How to Transition Your Creative Writing Degree into a Content Marketing Job
There is a big push for content creators as the popularity of inbound marketing grows. According to a recent study by Moz, the number of content marketing job opportunities has grown nearly 350% since 2011. With such a surge, creative writers and English majors are finding new homes in the marketing world. But, in order to become a successful content writer, it’s important to know which creative skills transfer over and which new concepts need to be learned.[bctt tweet="#ContentMarketing jobs have grown 350% since 2011, says @RspnsvInbndMktg"] Content marketing opportunities are growing, and they make great jobs for creative writers. As someone who has made this transition, I have discovered the most useful creative tactics and how to apply them, and I have also learned which aspects of my writing to leave behind. There are things in your creative writing background that will help you move forward in this new industry, but knowing how touse them is a key component to becoming a success. For a point of reference, here are the things you need to know about content marketing jobs when you’re trained in creative writing:[bctt tweet="How to Turn Your Creative Writing or English Degree into a #Marketing Job, from @RspnsvInbndMktg"]
Adopting your writing style:
In creative writing, your voice is what makes you unique. It has the ability to elevate your story to the next level and the great part about it is it’s all your own. This can pose a problem for you as you make the switch into marketing. As you start writing for a company, you’re going to have to take on their brand voice. For someone who isn’t used to this, it might be disheartening or confusing, but there are ways to find a happy medium between your form and theirs.
Always keep in mind that you have been hired because you are a good writer. When you have to mimic your company’s writing style, you can still find places to insert your own voice. The style and brand messaging might be theirs, but the word choice is yours. Sure, there are going to be a few predetermined keywords that you’ll have to use, but ultimately you will be able to use your own vocabulary to explain topics. Don’t be daunted by the idea of using someone else’s writing style because you’re voice will still be present.[bctt tweet="Find ways to write on-brand while exercising your own voice, says @RspnsvInbndMktg"]
If you’re struggling to adapt their form, there are two things you should do. Number one, you should make a point to discuss the specifics of what they’re looking for. Ask your supervisor what type of flow they want. Some companies like to use a lot of commas while others like short sentences. Also make sure you ask about the explanations you must give. Maybe they want straightforward descriptions or maybe they want a creative approach to them. You can’t be sure unless you ask. Number two, read as much of their past content as possible. If you read enough of it you will naturally start adapting to fit your new company’s standards.
Leveraging your research strengths:
You’re used to writing for a variety of plots, so research is your strength as a creative writer. This will help you when you have to write about a topic that you know very little about. There will be instances in which you will be asked to write about something you may never have heard of. I didn’t know the complicated realities of adapting new technologies for salespeople until I became a content marketer. When I write for a company, I have to constantly research the different aspects of their industry in order to develop a well-rounded piece.
The best way to do this is to begin by researching the company and content topic. Then, when you start creating content, move on to learning more about the business sector the company is in. When you write a book, the research phase is a huge part of the pre-production process, but when you’re writing for content marketing you always want to be researching because each new topic will reveal another aspect of the industry that you might not know existed.[bctt tweet="#ContentWriters need to do constant #research, says @RspnsvInbndMktg"]
Another reason you’re researching strengths will come in handy is because you’ll be able to recognize which aspects of the industry are important to touch upon as well as how much information you’re going to need to create productive content. This is important because you might expected to come up with topics of your own and, in order to do this, you’ll need some background in what you’re talking about so that it can effectively solve a buyer’s problem. When it comes to research for content development, there are some small differences, but creative writing has given you the skills you need to be successful.
Writing a story means writing from the perspective of different characters whom you've come to understand the ins and outs of. Content marketing has a similar aspect to it. You have to write from a myriad of perspectives in order to attract customers. Therefore, to draw an audience that is looking for a specific solution, your empathy needs to be apparent.[bctt tweet="To solve a customer's pain points, you need to have #empathy, says @RspnsvInbndMktg"]
This is one of the most important parts of content marketing, and it works in your favor that your creative writing background has trained you in this. Using this skill, try to embody the perspectives of both your audience and your company. Keep in mind—you’re promoting something, but you’re also looking to provide a solution for someone so that they see the value of your product.
When you write content, you should start by catering towards the audience. Prove to them that you understand the frustrations they’re dealing with. Show them you recognize their specific problem and how you hate it as well. Then, when it’s time to provide a solution, write from the perspective of the brand, because ultimately they’re the ones providing the solution even if you’re writing it.
Remember—timing is everything:
Consistently publishing new content is a very different concept than creating long, perfected pieces of creative work, but it’s an adjustment I found easy to make because creative writers already have the most important skills that content marketing requires. Research, story development, and editing are three skills that take up the most time in creative writing, but the effort you’ve devoted to mastering them has ensured that you'll be able to transition into the fast-paced world of marketing.[bctt tweet="#CreativeWriters have the critical skills that #contentmarketing requires—@RspnsvInbndMktg"]
There is going to be an adjustment period. The first few pieces of content you produce are going to take longer than you would like, but that’s okay. Give yourself two weeks to get used to the process. If the two weeks are up and you still don’t feel like you’re writing fast enough or maybe your content is suffering from the lack of attention you’re giving it, then you might have to make some adjustments. Try researching as you write instead of researching a topic and then writing it. Stop every few paragraphs to do some editing so that you don’t have to deal with writing multiple drafts. Keep your content direct and precise so that you don’t get lost in the language. All of this should increase your pace while allowing you to maintain high performance.[bctt tweet="Increase your rate of #content production by keeping it direct + precise, says @RspnsvInbndMktg"]
It can be difficult to transition into a new field. Just because you’re a writer doesn’t mean you know how to write for every industry, but it does mean you have the background to quickly develop the skills you’re missing. When you go from creative writing to content marketing, there are going to be some disconnects, but ultimately your background gives you the ability to learn and succeed.
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