Walk Down Your Marketing Writer’s Content Buffet

This post was written by John White on Thu, 14 Oct 2010 08:27:11 +0000
Posted Under: marketing communications writer,marketing manager,rapport with writer,tell your story

What else does your marketing communication writer write? You can learn plenty from it.

browsing for books at The StrandYour Content Buffet is the smorgasbord of content you use to tell your organization’s story: case studies, white papers, newsletter content, blog posts, technical overviews, brochures and so forth.

Consider that your marketing communication writers have their own Content Buffet. You value your writers for their ability to describe your top-of-class spar varnish or 35-micron integrated circuits, but scratch a little deeper and see what else they write, and for whom. Their portfolio is their Content Buffet, and you should take a walk down it.

Some writers are frustrated novelists; some are just good at writing in a variety of ways. Some – I’m not naming any names – need to write other kinds of content because if they wrote about your stuff day in and day out, they’d go batty. Just sayin’.

Three things to keep in mind about your marketing writer’s Content Buffet:

  1. They work in other industries besides yours. I’m still wary of people who claim they can write anything (Oh, yeah? How well?), but good writers attract clients in different verticals. The clients realize that it’s more important to hire a good writer than to hire somebody who knows their business. You may find valuable overlap (read: connections) to other industries in your writer’s portfolio.
  2. They’re competent in other formats besides the ones they deliver to you. They do blog posts for you, but they do white papers for other clients; does it surprise you that they can work in both formats? You can broaden your own Content Buffet from your customary data sheets and brochures into a library of pieces that tell your story more compellingly.
  3. They build other kinds of sentences besides the ones you use. (They may even use humor.) What does their work look like when they’re not cramming your SEO keywords into every paragraph? John Yunker, a well-known writer in the field of translation/localization, has a night job in creative writing. You wouldn’t know it to read his posts on multi-language service providers, but his novel, The Tourist Trail, is about penguin colonies in Argentina. Wise are the marketing managers who can harness that diversity of writing style for use in telling their own organization’s story.

My experience is that marketing managers know too little about their marketing communication writers. It’s not difficult to tour their portfolio for a profitable look at the variety inside, and start using it to the organization’s advantage.

How well do you know your writers?

John White of venTAJA Marketing is a marketing communications writer for technology companies. He posts about technology writing from the perspective of the marketing manager. It’s dirty work, but somebody has to do it. Download his eBook, “10 Questions to Ask When Hiring Your Marketing Communications Writer.”

photo credit: Karen Blumberg

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