning. Understanding the eco-system of key influencers, major conversations, largest web communities and highest examples of ROI around any given keyword signifies a successful foray into the heart of that keyword.
We now have truly fantastic ways to discover all of these deeper meanings of keywords using the following tools.
ETYMOLOGICAL SEARCH: Etymology is the study of the history of words, their origins, and how their form and meaning have changed over time. As marketers, we want to know about this history because it informs our intelligence gathering about the communities that have surrounded, do surround and will surround any given word.
Example of the power of etymological search: When doing recent research for a film that targets the Cultural Creative community and specifically the Karma Queen consumer within that community, I found that “family” is THE single most popular keyword by global search volume for that tribe. Knowing more about the etymology of the word family gives me further insight and inspiration on which key influencers, largest groups in social networks and web communities. What insight does the word etymology of the word family give me into the Karma Queens?
c.1400, “servants of a household,” from L. familia “household,” including relatives and servants, from famulus “servant,” of unknown origin. The classical Latin sense recorded in English from 1540s; the main modern sense of “those connected by blood” (whether living together or not) is first attested 1660s. Replaced O.E. hiwscipe. Buzzword family values first recorded 1966. Phrase in a family way “pregnant” is from 1796. Family circle is 1809; family man, one devoted to wife and children, is 1856 (earlier it meant “thief,” 1788, from family in slang sense of “the fraternity of thieves”).
From this etymology, we can derive some of the deepest HEART SIGNIFICANCE of this word. A FAMILY (ideally) is a group of people who would do anything for each other, including lying, cheating and stealing to help each other survive. They are pregnant, not only with children, but also with the ideas, the hopes and the dreams of the individuals carrying the same blood. And out of these ideals, they develop values that signify devotion to the children, giving them as much hope and thrust INTO the future as they possibly can.
To perform an etymological search, go here: http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=tool
MYTHOLOGICAL SEARCH: Mythology is defined by Joseph Campbell, the world’s foremost mythologist, as “a field that teaches humans what is behind the literature and the arts.” He goes on to say that “metaphor is the native tongue of myth… myths are public dreams and dreams are private myths.” It has been said that at the root of EVERY word there lives a deity. A mythological search reveals the deity, the sacred and the divinity at the root of a word — its magic.
One location to perform a mythological search related to a keyword is here: http://www.godchecker.com/pantheon/index.php?_search
CULTURAL SEARCH: When one works with keywords and SEO, it is wise to take into consideration ALL of the factors present for OTHER cultures related to keywords. For an excellent article on this go here.
KEY INFLUENCER SEARCH: Knowing who is recognized by the world as a TRUE expert in any given field is pretty valuable information for a researcher. There are many tools for discovering key influencers. Radian6 will reveal key influencers in real time and PeerIndex has produced an elegant and effective measurement tool for the Key Influencers in many areas.
NEWS SEARCH: Searching news is a powerful way to discover what is happening. Recorded Future has created a truly incredible tool for discovering news from the future. With its major investment coming from In-Q-Tel, the investment arm of the CIA and Google, one can be sure there is some excellent information coming through this window into global activity.
One of the world’s foremost social community and strategy architects, Brian Solis, writes, “Gathering intelligence to inspire meaningful and actionable social programs is priceless.” Every KEYWORD contains etymological, mythological, cultural and personal significance AND understanding this truth gives significant power to anyone wishing to influence anyone on anything.
To create “meaningful and actionable social programs” a social marketer should consider delving into each of these disciplines AS A MEANS OF UNPACKING THE SECRET OF EACH KEYWORD AND KEYPHRASE. For a social strategy to find its seed in a set of potent keywords is the equivalent of walking down the rainbow into the pot of gold. Use keyphrases, their meanings and their histories to inform your understanding of the living quality of the WORD, the COMMUNITY, and the OVER-ARCHING CAMPAIGN PHILOSOPHY.
At the root of every word, there is a god or deity, a revolution waiting to happen, a cure for an ill, a ticket to a desired destination…a living and breathing presence and experience. Understanding words AS living and breathing presences transforms keywords from plain data into VIBRANT DATA, DATA WITH VITALITY!