I started this blog to document my journey of learning.
Before you make assumptions about this post from the headline, don’t worry, you will still get to read more posts. First, please read on.
Please Note: This post is meant to encourage writers and people who create. It is not like my other posts which are more skills-specific. Enjoy.
When I first started the blog in April, I was learning about internet marketing. Thus, a lot of posts were centered around traffic generation and copywriting.
They way I wrote was largely influenced by a writing course I took as a Freshman in university.
In the course, the instructor always drilled it into us to write from a “you-viewpoint”. “You-viewpoint” writing, is very aware of how the reader will react to the content. It places the reader’s interests as top priority.
“You-viewpoint” shows the reader what is in it for him or her.
I wanted create an entertaining, actionable posts where busy marketers and business owners could bookmark, grab and use, when they are doing marketing for themselves. A lot of my posts on this blog and on my Facebook wall, were written for marketers and business owners.
This was motivated by my years working on my start-ups and working in various start-ups. We have this big, passionate dream and idea, but often, far too little technical skills in marketing for anyone to take notice.
I wanted to bridge this information gap, however humble my contributions might be.
I have been really blessed by many entrepreneurs, friends and fellow marketers who have come to tell me how much my work has helped them, how much clarity and results that flowed from the straight-forward sharing.
The word I still fail to relate to is “inspire”. When they say I have “inspired” them, I don’t feel adequate to receive that level of compliment. I am merely a traveller on the journey in my own becoming. The road is so long ahead and my parents always told me humility will serve me well for the road.
The Post I Bookmarked
So one day, as I was wandering around the corners of the internet, I read this post called “Marketing Isn’t For You” by Tommy Walker of Shopify.
Here is the brief summary:
He realized that true marketing is never about YOU. It’s about the market – their wants, their needs, their hopes, and their dreams. Ego demands, “What’s in it for me?”, while real marketing asks, “What can I give?”
The Problem In Practice
In principle, the idea of always writing for your audience sounds great. You create content which you think they would enjoy and benefit from.
You craft content for them.
From a marketing perspective, it should probably be done that way. Imagine trying to write about car parts to pregnant mothers, in order to sell your car accessories. You would probably just fall flat on your face and fail.
So, in theory, always writing for someone else is great.
I was about to spin that post off into a blog post here about how to write for various people, in a way that speaks to them on a deep level : Think Hypnotic Writing and understanding interests (that will come next week).
However, I stumbled on to a post by this amazing lady. Maria Popova- she writes for her blog, brain pickings.
Brain Pickings — has 5 million visitors (!) each month. It is a cross-disciplinary LEGO treasure chest, full of pieces spanning art, science, psychology, design, philosophy, history, politics, anthropology, and more; pieces that enrich our mental pool of resources and empower combinatorial ideas that are stronger, smarter, richer, deeper and more impactful. Above all, it’s about how these different disciplines illuminate one another to glean some insight, directly or indirectly, into that grand question of how to live, and how to live well. <——— this chunk of text was ripped off her blog directly, I mean, just look at the way she describes her space. It is almost mildly offensive for me to call her a “blogger”.
She is simply, art.
She doesn’t just write to market.
I listened to her podcasts and her work- if you look at the quality and the thought that goes behind each content release… You know that this person is writing from a deep, personal space. She is not churning out content for content’s sake/seo/marketing. She is simply writing about her learnings and sharing her view of life.
I guess I’m not as altruistic as the goddess Maria-with-a-nice-voice here. I write for personal branding as well. But, I do the best I know how – I come home from work and school at 9+/10pm everyday and pull myself to create a blogpost and post it around 1-2am, struggling to keep awake as I write it.
But, I face my sets of problems as well.
From time to time, I am nudged by acquaintances by questions of
- Have you started making money from your blog?!?!
- How are you making money from writing?
- Did you monetize your videos and place ads yet?!
Or, by well-meaning marketing friends:
“Hey Tavia, content marketing is totally the right direction for company strategy”.
I realized that I slowly got worn down by these thoughts of doing what I love for money or for business.
I mean, its incredibly nice to be able to do what I love and be compensated fairly for it. I may, in time, allow ads on this blog, or recommend good products I personally reviewed to you- because it is natural to want to share great tools and products.
But writing or creating content for the SOLE purpose of monetizing.. I feel it cheapens what I’m doing.
I don’t need to monetize the blog right now- I make my money working for a fair number of companies as a brand and marketing consultant. And because of my ability to produce no-bullcrap results, I have been blessed to be fairly compensated for my efforts.
I am also a business owner for my logistics start-up and have been selling all sorts of things from branded bags, to concert tickets, to textbooks and printers all my life- which gives me the dough I need. Plus, I live really humbly, no car, no mortgage, no kids. I don’t need to write to monetize right now.
I’m not a content churner who sits behind my laptop at 7am and say “okay now, let me outsource this article to be written by this third-world country ghost-writer… let me spread this post like wildfire around the internet with my name pasted on it”.
I know that there are many pieces of content out there called PLRs (private label rights) products, which allows you to buy content, made by someone else and distribute it under your own name.
Many gurus are teaching this to their students and touting it as a way to “save time” and make money quick. No doubt, used well, it shaves hours of effort spent writing.
Possibly because of my own pride, I don’t see myself buying a product wholesale like that and passing it off as my own. I want everything with my name slapped on it, to be something that I can look back on and say “hey, I did pretty good”.
More Than Money
The effort is the reward. The feeling when I hit “publish” makes this worth more than money.
The feeling when someone shares my posts to others makes this worth more than money.
The knowledge of knowing people bookmark my posts and refer to it before they write their sales copy is so humbling. I’m doing mental cartwheels whenever I hear that.
The idea of money not being the only commodity is important. “Rich” is a state I choose to be in.
I am rich, when I feel rich. The effort is my reward.
So dear “content-creators”- the key to writing interesting posts is to be interested in it, We are creating meaningful work and not being currency-fillers. We do not simply write for motives of money and we do not simply write for someone, but for ourselves.
When we write, we create. This helps us to be interested in creating something sustainable with our work.
A record of our own becoming. If we are serious about personal growth- whether in marketing, being a better business owner, or being a better human! in general, the effort of writing is enough a reward.
The Importance Of Consistency
Stay consistent- this quote relates to social media content creation… But it applies to your writing too.
Stay patient about engagement, stay patient with yourself. You are not static. You are a dynamic human being that is growing every single, second.
What’s great about sharing your writing is that it keeps you accountable. You know your blog stats and you know people come back to your space. That’s a plus for writing and showing it to the rest of the folks on the internet.
If you read the diaries of any great writer, they write day in and day out. They write on happy and inspired days; and they write on days of agonizing self-doubt or intoxication. They write on days of elation of being in love, and deep depression of human loneliness and horrific thoughts. This dogged persistence is driven by a deep need to write to feel alive, it is driven by an authentic deep love for the work.
There is always a market for quality, original content. And how you see the world and write about it will never be the same as another persons’.
Keep interested in your own affairs.
Write for your own development.
Create because of pride.
And create something you are proud of.
I leave you with this quote:
“Love words. Agonize over sentences. And pay attention to the world.” -Susan Sontag.
There is deep beauty in what you do.
This, is Why I Won’t Write For You Anymore. I will focus on being my best and showing up, bringing my best- to create something sustainable. Be patient with me whilst I grow and I thank you for your generous support.