Writers Aren’t Wired for Marketing

I don’t know about you, but I love words.

I love poetry and literature and great letters. I loved being an English major in college. And I’ve always considered myself a writer and editor before anything else. It’s been that way long before the internet existed.

But I also love the times we’re in, when an average person like me can make an extremely lucrative living on the web from this thing called “content.”

You gotta problem with content?

As it pertains to making a living online, content is the stuff you need to get people hooked on your site so you can sell them things.

In most cases, content is nothing more than written words—articles, blog posts, ebooks, reports, etc.

Here’s the problem: because I value the quality and craft of writing , it’s agonizing to see content being manufactured and treated as a purely exchange commodity.

Writing is supposed to be beautiful and powerful and honest, but let’s be honest—it’s not totally that way on the web. The people making money writing are not writers. They’re not editors or publishers, either. They’re marketers.

The pervading atmosphere on the web is that people can (and are!) making loads of money off of crap content. They’re also making money teaching people how to make loads of money off of crap content.

To me there’s something fundamentally wrong with this. Just because the industry of newspapers and magazines and books are in trouble doesn’t mean great writing and content should crash and burn with it.

But let’s face it—content sells. Words sell.

We therefore must sell.

I’ve said this before. If you look at the “celebrities” now on the web you’ll discover they’re all marketing genuises. They’ve done well for themselves because they pioneered ways to make money online by leveraging content that’s good enough to make the sale. I say not nearly good enough.

Herein lies the lesson and opportunity to all you true writers out there: there’s multi-billion dollar industry that has yet to blossom. And it’s open to all the writers, editors and publishers who are willing to listen and learn from marketers who “get it.”

What I’ve done is start paying selective attention to successful marketers. I’m taking time to learn about things like traffic, conversions, list building, landing pages, SEO, viral marketing and social media.

Writers need a hero badly

We need a hero. Someone to boldly step forward and start making lucrative web business out of superb writing and editing. Not just money making with good enough crap.

We need a renaissance of publishers akin to the newspaper tycoons of yesteryear—those pioneers who made a booming business out of content that actually mattered.

Marketers cleared the brush and it’s time for writers to move in on the fresh territory. It’s not that far off, and the time to strike is now.

Photo by Alaskan Dude.