How to Transition from Creative Writer to Successful Content Marketer

Here's a scenario that's become very familiar in recent years: A student graduates from college with a BFA or an MFA in Creative Writing, only to find that they can't yet make ends meet crafting only the novels, stories, and essays they love.

However discouraged these people might be, they continue to try. They try until they simply can't anymore, usually when their student loan payments are way overdue or they can't pay their rent.

But these people are not defeated, not by a long shot.

Many of them remain dedicated to their craft and are willing to put in the work to become a great writer. But they also recognize the need for a change of one sort or another. And for many creative writers, this change involves making the sometimes difficult transition into content marketing.


Transition into Content Marketing


If the aforementioned situation sounds a little bit too familiar, don't worry. You can take heart in the success of those who have come before you and transitioned successfully into content marketing.

Whether content marketing turns out to be your last work destination or not, you can use your creative writing skills to create a satisfying career for however long you wish to practice it.

Here are key ways you can use your creative skills to carve out a satisfying career in content marketing.


1. Continue writing creatively.


We need to get this out of the way right up front—you don't need to give up writing creatively to become a content marketer. In fact, it's always a bad idea to give up doing something you love, especially when it's directly related to the next goal in front of you. You might have to develop some major league time management skills to make it all happen, but continuing to write creatively will help, not hinder, your development as a content marketer.

It's actually quite simple. No matter how different they might seem on the surface, creative writing and content marketing are not mutually exclusive. In fact, the contrary is true. Yes, there are key differences between writing marketing content and crafting great literature, but there are important similarities as well. Cash in on these similarities and you'll improve on both skills at one and the same time.

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2. Value content marketing and take it seriously.


You won’t find success as a content writer, or in any other profession, if you look down your nose at your new career path. In fact, you'll probably be terrible at it and miserable into the bargain. Writing strong digital content is just like creating good fiction. It requires talent, skill and a great deal of practice. These things demand your full attention, and so does your new career. Take content marketing as seriously as you take your creative writing to maximize your chances of success.

Now you might ask what exactly 'taking content marketing seriously' actually means. We'll dig into this a little more in the following sections, but it all begins with the attitude you bring to the table. The purpose of all writing is to convey knowledge and a specific set of messages, right? Reflect on this for a moment. Hopefully, you'll understand that you can't accomplish either one of these goals if you don't take your subject matter to heart.

Some people make excellent content marketers while others don't. Your attitude will go a long way toward discovering which group you belong to.


3. Study your new craft.


No one becomes a great novelist, poet, or short story writer by accident. Creative writing is a craft that takes years of study and practice. The same holds true of content writing. That's why it's crucial to study your new craft as much as you can.

Read as many websites, blogs, and internet blurbs as possible. Read them whether they're good, bad or somewhere in between. And read them the same way you'd read a piece of fiction—with a critical eye that asks why a given post does or doesn't work. Pay special attention to blogs that have received widespread acclaim. They'll have a lot to teach you about the art of content writing.

There are also a number of great books on the subject of content marketing, just as there are guides to writing creatively. Do yourself a favor and read these books voraciously. Combined with lots of practice, these books will help you reach the height of your content marketing powers.



4. Use your characterization skills to develop a strong voice.


Creating great characters is central to every great piece of fiction, and each of these characters must have a unique and distinctive voice.

A similar tenet holds true in content marketing. By the time you come on board, the company or brand you write for will probably have a distinctive writing style and voice they want you to speak through. While this might seem restrictive at first, you'll soon find freedom within these constraints.

These constraints are similar to those that arise during the process of creating a believable fictional character. Yes, you'll have many choices to make on your own – no company wants a writing bot – but you can still use your creative skills to amplify or enhance a branding voice that's already worked well in the past.


5. Utilize different perspectives to attract new customers.


Your ability to move between different perspectives will also make you a more effective content writer. Just like with a piece of fiction, the internet content you write will be intended for a specific audience. As such, the content will naturally emanate from a definite perspective. As you can probably tell, this is merely a new way to frame the traditional storytelling process.

As a creative writer, you have the unique ability to speak to a wide variety of people. And as you well know, you can only accomplish by taking a variety of perspectives. In content marketing, one of the most important perspectives is the one that can speak directly to potential new customers. Keep this in mind and you'll find content marketing quite rewarding and that much more interesting.


Benjamin Shepardson is the founder of NoStop Writing Service, a Key West-based content agency specializing in delivering personalized experiences. With an extensive digital career dating back to before social media and WordPress, Ben personally works with clients to craft a content strategy that will scale and grow their business. Connect with him on LinkedIn.