This is what I like to call an educational rant. Please share with anyone who thinks they can write their own content. My hope is that this post will help them see the folly of their thinking before it costs them too much money.
It amazes me how often a prospective client will say “I could write my own content, but…” at the outset of our first conversation. And it seems to be happening more and more.
For some people, this is their way of angling for a lower price by trying to devalue what I do.
Let’s get this one out of the way first. That doesn’t work. Ever.
If you want content for $5, the door to Craigslist is on your right. Elance is on your left.
Others who say they could write their own content are more innocent about it. They believe that because they’re knowledgeable and passionate about their company, product and industry – and they know how to type – that they’re perfectly qualified to write marketing content.
They say, “I could write my own content, but I just don’t have the time.”
Here are the flaws with this logic.
If you don’t have time to write your own content, you can’t write your own content.
To do so would take you away from core business functions. Is your time better spent on sales calls and servicing customers or writing content?
If you spend five hours writing a blog post, how much would that lost time cost you in terms of sales and customer service? Probably far more than the cost to hire a professional to write the blog.
And do it better. In half the time.
In this case, writing your own marketing content would be a bad business decision.
Another thing I’ve noticed is that content is the last part of a marketing project that most business owners are willing to outsource.
They recognize the specialized talent or technology that a designer, developer or printer brings to the table. But content is one thing they can do themselves.
Again, all it takes is knowledge and the ability to type.
Until they start trying to figure out what to say. After the project stalls for six months, I’m contacted by the frazzled business owner, usually at the behest of the designer or developer who’s desperate for progress.
“I could write my own content, but I just don’t know what to say.”
Umm, if you don’t know what to say, you can’t write your own content.
Writing marketing content requires more than writing ability.
You need to know how to develop a goal-driven content strategy before you write the content. Otherwise, the words won’t come. Or make sense.
I’ve said repeatedly that a good content writer’s heavy lifting is done before any writing happens. Without sound marketing strategy and research behind the words, your content may sound nice – if you’re able to get something written – but it won’t make you money.
Finally, a word to those who believe they can write their own content because, in their mind, they’re oozing with writing talent.
I don’t care if you wrote for your high school or college newspaper, aced your book reports, and went to the Young Authors Conference every year.
I don’t care if you’re a grammar master and know the difference between their, there and they’re.
I don’t care if you wrote the content for your Facebook business page or Linkedin profile.
I don’t care if you’ve been writing your company newsletter for 20 years.
Overestimating your writing talent is a dangerous thing.
The ability to write content and write content well are crazy different. When it comes to your company’s marketing, it could mean the difference between profitability and a colossal waste of time and resources.
So when it’s time to update your website, develop a brochure, send out a press release, or publish a company blog or newsletter, and you start saying to yourself, “I could write my own content,” do yourself a favor.
And so endeth the educational rant.
I’m a content writer, marketing consultant, lifelong New Jersey resident, husband to a beautiful wife and father to two beautiful girls. I love playing with my daughters, a day at the boardwalk, sarcasm, craft beer and grilling. I despise beating around the bush, synchronized swimming, Toddlers & Tiaras and onions. Most people don’t know I used to be a radio DJ and once wrote, produced and voiced a commercial for the TV show 24. Two places I want to visit before I die are Ireland and Norway, the homes of my ancestors. One place I never want to revisit is my first apartment because my creepy landlord, Monty, freaked me out. That just about covers it.