Recently I noticed something kinda weird.
I realised that a lot of smart business people often tell me:
“I’m not really a writer”.
They’re all lying.
I’ve heard it from consultants who help their clients make more sales with things like email automation, or other marketing tools relying heavily on the written word.
I’ve heard it from Facebook ad experts who figure that, since they’re not writing long sales copy, they’re not really ‘writing’…
I’ve heard it from entrepreneurs who rely on their speaking skills – stand-up comics, podcast hosts and YouTube presenters.
I’ve even heard it from smart biz-owners who – either because they’re great all-rounders or they’re on a tight budget – take charge of their own sales copy.
Again and again, in person or over email:
“I’m not really a writer.”
They’re wrong, but I get it…
To me, the statement “I’m a writer” always sounded like it should only be uttered by someone in full Hemingway / Dorothy Parker mode, highball in one hand while the other hand lazily cuffs at their typewriter carriage.
Intentionally or not, it’s a phrase weighty with pretension. I’ll admit it took me a lot of
drinks time before I felt comfortable saying it to girls at parties people.
So on some level at least, I understand this reluctance to fess up to scribbling skills…
But if you do any kind of marketing for your biz, you’re a writer, like it or not.
From shaping case studies to tweaking Google Ads, from emailed client negotiations to fielding customer enquiries – if you use language to connect your brand with your audience, you’re a writer.
If you ever created a script – even an outline – for a presentation or talk you gave (online or off), you’re a writer.
Writing doesn’t mean using perfect grammar and elegant language to seduce your reader. Sure, the right turn of phrase at the right moment can increase impact…
But in business, originality (aka: having your own point of view) is more important to how you write. As is storytelling.
Did you tell someone a story about something funny or annoying that happened to you in the past week?
I’ll bet you did.
Even if it never made it onto a webpage or a Google Doc, at that moment you were writing (bonus points if you had a drink in your hand).
Storytelling is something that comes easily to lots of folks who may not consider themselves ‘natural writers’…
Yet they’re tapping into the same instinctive process writers use:
The ability to communicate with a ‘sticky’ structure that increases the impact on the listener/reader.
Stories still hold our attention like nothing else…
That’s why story-driven podcasts like Serial and The Moth are so popular, and why long-form TV series are more successful than ever.
As a biz-owner, you can use your inherent storytelling skills at various points in your messaging to better connect with your ideal customers…
From onboarding emails to About pages, explainer videos to FAQ sections, successful business messaging isn’t about what’s linguistically brilliant, but about what’s distinctive and memorable.
If you’ve been around the block in your niche, and have something you can teach your clients and customers, write about it…
Bash a draft out and don’t worry about how it ‘sounds’ while you’re writing. You can fix it up later or get a pro to edit it.
If you’re explaining a tricky or technical concept, try explaining it like you would to a school-kid, with images, similes (“it’s like…”) and clear examples.
Write how you talk – anyone can talk about what they do, and it’s easier to sense if you’re muddying the waters in conversation than when you’re writing.
Nobody else knows your business quite like you do. It doesn’t matter if you slept through English class or flunked school completely…
If you have passion for your subject, you have what it takes to captivate at least some of your audience. No ‘real writer’ chops required. (Highball optional.)
Selling Unique is about making YOUR distinct mark on the world, and communicating it to those you’re best able to help.
There are people out there who want to hear about the way YOU see the world.
What will you tell them?
(btw, if you want to give writing for your biz a shot but don’t know what content will get your ideal audience salivating, here’s a process that can help.)