The truth about content marketing when you love to write

If you come from a writing background that believes that great writing is art, then we need to have a chat about content marketing.

You see, I am that guy: I love writing and I think it’s art, too. I wrote in little stories in grade school, have an English degree and admire Hemingway.

Ernest Hemingway typing at his desk outdoors.

Ernest Hemingway typing at his desk outdoors. Hmmph.

But alas, a novelist or poet I am not. I am a blogger and a content marketer.

If you too are a content marketer, let me tell you: you won’t get far in content marketing if you put writing on an aesthetic pedestal.

Just break down the term “content marketing” and you’ll see that content equals media and marketing equals persuasion. Content marketing is a business discipline which uses text, images and videos to persuade people to take an intended action.

Art is not content and it’s not persuasion. Art is art.

Can we agree on that? Good, now keep reading, because there is redemption.

How to keep writing and do content marketing and feel good about all of it

If you love to write and you think writing is art, but you’re also a content marketer, then what you first need to do is separate the two like you would a cat and a dog.

Then, just start writing. Lead with it. Write like the writer you are. Follow your heart and express your hopes and fears and bare your soul through your craft. Illuminate your world with words. Let it flow and be wonderful.

lion chases a hyena

Don’t mix these two animals.

Then, when you switch over to content marketer, put aside the sensitive writer — let it go back to its dreaming and scheming. You’ve just honored your inner artist and now it’s time to get down to business.

For me, the way to keep yourself honest as a content marketer is to use data analysis to measure the effectiveness of your content. Data is numbers-based, and numbers don’t lie or judge or discriminate.

With data, you’re not just throwing beautiful words out there for people to enjoy but you’re throwing beautiful words out there for people to enjoy and meet business goals.

That’s not to say you can’t let your writing shine through when you’re “creating content.” In fact, all the better if you can. Just keep in mind there are goals that need to be met, and data helps you stay sober.

Create a content-based product so you market it with other content

Create a content-based product so you market it with other content

Your writing as a product

If you’re an entrepreneur, you might consider making your writing into a product — perhaps a book or blog or an email newsletter.

As a writer, you get the privilege of keeping your work real and genuine and true to yourself. Then you can draw attention to your product with content marketing. This way, you get to be both writer and content marketer without bruising your inner artist or shaming your inner marketer.

You might even be able to influence lots of people and make a fortune, too.

Photo credits: photochild, Aaron Burden, retrobob15, beinecke_library

  • Heidi Wise

    Loved this! Well-written *and* persuasive. Home run!