As long as I can remember, I've wanted to be a writer. From the time I knew what a writer was, I've wanted to be one. In those long ago days when I wanted to be able to create the kind of adventures I loved reading, I believed that a real writer was a fiction writer.
Turns out that a lot of people felt that you weren't a legitimate writer unless you wrote fiction. Aside from the fact that journalists routinely win Pulitzer prizes and some of the best writing in our culture is nonfiction such as biography, essays and memoir, there has always been a hierarchy of writers with fiction writers at the top of the pyramid.
And business or corporate writing? That was considered beneath notice of "real" writers. It was commercial – as if selling novels, newspapers and magazines were not?
Thankfully this bias has mostly been eliminated, in part, because most of what we read as adults is nonfiction. Also the packages of writing are shifting. Books are evolving into eBooks. Magazines into eZines. Newspapers into websites. But there is also a new awareness that no matter where it occurs – in an essay or a direct mail piece, persuasive writing is real writing.
At its heart, all good writing is storytelling. We have been telling each other stories to make sense of our world since the dawn of time. So whether you call it corporate writing, persuasive writing, copywriting or content marketing, telling stories to persuade someone to a point of view is real writing.
To be successful content marketing must make what I call a heart connection. If you're sharing a case study, the reader needs to see themselves in that story for it to emotionally connect. If you're writing a direct mail piece, it only succeeds in being a call to action if the story is compelling to the reader.
One of the goals of content marketing is to build a community around whatever topic you're writing about. That requires all of the basics that a good novel requires such as authenticity, resonance and compelling storytelling.
After more than 25 years of writing everything from catalog copy to websites, white papers to direct mail campaigns, interviews to corporate biographies, I am finally comfortable calling myself a writer without apology and without a disclaimer.
And as a professional writer (one who gets paid for writing), I am proud to say that content marketing is real writing and I consider myself lucky to make my living this way.
Do you agree or disagree with my perspective? Leave a comment and let me know.