GrammarPhile Blog

Marketers and Writers — What’s the Difference?

Posted by Phil Jamieson   Sep 6, 2018 7:30:09 AM

writingAs the online world has become more saturated with written content in the past couple of decades, the distinctions between what marketers do and what writers do have become extremely blurred. At first it may not seem obvious that such once-distinct professions are melding together, depending on your own profession. But it’s true. After all, why do employers seem to think that marketers should have top-rated writing skills? And why do employers and online entities believe their marketers should write digital content? Further, why do writers need an excellent online presence and digital marketing skills to get their content read and shared online?

Like it or not, with so much content available online, being a writer with an online presence requires a certain amount of digital marketing skill. And being a successful digital marketer requires significant knowledge of content writing and copywriting. Online journalists must have content writing strategies or have a certain level of digital marketing expertise incorporated into their writing if they want their content to be successful and gain online traction.

Below, we list some of the similarities and differences between marketers and writers. But as these professions continue to evolve and transform, so will lists like this.

Be sure to include any other similarities or differences not mentioned here that you’ve noticed too, in the comments below.

Similarities between Marketers and Writers

Both develop and publish online content

Both writers and marketers publish and share written content via online channels such as:

  • social media accounts
  • websites
  • blog posts
  • e-books
  • emails
  • advertising

In fact, most marketers believe that developing and sharing written content is one of their best marketing strategies and that it yields the best results … and they’re right. (Check out these statistics compiled by HubSpot.) And now we have content marketing, which is a huge and rapidly growing branch of modern-day digital marketing.

Likewise, writers must rely on search engine optimization (SEO) and digital marketing tactics and content if they expect their writing to gain a consistent readership. Even book, magazine, and news publishers of print publications must rely on digital marketing in 2018, because most printed materials will not be read or discovered without it.  

Both understand SEO practices

With over half the world’s population accessing the internet in 2018 (more than 4 billion people!), effective marketers and writers must work to understand common and evolving SEO practices. Otherwise, content and digital marketing will never be read because it will get lost among the millions of other pieces of content being published and shared each day.

Today, it’s common for writers to strategically use keywords throughout their content and to structure their writing for SEO (e.g., use certain headers and bullet-point lists). And digital marketers can’t develop successful campaigns without keeping up with evolving practices and trends in SEO and content marketing.

Both engage on social media platforms

Writers and marketers must also explore the nuances of sharing written and visual content on social media in 2018. Having a strong social media presence has become part of having a strong digital marketing and overall SEO strategy. Facebook alone has billions of users worldwide, and other sites like Twitter and LinkedIn have millions too.

Both must be data-driven to acquire and retain readers

Neither marketers nor writers will be successful online if they don’t pay attention to data about their readership on an ongoing basis. Both must continually look at data describing what their readers or prospects are clicking on, how long readers are viewing pieces of content or ads, and so on. This data is critical to building and maintaining an online audience.

Differences between Marketers and Writers

They have different daily tasks

On a daily basis, marketers will usually focus on tasks involving different online marketing campaigns and strategies. Writers will focus on developing and perfecting individual pieces of content and on how that content connects to a certain audience, marketing strategy, or writing goal. Marketers will typically work to decide what types of content they should share, where, when, and how often. Writers will take those goals and develop written content.

Questions to consider:

  • Is a content marketer someone who completes marketing tasks as well as writing tasks?
  • If you’re a marketer or a writer, what do your daily tasks look like?
    • How often do you think about marketing when you’re writing?
    • Or how often do you think about writing when you’re marketing?

Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

They have different strategic goals

Marketers work to see direct results from a campaign for a certain product or service, or work to generate general awareness and sales. Sometimes one marketing goal or campaign can encompass multiple types of content.

Writers want readers to be engaged with what they’ve published, and they work to see specific actions per individual pieces of content (clicks, likes, shares, downloads, views, etc.). They want their writing to be valuable to their readers.

They have different types of expertise

Usually marketers’ expertise lies in promoting and selling services or products across various platforms and via different outlets, while writers tend to be more familiar with various language mechanics, usage, and writing techniques. However, as mentioned above, we are beginning to see more of an overlap in such expertise between the two professions. Marketers are now expected to be better writers, and writers are expected to be better marketers. Do you agree?

They have distinct content objectives, but must work in tandem

Marketers want the content they share to yield results (e.g., views, sales, subscriptions), while writers work to make sure the content they develop is itself engaging. Yet writers nowadays should strive for the same thing that marketers do, if they want their online readership to grow and if they want what they write to be read and shared.  

Overall, even if marketers and writers have distinct content objectives, they still must work in tandem to make sure high-quality content gets written, read, and shared.  

What Are Your Thoughts?

What do you think about the similarities and differences between marketers and writers? Share with us in the comments below.

Topics: writing, marketing writing, content

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