Writing, the Marketing Cornerstone

Marketing in the RoundEvery CMO wants to figure out integrated multichannel marketing in the digital era. Trying to understand how the different disciplines fit together forces a new level of knowledge. In the end, writing ties them all together.

Whether you work in advertising, PR, interactive, social, direct or simply general marketing, you must write.

Our new book Marketing in the Round discusses each of these tactics in depth, and how to weave them together. But no matter the integration strategy, marketing a good product or service successfully depends on your ability to write well.

Think about it. Even a video requires a script. Images tell a story, often with captions or short phrases embodied in info graphics. Consider how Hugh McLeod uses captions with his comics to communicate. There’s still a message — words — that he conveys.

Whether it’s a short form like mobile messaging or great ad headlines (“Imported from Detroit”) or long form communications such as speeches and white papers, great marketers write fantastic copy!

Valuing Writing

Those who want great careers can best ensure continued opportunities by honing their writing skills. Without the fundamentals, there’s little hope of mastering one of the core subsets of marketing — PR, advertising, direct or interactive.

Yes, you can become a great creative. Yes, you can become a master SEO practitioner. Yet it’s like being a basketball player who can pass and rebound, but can’t score.

Sooner or later, if you want to advance in marketing, you must write.

Marketing values great writing, whether it’s stated or not. Even a great strategy must be well communicated to your colleagues.

It’s no coincidence both of us studied English in college. We wish more Communications and Business programs at the university level put a stronger focus on the primary fundamentals of grammar and storytelling. The entire marketing profession would be better for it.

Styles Beyond Social

So much of today’s marketing conversation revolves around personality and social media engagement. We don’t disagree that these storytelling methods are important.

But we do see them as a method. Style takes many forms. Without understanding how words empower you to choose one style or another for different media, marketers will struggle to master more than one discipline.

One thing we both benefited from was learning to write for different media! How can you challenge yourself to learn a new writing form?

Writing a research report requires a sophisticated arc and the incorporation of data-intense proof points, while still telling stories to compel readers. Compare that to a 50-word print advertisement. Both forms tell stories through different uses of the written word and illustrations despite disparate length.

Comprehending how the written word is used across different media and marketing tactics empowers a marketer to supersede media. Such is the power of words.

Geoff Livingston is an author and marketing strategist, and serves as VP, Strategic Partnerships for Razoo. A former journalist, Livingston continues to write, and most recently he co-authored Marketing in the Round, and authored the social media primer Welcome to the Fifth Estate.

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, a Chicago-based integrated marketing communication firm. She also is the founder of the professional development site for PR and marketing pros, Spin Sucks Pro and co-author of Marketing in the Round.

Their new book Marketing in the Round shows you how to get more value from all your marketing and communications channels integrated together!

Image via Geoff Livingston/Creative Commons

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