How much writing do you do in your job today? How much of it is seen outside your team or your company?
What might happen if you did more?
Here are five compelling reasons to stop dodging those writing-related projects and amp up your output.
Reason #1: Be a Hero
Modern marketing thrives on employee-generated content, and it always needs more. You could fill that need, earning recognition and, perhaps, the undying gratitude of the marketing team.
You might contribute in many ways. For example:
- Create training materials or a customer success campaign to guide new customers over common hurdles
- Contribute blog posts in your own name to gain visibility for your team’s efforts and put a human face on the business
- Develop stories from encounters with existing customers, either to share internally or with prospects and other customers
Reason #2: Amplify Your Efforts
What do you do when someone comes to you with a problem or question at work? You answer them, even if it takes a bit of research or legwork.
You can amplify that effort through writing. Package the answer and make it available on a knowledge base. Or, create a blog post or article and share the insight more widely.
Rather than reaching a single person, you can reach dozens, hundreds, or thousands. Better yet, the written work stands on its own and persists over time.
The power of writing doesn’t stop there. Once you’ve created the content, you or someone else can repurpose it into multiple media, including:
- Webinars (and their evergreen Slideshares)
- Talks for speaking to gropus
- Blog posts
Other people can take over the task of repurposing, so you can get back to doing the rest of your job.
Don’t forget about translation. You may not be able to speak directly to people in other countries, but your piece can speak for you, once it is translated.
Reason #3: Increase Your Visibility at Work
For your work to be valued (and funded) within your own organization, you must communicate effectively with people outside your team: management, sales people, potential partners, and investors.
Effective writing transmits your commitment to the work to others in the organization.
You will no longer be the nameless person shuffling past in the cafeteria. Instead, you will be the person who generated the thoughtful email, or the useful post, or the article in the industry journal.
Effective writing is even more vital for people working in distributed, virtual environments. The writing becomes a proxy for your thoughts and ideas, present when you are not.
In short, if you want to be valued at work, try creating valuable and effective written content.
Reason #4: Increase Your Visibility in the Larger World
How long have you been at your job, and how long do you expect to remain?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job tenure is shrinking. In 2016, the median tenure for employees was 4.2 years, down from 4.6 years in 2014. Older workers stayed longer than younger ones.
The mean tenure number also varies by industry. I live in Silicon Valley. In the technology sector, two years is the new four years.
No matter how much you love your job, the world is an uncertain place. When industries shift and transform, jobs often fall off the edges, even while new opportunities are created.
You might cringe at the phrase “personal branding,” but one way or another, we are all creating a digital identity that we may need later, if not now.
Writing and publishing in your own name is one way to take control of your online presence and identity. Consider writing:
- LinkedIn posts
- Corporate blog posts in your own name
- Contributed posts and articles on industry sites and publications
- Personal blog posts about professional topics
Posts that you contribute to a corporate blog under your own name do double duty: they meet business objectives while building your presence in the larger online world. Articles contributed to industry publications elevate the perception of your company’s expertise, while leaving a digital trail of your activities.
Reason #5: Deepen Your Expertise
When you write about work-related topics, you become more expert in them.
I’m not saying that you will be “perceived” as an expert, although that may certainly be the case. You will actually become more of an expert by writing about your job or related topics. You grow through writing in several ways:
Research. Whenever you search out supporting data or interview other experts, you learn something new.
Thought and consideration. To write effectively, you need to consider the audience’s perceptions and potential objections. Doing so deepens your understanding of the topic.
Personally, I only discover what I really think about a topic when write about it. Even if I know the topic well, writing takes me deeper into the subject and makes me question my assumptions.
Effective writing requires clarity of thought.
Publishing. Once you publish something, people will talk with you about it. You will defend your ideas and listen to those of others. You may even be asked to speak on the topic. You continue learning long after the published work is out in the world.
Have I encouraged you to step up and write? Let me know in the comments below.
If you need help getting started, see the videos on the barriers to writing.
Work in an open office? Read Writing In the Workplace: The Open Office.