Content marketing is a fluid concept. A mere five years ago, it was all about email nurture campaigns, gated content, lead generation and triggered programming — lots of e-books, white papers and lists. These things are still part of content marketing, but so are social gifs, videos, blogs, interactive graphics, hubs and microsites, and even one-to-one assets targeted to specific buyers in high-level ABM campaigns.
One thing that hasn’t changed is the need for effectively written copy. Here’s my definition of what effectively written copy does:
- Tells a story
- Simplifies complexity
- Communicates key messages
- Is seamlessly absorbed
Unfortunately, good writing skills are hard to find, and they are going to become scarcer as society and schools place more emphasis on STEM.
Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon recently commented on this during a discussion about hard-to-find skills while speaking at Hamilton College in Clinton, NY.
“I’ll tell you one thing that we’re finding less and less inside the firm that I think is an important skill set, but actually we find it from students that come from Hamilton or other liberal arts backgrounds, is an ability to write.”
This is another area where I have witnessed change in content marketing: Our clients are coming to us with content needs outside of traditional B2B content, and one reason is because writing for all types of business communication is time consuming, difficult and ineffective if you aren’t an experienced writer.
Beyond Traditional Content
People often ask about our writers. Our in-house content strategist team writes a lot of the content we produce, and we have a small database of highly vetted and experienced B2B writers with topic-specific knowledge. We choose writers with experience writing about complex, technical topics within common content formats. That mix of skills is tough to find, but it is essential for effective content.
I believe our writing resources are one of the reasons our clients have started asking for our help on non-traditional content, such as client-facing presentations and proposal templates. They are realizing that carrying a cohesive, consistent and skillfully crafted message throughout all communication maximizes opportunity with every touch, and often they lack internal skills to do this or need to augment their internal skills.
Another reason our clients cite for using us is to bring in an outside view, and this applies to writing as well as strategy and creativity. Internal jargon, slogans and tech-speak can creep into writing when you hear it over and over again. Sometimes someone with a fresh perspective can deliver brighter and more human writing.
Clear Writing Is Clear Thinking
Good writers are naturally good at analyzing lots of material and transforming it into a structured statement with purpose, clarity and authority. As products and services grow more complex and mature, all types of business functions will need access to this ability in order to communicate to internal and external audiences.
In closing I’ll quote Jason Fried, founder of Basecamp, from his book, Rework:
“A good writer is about more than writing clear writing. Clear writing is a sign of clear thinking. Great writers know how to communicate. They make things easy to understand. They can put themselves in someone else’s shoes. They know what to omit. And those are qualities you want in any [job] candidate. Writing is making a comeback all over our society… Writing is today’s currency for good ideas.”
Need outstanding professional writing to make your next campaign shine? We can help. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a time to chat. Also check out our previous post about Breaking Down the Modern Content Marketing Dream Team to review the roles of a successful marketing team.