So, you want to be a marketing writer. You love putting words to screen, you’re adept at clever turns of phrase, and you like to think of yourself as a creative thought leader. But what does it really mean to write marketing content? For starters, it’s not the same as copywriting, which is used for direct mail campaigns and landing pages to influence the reader to take an action. Instead, marketing writers create content with a purpose and provide information, advice and resources to a business’s customers and clients, usually in the form of articles, blog posts, videos and white papers.
The Marketing Writer Defined
Ask a dozen marketing writers what they do, and you’re bound to get 12 very different answers. That’s because the life of a marketing writer can change from day to day, requiring a certain flexibility and openness to what the moment brings. One thing’s certain—marketing writers do much more than churn out blog posts. In fact, good marketing writers are reporters, experts, and researchers; and the best ones have a touch of the comedian in them as well.
Let’s take a look at some of the essential talents marketing writers should possess, as well as what businesses and brands are looking for in the marketing writers they hire.
You’re a Researcher
Successful freelance journalist and marketing writer Elaine Pofeldt believes that the most important skill a marketing writer can bring to the table is the ability to research. She says that “writing for the web is all about research skills. You must develop the best sources available because you will then have to use your words well.” It makes no difference if you’re blogging, ghost writing or producing white papers, reports or eBooks—research comes first and writing is second. Even when you know a topic inside and out, there’s always something new to learn.
You’re an SEO Pro
Contrary to what many may think, marketing writers do not have a cushy job. “What’s so hard about writing 500 words?” they ask. For a good writer, it isn’t difficult at all, except for all the extras that come along with producing that page; things like making sure the content is fresh and is optimized for the all-important specific keywords that will increase the brand’s search ranking and bring more visitors to its site. You’ll also need to write great headlines and incorporate appropriate keyword density. On top of that, you’ll want to keep up with the latest on SEO best practices so that you’re using the most current and effective methods.
You Are a Brand’s Ally
As a marketing writer, it’s important to know that a brand’s success is also your success. Instead of thinking of yourself as “just a freelancer” or employee, understand that the writing, editing, layout and proper SEO techniques you bring to the game make you an ally in a business’s quest for online accomplishment.
What Businesses and Brands Look For
There comes a time when every business or brand realizes that their brilliant content marketing strategy will not bring sales success if they don’t have the right marketing writer to help them implement it. This is your chance to step into the role you’ve been dying to play. Here’s what businesses say they look for in the ideal marketing writer candidate.
A business needs a marketing writer who wants to learn as much as possible about its purpose, message, and goals. A marketing writer by definition must also fully understand what marketing means today, and should be ready and willing to go the extra mile to understand the industry they will be writing for. It’s only with this knowledge that you’ll be able to create fresh, innovative content that supports a brand’s online marketing strategy.
Constructing sentences that make sense, proper spelling and grammar, and (while you’re at it) creativity all need to come together in one skilled package.
Ability to meet deadlines.
The Internet is a 24-hours a day beast that needs to be fed on a regular schedule. Missed deadlines are opportunities lost, never to be regained. Be prepared to work under pressure when necessary.
As long as there’s the Internet and businesses who want to use it to reach their audience, there will be a need for well-written content. If you’re interested in becoming a marketing writer, there’s never been a better time to give it a try and see if you have the “write” stuff.