Tired and staring at a bottleneck on my schedule, I was enticed by voices in my head.
They’re lulling me with a weekend of no writing, no schedule checks, no messages, no checklist. They whisper in my ear ‘Stop. Don’t check. Let it be. You don’t have to write today.‘ The voice was angel-like, prospecting me with a day of no head-wrecking.
I’ve made a pact with myself, you see, that no matter how busy I got, I would sit down here and write for myself. Not for a client, not a magazine, and not for another blog. My blog. My thoughts, as random and intrusive as they can sometimes be.
Why the Writing Reboot
I am a writer and the moment I neglect writing for myself, I am not taking myself seriously. Writing is like art. The moment you stop writing, the passion grinds to a halt and before you know it, a brick wall has erected itself between you and your future.
While creative writing is an art, content writing for marketing, SEO, branding, and social media is a different ball game. It’s about communicating with potential customers. Serious content marketers are serious about helping their clients reach the right people with the right content at the right time. It’s an art.
Serious marketers also know that saving himself/herself is just as serious a matter as saving others. Before you put the oxygen mask on others, put yours on first.
You might want to have a look at the structure adopted by some of the most progressive, aggressive and successful companies out there today. This article, on the other hand, has a list of things you should do if you’re trying to build a newsletter list.
Google prides itself in holding fast onto its 20% Time Project. The idea is to have employees spend 20% of their time expanding on their own ideas, dig deeper into their thoughts, and pursue their own passion projects that might yield desired changes.
The policy led to industry-changing ideas like Gmail, AdSense, Google Suggest, AutoComplete any many more. As you can see, these are major profit-generating engines for Google. Whether the 20% policy is dead or alive, read this article and judge for yourself.
Sticks and Stones May Break My Bone…
…but words are going to build me. Yes, I hear you when you tell me nothing is more important than that greenback flowing into my account and happy clients, of course.
Despite my supposedly free-flow schedule, freelance content writers like me need structure. Without it, we’ll implode.
Sometimes I forget to change my clothes for days. Sometimes I have no breakfast and cold coffee. Sometimes it’s 3:00 p.m. and I’ve forgotten to each lunch, so I eat chips because I’m in the middle of a project– Kim Clark, CopyBlogger
If I don’t spend time on myself, how am I supposed to effectively spend time on my clients?
I Write for Passion, Effect, and Because I Can
Not every single piece of article I write has to resonate with everyone but I find it fulfilling to put my word out there. The same way groups of people geek out at Kpop, The Avengers, manga, apps, cosplay, antique furniture, computer games and software, writers flock towards the geeky world of words whenever we can.
We’ll pore over finding and writing the right content for a website or blog, structure, language, spelling, choice of words, and then we can become quite the horrid grammar Nazi that we can be. Every misplaced comma and colon will get the side-eye.
Everybody sees content on the internet in a way that relates to them, whether it is an ad, blog post, Instagram picture, or a multi-million dollar Hollywood movie. What comes out in words and pictures translates into stories for the reader or viewer.
We must practice putting the narrative in our minds into words. If you’re passionate about poetry, once you stop putting your thoughts into words that resonate with readers, it may become a passive obsession.
Writing is also both addictive and much like an itch. Unlike many other professions, writers belong to a category of people who like what they do. They may not be completely proud of themselves all the time but they love doing it. There are good days and bad.
You don’t want your bad days to outnumber your good ones. I hate to admit this but sometimes, writing the headline makes me want to run for the hills. But understanding what makes a killer headline helps!
Honing the Skills of Jedi-Level Communication
I love writing for a living because it makes me dig deep into wells I never thought I was interested in. It keeps me alert about life outside of my own bubble of thoughts and pushes my boundaries. Every new writing or branding project expands my world.
Passionate writers will always want to reach out to others who are of like mind, close the gap between groups of people with different thought patterns, or provide insightful opinions. If I spend time reflecting, writing, optimizing, branding, and promoting myself, imagine how far I will go for my clients.
That’s the reason people read thought-provoking books, blogs and websites instead of an Encyclopedia or Dictionary. Perspective.
Content Marketing is Harder than Just Blogging
Amid saving and transferring my old articles from my Google Drive account into my thumb drive, I noticed the transformative change in style and direction.
It has become more strategic, straight-forward, personal, and contains more key points.
I also realized how big a circle we’ve come in content marketing just by looking through the articles. 10 years ago, it was a matter of publishing ‘something’ (or just a short news piece or blog update).
Today, content writers often start with a problem or desire.
We journey through what stands in the way of finding the solution. It sounds like a story because that’s what content writing has become – storytelling.
The New Content Formula
The exercise showed me how much content marketing has changed in the last, I don’t know, 20 years?
Where a 400-word simple update was enough before, now it’s all about 1,200-word articles with inbound links, outbound links, tagged images, quotes, and Instagram embeds, et al.
The content is also pretty much structured without the readers’ knowledge. It’s mapped, not random. It includes:
- Sharing of ideas, worldview, passion, and relatable experiences
- Ideas, an adventurous journey toward finding kick-ass solutions
- Pushing through the resistance – price too high, not the right package, timing is off, or the wrong person/product
- A helping hand – giving another perspective and encouraging ‘I get you, I was there too‘
- Hand-in-hand – the journey should not end at the end of the article or purchase point. It continues
- Loyalty and brotherhood – will you be back? The journey is not over at the end of the transaction
The old phase of article marketing is over. I don’t see the divorced tactic ever making a comeback.
To a content marketer, what this demands of us are extra hours spent honing our skills, developing strategic ways to mine data, and constantly upgrading our skills so that we can continue to think in between writing spurts. We must be able to see the goal looming beyond the deadline while pounding our thoughts out on the keyboard.
Delivering the Human Experience Through Content
Every voice represents an experience. If you have a voice/platform and you’re capable of writing about and sharing it, there are more reasons for you to do it now than ever before.
This conforms to the principle of connecting with others of like-mind through relatable content. A study found that when negotiating, people who share commonness have a 90% success rate as compared to the 55% success rate achieved by people who are connected by nothing but money.
We’ve reached a stage of content marketing that direly needs humans writing like humans. If software or artificial intelligence can replace your writing, your job is over.
I am convinced that if I continue honing my skills, a robot will never overtake me. Not unless it can describe in its full-blown glory the frustration I feel when someone honks at me in traffic gridlock. Only a human being can fully court the approval of another human and this article on the principle of persuasion showcases this.
I also encourage you to read about the impossibility of copying human work culture (in this case, company culture) in this article 10 Principles of Organizational Culture.
The experience and ability to convey human thoughts is what makes a robot different from a professional human writer who has developed a personal or community work culture, the commitment to developing techniques and, a passion for writing.
And I refuse to give up my spot as an effective content writer and marketer to a robot. That’s why I write.