Copywriters and Journalists Need Not Apply


Flickr photo by Tony the Misfit

If copywriters are word experts who persuade people, and journalists report news, what purpose do bloggers serve?

The answer is community. Bloggers are writers (among others) who serve the needs and desires of their community. If you understand this simple and important idea, then keep writing.

Stop worrying about the need to write “copy” or press releases. Leave that to copywriters and journalists. Besides–they’ve been around long enough to know how to thrive.

Bloggers, on the other hand, are new. They represent the voice of the individual–you. Not you trying to sell me something or you reporting me something, but you as in You Are the Message.

Blogging is Community Intent

Unlike copywriters and journalists, a blogger’s intent is not the sales pitch or the news story–it’s our niche and the community we build around it. The content we write we feel passionate about. We try hard to make our work useful and helpful and entertaining to others.

We invite in the community and they in turn nurture us through personal interaction. These powerful connections are not earned through mere trigger words or catchy headlines, but rather through the authenticity and honesty of our voices. 

If the tribe grows, so does the blogger. If the blogger grows, it’s because of the tribe. Not so with copywriting or journalism.

Now Show Me the Money

The biggest challenge for any serious blogger is getting paid full-time. These days it’s much easier to get paid to be a copywriter or journalist because the markets they serve are well-established and defined.

The few probloggers who are making it all have a few things in common:

  • They don’t pretend to be anyone else but themselves.
  • They are generous and nurturing to their community.
  • They get to the core of what readers want.

The rest is marketing. Probloggers have learned through hard work how to build traffic and grow their personal brands. From these two assets, money flows.

Been There, Done That: Now Moving Forward

I’m a writer and editor. I’ve been a journalist and I’ve tried to be a copywriter. Neither suited me very well. Why not? Because my content didn’t stick. News stories were old the next day and copy only reigned in a customer, not a reader.

As a writer, the impression you want to make on your readers should be lasting by design. Copywriting and journalism leave little room for this. Blogging is the art of creating lasting impressions on an otherwise fleeting and transient audience.

When you blog, you have the freedom and opportunity to write from your heart and mind and have people intently listen to you. No need to sell out. Your readers appreciate you and you appreciate them. Just ask Chris Guillebeau, he’ll tell you all about this.

Build it, and they will come.

4 Replies

  1. Writer Dad Reply

    What a beautiful way to put it. I’ve yet to read Chris’s manifesto, but it’s on my short, short list.

  2. Charles Reply

    Thanks, Sean. Chris is a great example of someone who doesn’t need to behave like a marketer to have a market. I admire that. Less and less people want to hear a sales pitch these days, don’t you agree?

    By the way, I’ve noticed you’re quite ubiquitous on blogs these days — I commend you for your enterprise. I’m really trying myself, too!

  3. damon Reply

    I like this post… gonna have to throw some readers here.

    Sounds like what I’m attempting to do. To many people think I want to be a Journalist or something.

    I blog because I enjoy blogging… it’s relaxing, and hopefully in twenty years, I’ll have a good laugh at some of the crap I actually wrote!

  4. Chris Guillebeau Reply

    Thanks so much, Charles. This is great content and I really appreciate your endorsement.

    All the best,