Writing something does not make you a writer.
There. I said it. And I’m not taking it back.
Over the past year, I’ve hustled my writing wherever I can. Sometimes, my efforts are met with, “Why would I pay you when I can throw up a blog post in ten minutes?”
Of course you can. Anyone can. The question is, should you?
The Internet gives everyone access to all the tools they need to produce content. But, producing content and producing good content are two different things. You can put words up there on that screen but, do they flow? Are people reading them? Are people responding?
Or are you getting…crickets.
Maybe you’ve got Google Analytics showing you how your web traffic is doing. Perhaps you invested in SEO so you see a lot of traffic or at least a lot of hits — but the analytics also tell you that no one stays on your page for long.
Pssssst…It’s the writing.
And I know, that feels like a personal thing. Because you were excited to tell everyone all about your business. That’s why you invested in things like SEO and Google Analytics. But, the writing SUCKS!
It doesn’t flow.
It’s not catchy.
It actually doesn’t even clearly define your product.
Your bewildered customers leave your site before learning anything about who you are or what you do. You’ve lost them!
Trust me, you have.
Because somewhere out there, you’ve got a competitor who hired a writer. And all of your potential customers are flocking to their site, learning about their product or service, and buying it from them.
Maybe you thought if you undercut your competitors on price, the customers would come. After all, the competition has to mark up their product to accommodate the writer they’re paying to produce their content. And you know what? The increase in sales is paying for that writer. Their margins are increasing and their bottom line is growing. Because they had the foresight to hire a professional writer.
Professional writers are just that. Professional. They go to school for writing, and they spend their professional careers honing their craft. They’re mentored by some of the best editors in the business.
While writers can type, they’re not typists. Brilliant prose doesn’t just magically flow to their fingertips as they type away. Writers write, edit and proofread every single piece they produce. They polish it until it’s nearly perfect. Sometimes they’ll comb dictionaries or thesauri to find the perfect words to describe your product or service.
They’re experts in making you stand out on the sea of words that is the Internet.
You wouldn’t think twice about paying top dollar for an attorney or a doctor for their services. After all, they went to school for a long time to do what they do.
So did the writers.
If you have a bachelor’s degree you might be thinking that equivalent education qualifies you to be a writer. Or maybe you have a master’s degree and you’re thinking, you went to school longer than they did.
Remember, your degree is in a different field than theirs. They’re not trying to do your job, why should you try to do theirs?
Did you study writing for the entire four years in college? No. You studied whatever you studied — while your writer studied how to write.
Don’t be fooled by content out there telling you that anyone can be a writer. And don’t get sucked in by the content mills that offer less than $0.05 a word for content. Those people are not writers. I’ve seen their content.
It’s not pretty.
If you’re on this site reading content you love, reach out to the author — because I guarantee you that they are not spending all of their time writing for this site. They’re looking for clients while padding their portfolio and perfecting their craft.
And you just might be the client they’re looking for.
Kim Funk is a freelance writer who lives in a small town outside of Minneapolis, MN. She writes about freelancing, small towns, being a hockey parent, and life after divorce. And she’s trying really hard not to be a perfectionist.