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Why Writers are Good Marketers

Writers and marketers are constantly thinking about what they say, and how they say it. They are always considering what motivates their audience and how best to connect with them. Both skills require the same vein of thinking. Turning your marketing skills into writing skills (or your writing skills into marketing skills) just requires a little bit of practice and maybe an attitude adjustment (Yes, you can write! Yes, you can build a successful marketing campaign!)


Marketers and writers have a lot in common. And no, I don’t just mean because they both write. Sure, writers churn out books, poems, articles, and essays while marketers type away at headlines, catchy blurbs, website content, and blog posts—but writers and marketers have more in common than their constant content creation.


I started out in writing. Before I really learned to write, I’d put together “stories” by drawings pictures and scrawling a few misspelled words on the same page. In the third grade I wrote a comedic super hero series not-so-subtly influenced by Dave Pilkey’s Captain Underpants. In the fourth grade I thought I’d be a publisher, and in the fifth an author. When I turned fourteen, I finished my first full-length novel. Since then I’ve published a poem and a short story, and I’ve graduated with a degree in creative writing. Long story short, I live and breathe writing, and I have my entire life.


When I started at Targa Media (as a copywriter—surprise, surprise) I knew all about writing and basically nothing about marketing. I’ve been picking up marketing tips from the Targa team, reading marketing blogs and books (thanks Seth Godin,) attending marketing conferences, and basically learning all that I can, however I can. Guess what I’ve learned? If you can write, you’ve got some potential as a marketer. If you can market, you’ve got some potential as a writer. I’m not saying that you can pick up either skill overnight, but in either case a lot of the same rules apply.


Audience Is Everything


A product or service can be marketed a thousand different ways. There are millions of poems about love out there, and all of them say something just a little different. For writing and marketing, audience drives how you say what you say.


Creating a marketing campaign for hunting rifles is one thing if you’re targeting avid marksmen—it’s another if you’re targeting vegetarians with no shooting experience. For one, you would focus on the benefits of this gun over the others on the market, focusing in on all the little things that matter to an experienced gunman. For the other, maybe you focus on ease-of-use and less kickback. Rather than using imagery related to hunting, you focus on home security or recreational shooting ranges.


Writing an article about photosynthesis for grad students studying biology is going to look a lot different than an article about photosynthesis written for elementary school students. The first would discuss how chlorophylls use sunlight to turn carbon dioxide and water into glucose and oxygen. The second might provide only the basics: plants use the sun to make food.


Motivation, age, and education are important factors to consider for both marketers and writers. Creating a marketing campaign without an audience in mind will lead to a bland, overgeneralized marketing strategy that falls flat and doesn’t really appeal to anyone. Writing without considering your audience can hurt your authority (don’t address grad students like they’re sixth graders) or prevent your readers from understanding and connecting with your content (don’t address sixth graders like they’re grad students.)


Write Better. Market Better.


In marketing, the goal of a campaign is fairly standard. Increase awareness, increase purchases, increase followers, increase clients—in one way or another marketing serves to make a business more successful. Writing can serve many purposes—to entertain, to persuade, to inform.


If you are a marketer and you are looking to improve your writing, think of every blog post or essay as a marketing campaign. What features and benefits can you use to drive your point forward? Think of your outcome (check out our blog on outcomes HERE) as your thesis statement and your features and benefits as your supporting points. If you are a writer looking to become a better marketer—flip the metaphor. You’ll be creating marketing campaigns and collateral in no time.


This blog was first written for Targa Media Inc. and is published at targamedia.com

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