If you know me at all, you know that I do a lot of writing. A lot.
I write content that is published widely on industry publications, because I consider it to be extremely important both personally and professionally. Content writing isn’t just something that I do on the side. It is a core component of what I preach and practice every day of my life. Content is that important.
As an entrepreneur and a content marketer, I recommend that you write your own content. I understand that there are many objections, but all these objections can easily be overcome. What I want to explain in this article are several of the reasons that I write my own content, and why I think you should do the same.
1) You are the only one who can express your own voice.
Your voice is an important part of creating and sustaining a brand or service. No one else on the planet, not even your mom, can have the exact voice that you have. A writer’s voice is one of a kind. It’s like a fingerprint -- unique to you and only you.
So you want to create content, you need a voice. What kinds of voices are there?
- Every possible combination of these
A voice is like a personality. It has facets and features that only you can express. No one else has the same personality that you do. In the same way, no one else can adopt the exact same voice as you do.
When you are first starting out in content creation, I recommend that you make the effort to cultivate your voice and develop an identity. You will then attract the audience that is suited to your content, your product, and your service.
As an entrepreneur, I’ve been able to develop a voice that attracts other entrepreneurs. I can speak the language, share the challenges, and identify with the concerns of other entrepreneurs. By developing a voice, I’ve been able to develop a following. And that has made all the difference in the world.
2) Your brand needs to be authentic.
Even if they're writing for a company, every entrepreneur, innovator, marketer, or business leader needs to view themselves as a brand, too.
Everything about you affects your brand -- your pictures, your citations, your tweets, your content, your followers, etc. All of these shape how people view and respond to you as an individual.
As I discuss in my "Complete Guide to Building Your Personal Brand," writing content is incredibly important to building a brand. You can’t have a brand unless you have a presence. And you can’t have a presence unless you’re writing about your industry.
To take this a step further, you need to take on the responsibility for developing this brand. Although you may entertain the idea of hiring a ghostwriter, your first forays into content marketing should have your authentic, personal voice -- that's how you're going to connect with your audience, after all.
Branding relies on content -- and that content is up to you.
3) You need the experience of speaking directly to your audience.
The value of writing your own content runs in two directions. First, writing content delivers value to your audience. They hear you, understand you, and respond to you. Second, writing content delivers value to you as the producer of that content. You are learning -- informing yourself about what your audience needs.
To write is to learn. When I research issues and share my viewpoints, I’m learning, too. What this does is gives me a deep understanding of my audience. Nothing that I write will be effective unless it speaks directly to the needs and challenges of the readers. In order to understand those needs and challenges, I need to be writing and researching.
My goal, in every piece of content that I write, is to address my readers directly and personally. I’m passionate about helping others grow their knowledge, solve their problems, and achieve their goals. If my content has any impact, it’s because I’m striving to speak directly to my audience.
4) You need the experience of responding to your audience.
Not only do I speak directly to my audience, but I also respond to them.
You’ll notice that when readers comment on my blog, I try to respond. I may not be able to answer every single question in depth, but I read and acknowledge what people are saying.
I read every email I receive. I listen, and respond.
Content marketing is not just about broadcasting information -- it's also about receiving feedback. Content is simply a way of starting a conversation. Once I start conversations, I have a responsibility to follow up with them. And often, from these conversations, new content is created.
I love this part of content marketing -- the interaction! But I couldn’t do any of this if I weren’t writing the content.
5) You need to stay current with trends and issues in your niche.
Sometimes, business leaders become completely detached from their niche. They become so preoccupied with running the business that they lose touch with what the whole environment in which their business operates.
I understand how this can be the case. Running a business -- let alone two businesses -- is a massively time-consuming endeavor. But businesses don’t operate in a vacuum of growth trajectories, revenue, and ROI. Businesses exist within a milieu of trends, changes, innovations, disruptions, and motion.
The moment I become unplugged from that environment is the moment I begin a downward spiral. I need to stay abreast of the facts and issues.
How do I do that? By writing my content. Writing is by far the most valuable way to stay current with the trends and issues in my niche. Not only do I get to stay personally informed, but I also get to inform others. Plus, I get to develop thought leadership on those issues.
The culminating effect of learning and writing is this: I don’t just respond to the vicissitudes of my industry; I help shape them.
6) You need to learn the practice of content marketing.
We live in an age that is defined by the practice of content marketing. Content is an indispensable part of marketing.
Every business leader needs to learn content marketing. This is the rubber-meets-the road of brand building and formation. It is the sine qua non of marketing best practice. When you’re involved knee-deep in coming up with topics, wrangling the research, and producing content on that issue, you truly understand what content marketing is all about -- and how to use it to reach your audience.
That is an invaluable skill in today’s marketing environment. You’ve got to do it in order to know it, and lead others to do it as well.
I encourage every business leader, marketing professional, and entrepreneur to become a producer of awesome content. Content marketing is the only way to develop leadership in the industry, and it’s the only way that you’re going to truly understand and appreciate your audience.
Writing content doesn’t have to be a vortex of time. You can hire people to help you brainstorm, edit, and publish your content. But you should drive the effort, forging the words and topics that help grow your business.
You don’t need to be a professional writer, nor do you need to be the sole producer of content. But when you’re just starting out, there is no skill so necessary, so effective, and so powerful as writing content yourself.
Originally published Aug 5, 2014 6:00:00 AM, updated August 28 2017