Writing Is Writing, Proper? Not If You Need To Hold Your Content material Creation Crew


“It’s time to make the donuts.”

This phrase from a 1981 Dunkin’ Donuts advert marketing campaign has turn out to be a part of our office tradition. Individuals use it to speak about getting ready to do one thing repetitive, grueling, or meaningless.

However that’s a misreading of the unique message.

The advert featured Fred the Baker, who awakened very early each morning, struggled off the bed, and repeated his mantra, “Time to make the donuts.” By the tip of the adverts, Fred greeted his prospects with an enormous smile, happy with his work.

“It’s time to make the donuts” wasn’t a lament about doing the identical menial job day after day.

It conveyed Fred’s dedication to creating one thing big day after day.

The strain between creating content material that feels particular and developing helpful (however menial) content material resonates with so many content material practitioners. With out an sufficient steadiness between the 2, content material creators might lose curiosity of their roles.

Many #content material practitioners expertise the strain of eager to create one thing particular however needing to assemble menial content material, says @Robert_Rose through @CMIContent. Click on To Tweet

Writing is writing, isn’t it?

I talked with a rare younger author at a B2B expertise firm the opposite day who instructed me about her profession path. She’d landed a job at an company the place she wrote sensible articles and weblog posts for B2B purchasers. A few years later, she took a job in content material advertising at this huge tech firm.

Initially, she beloved her position, which concerned writing short-form information articles in regards to the firm’s business developments. She obtained to dig into the business and the merchandise, interview individuals, and go deep into the subject.

After a few reorganizations, although, she discovered herself serving as the web site editor. Her day by day job concerned modifying – not creating – content material describing technical specs and product how-to assist.

Three months into her new position, she requested her supervisor about the potential for increasing her assignments for extra selection. The supervisor replied, “Writers are writers. And writing is writing.”

The primary assertion is true. The second is just not.

Some say writers are writers, and writing is #writing. The primary assertion is true. The second is just not, says @Robert_Rose through @CMIContent. Click on To Tweet

Heading down a incorrect path

I usually meet individuals who’ve discovered nice pleasure of their careers as content material practitioners. They be at liberty to create useful content material that delights and informs an viewers. They get pleasure from creating revolutionary, enjoyable experiences that stretch imaginations.

That is the advertising job individuals imply after they say, “Everyone has two jobs – theirs and advertising.” The flame of making cool, considerate content material burns so brightly it attracts everybody – from the entrance desk to the C-suite.

Alternatively, I additionally run into gifted content material creators – like my acquaintance on the tech firm – who spend their days developing probably the most mundane however vital content material for the enterprise.

These content material creators usually wrestle with the stress of developing items that meet enterprise wants whereas nonetheless making an attempt for creativity. They usually really feel annoyed that their hoped-for artistic position turned out to be extra akin to laboring away in a content material manufacturing unit.

To be clear, the tech writer-turned-website editor acknowledged the significance of the technical documentation and the experience or talent wanted to rework these items into partaking supplies. She simply didn’t really feel she provided a lot worth in that position.

She didn’t really feel she may actually dig into the fabric as a result of she lacked technical experience. Her position was merely to make sure that the information and data had been nicely constructed.

She not too long ago left the corporate. That’s an actual loss for the enterprise.

I labored with one other firm to advise on their plan for assembling new content material groups. The leaders appeared satisfied that every group – product, model, advertising, comms – ought to work solely on their content material. Product content material creators ought to give attention to the substances, specs, and educational how-tos of utilizing the product. Model content material creators ought to work on taglines and thought management. Advertising and marketing content material creators would work on gross sales enablement supplies.

I disagreed and argued that product content material is also thought management. Model content material may be high-level guarantees and a easy listing of substances. Advertising and marketing content material may be advert copy for engines like google and the cool movies that make us all snort.

The distinction is whether or not the content material is created or constructed.

Creating vs. developing content material

One among my favourite quotes comes from G.Okay. Chesterton’s evaluation of The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens:

The entire distinction between development and creation is precisely this: {that a} factor constructed can solely be beloved after it’s constructed; however a factor created is beloved earlier than it exists.

Expertise acquisition and retention is likely to be a content material marketer chief’s most crucial job at the moment. And fostering and retaining content material expertise comes right down to balancing how a lot somebody constructs vs. how a lot they create.

It’s straightforward to imagine “constructed content material” is the boring stuff like navigation, tech-spec sheets, documentation, contracts, and compliance paperwork and that “created content material” is the enjoyable stuff like storytelling or viral movies.

That pondering isn’t right. Virtually something may be constructed content material, and nearly something may be created content material.

The distinction lies not within the factor created however within the why and the way it’s made, to echo Chesterton’s quote. As he mentioned, the essence of a bit “exists earlier than the e book or earlier than even the main points or primary options of the e book; the Robert Rose enjoys it and lives in it with a form of prophetic rapture.”

In fact, not all content material deserves or requires that stage of enthusiasm.

Constructed content material is essential, however it’s normally one thing that must be created as effectively as potential. Its worth solely exists after it’s accomplished.

Whereas some individuals would possibly love creating the fiftieth Search engine optimization-focused article for a product or the tenth compliance doc for a service, the intrinsic worth of the creation course of could be fairly small. Only a few individuals love the essence of that compliance article earlier than it’s constructed. That doc’s worth lies solely in its usefulness after it’s created.

Created content material provides the creator (and even these round them) pleasure earlier than it’s completed. It’s that shiny flame attracting individuals from across the enterprise. It has intrinsic worth earlier than it even exists.

Creating #content material is the intense flame that pulls individuals from across the enterprise to take part in its creation, says @Robert_Rose through @CMIContent. Click on To Tweet

My argument to the corporate planning to segregate their groups’ content material creation was that the strategy wouldn’t guarantee they attracted and fostered the very best content material expertise. That requires making certain a steadiness between constructed content material vs. created content material.

All writers write. However not all writing is writing. I’ve by no means met any content material creator pleased with developing content material as their sole exercise.

Created content material drives most of us to get off the bed and make the donuts day after day. Perceive the distinction between creating and developing. Then, steadiness these duties throughout the crew. That means, each content material creator will get to get up feeling excited to maintain making the donuts.


Get Robert’s tackle content material advertising business information in simply three minutes:


Subscribe to workday or weekly CMI emails to get Rose-Coloured Glasses in your inbox every week.

Cowl picture by Joseph Kalinowski/Content material Advertising and marketing Institute


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here