Writing Is Selling: Why Content Creation Is Worth the Time

April 5, 2012

“My employees don’t have time to blog and play on social media. They need to be selling.” Maybe you’ve heard this from coworkers or clients. Or perhaps you’ve even said it yourself. It’s OK. It’s a frequently heard concern as marketers struggle with new methods and media for generating leads and customers. 

I’m guilty of this too. As I work to balance blogging for business with the business of finding new clients, it’s a very real issue. As such I often write on my own personal time — which can be exhausting both for me and my family. However a recent interaction similar to the one above led me to a realization. Writing is not something extra I do instead of selling. Writing is how I sell. It came to me as clearly as Rip Torn dramatically asserts in one of my favorite movies, Wonder Boys.

Thinking of yourself as a writer is often the first step. The second, is understanding the role that creating expert content plays in your business. Some people cold call — the personal sales version of outbound marketing or simply interruptions — while others have come to another realization. They’ve discovered what Million Dollar Consultant Alan Weiss calls marketing gravity or inbound marketing. Flipping the funnel the other way and creating compelling content that draws prospects to you to solve their problems. This helps them build trust with you and your brand.

In the service business (or the idea business) content creation isn’t some extra, feel-good thing. It’s absolutely critical. As John Morgan notes in Brand Against the Machine, models like this “beat the heck out of selling.” While it’s important to establish, as Rip Torn’s character did, that you are a writer it’s also important to take that a step further and value your writing and your creative time spent building content as selling. Writing doesn’t compete with selling — it is selling.

There in lies your choice. You can either create marketing gravity and draw people to you or you can cold call and knock doors, interrupting people.

I’ve made my decision: “I … am a writer.” Are you?

Photo via Flickr user termie

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is a strategist, speaker, educator, and author of Brand Now: How to Stand Out in a Crowded, Distracted World and Get Scrappy: Smarter Digital Marketing for Businesses Big and Small. He is the Chief Brand Strategist at Brand Driven Digital, an educator at the University of Iowa, and host of the On Brand podcast. More about Nick.