Not the greatest endorsement from a marketing genius, and a great storyteller. Not great any time, but particularly when your business is quite new.
Now, just to be clear, David wasn’t picking on me personally.
He was answering a question about whether he thought you could delegate or outsource writing. His answer was along the lines of it was a terrible idea to hire a writer.
That stung a bit.
But here’s the killer: I agree with some of his thinking.
Why would I agree with him? Three reasons:
1. No one writes like you
I agree. You know your story, from start to finish. In classic story construction, you not only know the challenge you had, the struggles and the resolution of your business, you’ve lived it. No one knows it better than you, so no one should be able to write it as well as you, as authentically as you.
2. No one else has your voice
This is part of being authentic. If your style and tone is informal and fun, then why make your stories formal and dull? David referred to this as when the “to whom it may concern” style takes over.
It’s a trap to avoid falling into, and many businesses fail on this. If you can, then you should write.
3. You can write
The person behind the question said she wanted to delegate the work because she was bad at writing. Which he politely told her was horsesh*t, that was just the story she had told herself.
Writing is a muscle, it needs to be used. The most important thing to do in writing, like in getting any idea off the ground, is just to start. Write a bit every day. Just start, even if you don’t do anything with it.
So, am I closing my business? Going back to the drawing board?
I absolutely respect David’s thinking, and would be on another of his workshops in a heartbeat. But my purpose is to ensure no business fails because it didn’t maximise on its absolutely key and unique assets: its stories.
I have three reasons why, if you’re a smaller business, that you should consider hiring a writer:
1. If your time is better spent elsewhere
Maybe there’s only a few of you, maybe it’s just you. It will certainly feel like there are not enough hours in the day. And if you are the one who delivers or creates what your business is built on, then writing might be one task too many.
Whilst I agree you should spend time working on your business, not just in it, your best use of time might not be writing. You might be better finding new ideas, new people, new improvements. All of which might build more value to this thing you are trying to build.
2. A good writer will help you find your voice in everything
If you email me tomorrow for the first time and ask me to write you a 750 word blog post around an issue in your industry, by return, guess what?
I’m going to say no.
I suppose you could try offering me an awful lot of money. But it’s not how I want to work with businesses.
I can’t be your voice if I don’t know your voice, which means helping you to articulate what is. That means I need a bit of your time upfront.
I want to hear your story from you, in your words. I’m going to ask questions like “what’s the dream” and “what’s your red lines”. I want to know what makes you and the business tick.
Only then should we think about working together. And working together more than once means I get to understand you even better, so the work is more like you than before. Even if you wrote things for yourself, you might find this is true too. The more the writing muscle is flexed, the better it gets, whether it’s yours or mine.
3. You’re busy making other kinds of content
I thought it was interesting that David hired professionals in other content areas, like photography and video production, to support other channels. Now, if you are skilled in photography or create great films, then maybe you should spend your time there. They are still a really important part of your brand’s voice.
Everything needs to work together, to ensure the story really grabs someone no matter where, and how, they discover it.
So, should you hire a writer?
Only you can answer that! But my view would be is that it’s not as simple as a flat out no. David would disagree.
That’s why you only you can answer it for your business, your brand and where it is on its journey of where you want to get to.
What do you think? What would you do, or have you done?