If there’s one thing lacking in most marketing departments, it’s good writers. The content marketing discipline is becoming ingrained in large and small businesses all over the world. Organisations who recruit and hire people with good writing skills are putting themselves in a position of competitive advantage. Here’s why.
Writing isn’t easy
Writers tend to be tortured souls on a quest for perfection. Perfect never comes. Even people born with a gift for prose are never entirely happy with the final result – of anything. (If you know of a writer truly happy with a piece of work, let me know. I’ve given up on seeing a unicorn but a writer basking in the glory of their own efforts would be a good consolation prize.) If you’re not a natural writer but have to write, chances are agony is your constant companion.
Google is searching for humanity
Every change Google makes to their algorithm is driven by an overarching goal to provide better search results to their users. They insist high-quality, original content is the fastest path to achieving organic search results. Business is now faced with the task of consistently publishing content to stay in favour with Google or make a big AdWords spend.
Customers are attracted to content-driven experiences
In Experiences: The 7th Era of Marketing, Robert Rose and Carla Johnson outline the monumental shift in how people are making purchasing decisions. But it’s not just how they’re making decisions that’s changed; what they value is also changing. Companies who provide content-driven experiences are winning customer mindshare because customers prefer a good experience more than a relationship with a brand. If you want to create content-driven experiences, you need good writing skills on your team.
Cultivate in-house writing skills
If you’re a marketing manager, having people on your team who can write is a massive advantage. It puts you in a position to publish more frequently. It’s more cost-effective to have your team producing content than it is to be outsourcing everything. If everyone from the marketing assistant through to executive management can write a serviceable blog post or produce an engaging video script, imagine how much more you can accomplish.
Tips for finding writers
If you’re hiring people for your marketing team, there are things you can do to determine whether they have decent writing skills.
- Ask for writing samples as part of the application process. Find out where they’ve been published and ask to see links of work published online.
- Give them an assignment that’s relevant to your business. If you’re at the interview stage, ask them to write a typical piece of content for your business like a blog post, an email newsletter or something else you publish frequently. Give them a copy brief containing the following:
- Keywords required
- Call to action
- Links to articles/sites you want referenced in the piece
- Date the article is due
Take writing skills into consideration when weighing up each candidate. Have they produced a publishable piece of writing? Were they able to follow a copy brief? Did they get the work produced on time?
Having good writers on your team gives you the ability to create content-rich experiences for your customers and prospects quicker and at a lower cost than if you have to outsource all your writing. As we move into the experience era of marketing, businesses communicating well have competitive advantage. Don’t forget, great video starts with a good script so writing skills are important for the visual arts, as well.
Recruit for writing skills and you’re already on a winning ticket.
Improving your in-house writing skills
Your team is probably already writing, even if they’re not communicating as effectively as you would like. Instead of prolonging the agony, why not get them the training they need to write more effective copy and produce results Google will reward? Our Building Writing Champions workshop is designed for people who already know how to write but want to do it better and be more effective in digital publishing. It’s a practical choice for staff development days because all the exercises are based on your own content.
Here’s what a recent attendee said,
“Thanks so much for delivering one of the best staff training workshops that I’ve attended in a long, long time.
“Our staff is equally fired up and feeling so excited, informed and confident about working on their own writing and editing the work of others. Your session was practical, respectful, motivating and entertaining and now better still, you’ve given us a fresh bunch of bolshy ‘Writing Champions.’
“Sadly the people who didn’t attend are feeling they really missed out…mission accomplished, again!” – Emma Tyrie, Marketing & Communications Coordinator at CommunityWest.
Writing is a skill everyone on your marketing team should possess. If they’re not confident writers or they need to improve the effectiveness of their writing, send them to a course or treat your whole team to a hands-on workshop. Once you get everyone on your team writing with confidence, you’ll be amazed at how much better and more cost-effective your marketing efforts become.
Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions.
By Sarah Mitchell