Writing is an often overlooked and underappreciated skill, but it’s central to effective marketing. Whether you realize it or not, nearly everything you do in marketing involves writing. So how are marketing and writing connected? And how can business leaders become better writers?
Why writing is important for marketing
Here are four reasons why writers make good marketers. And why developing writing as a skill will make you a more effective marketing professional.
- Clear communication. It forces you to think about your audience and your core message.
- More compelling marketing. Writers keep things concise. They understand how to move people to action.
- Better content. Content is increasingly relevant in marketing. Writing is central to good content.
- Widely applicable. Nearly everything in marketing can be improved with better writing.
Where writing impacts marketing
These are just a few places in marketing where writing and marketing overlap. This shows why writing gives you a leg up in getting your job done.
- Website copy
- Blog posts & headlines
- Email subject lines & body copy
- Social media posts & bios
- Press releases
- Print collateral copy
- Messaging & brand strategies
- Client proposals
- Ebooks & white papers
- Speeches & presentations
- Ad headlines & copy
- Video scripts & descriptions
- Image captions
6 tips to be a better marketing writer
1. Start with the basics.
Don’t try to run until you can walk. (That’s a metaphor.) Begin with the simple stuff and build from there. Here are a few of the basics when it comes to writing.
- Use active voice, not passive.
- Be concise. Shorter sentences and paragraphs.
- Be clear. Don’t confuse people.
- Avoid adjectives and jargon.
- Don’t be boring. Find something interesting to say.
- Try out different kinds of writing to test yourself.
- It’s OK to repeat the important stuff.
- It’s OK to repeat the important stuff.
“Forget about being a ‘good’ writer. That’s subjective. You want to be an effective writer and accomplish what you set out to do.” —Jeff Goins, author & writing coach
2. Practice writing.
The best way to get better is repetition. The best way to get better is repetition. Build regular writing habits and get better over time.
- Aim to spend time writing daily.
- View this time as an investment in an important skill.
- Realize when you’re writing professionally.
- Be intentional about improving the quality.
- Contribute content to publications like industry blogs.
- Write personally—even if it’s about fun things to keep yourself interested.
“A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.” —Richard Bach, author & not Stephen King
3. Read effective writing.
Good writers read a lot. Immerse yourself in examples of writing. Here are a list of both good blogs and books that can make you a more effective writer.
Blogs to read:
Books to read:
- Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller
- This is Marketing by Seth Godin
- Everybody Writes by Ann Handley
- On Writing by Stephen King
- How To Write Copy That Sells by Ray Edwards
- Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott
- You Are A Writer by Jeff Goins
- The Copywriter’s Handbook by Robert Bly
“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” —Stephen King, On Writing
4. Learn how to edit.
Writing and editing are separate skills. Treat them accordingly.
- Take a break and revisit the writing later.
- Read the words out loud.
- This catches awkward phrases and mistakes.
- If you can remove a word without changing the meaning of a sentence, do it.
- Follow a style manual (like the Associated Press)
- Get someone else to proofread your writing.
- Find good people you can trust.
“The only kind of writing is rewriting.” —Ernest Hemingway, A Movable Feast
5. Take a writing course.
Be a student of writing. Learn from the experience of others. These are some of the most popular courses on writing available online—but this list is far from comprehensive.
- Malcolm Gladwell Teaches Writing (Masterclass)
- Content Marketing Certification (HubSpot)
- Leading to Write Marketing Copy (Lynda)
- The Strategy of Content Marketing (Coursera)
- Copyblogger Certification
- How to Write Copy That Sells (Udemy)
“Too many writers are trying to write with too shallow an education.” —James Kisner, Good Advice on Writing
6. Use online tools.
Automate some of the writing process with digital tools like these. There’s no shortcut to good writing, but there are certainly some tools that will make your job easier.
“Don’t waste time looking for a better pencil: learn to write better.” —Seth Godin
If you’re interested in learning more about marketing writing, here are a few more places to look.
- Why Is Writing Important in Marketing
- So, You Want to Be a Better Marketing Writer?
- 21 Ways to Write More Compelling Marketing Copy
- 7 Tips for Being a Better Writer, for Content Marketing
- 10 Reasons Why Marketers Need to be Excellent Writers
This content was originally shared as a discussion on one of our A Brighter Web meetups. Download this blog post as a presentation. And join us for our next monthly meetup to hear about another important digital marketing topic.