by Meghan Bliss | Featured Contributor
I’m going to hate on calculus for just a minute.
When I was a junior in high school, I took AP Calculus because that’s what all of my friends took. Did I take it because I was good at math? Not really. Did I do well on exams? I passed, and considering the subject, that was good enough for me. Did I ever have to sketch a parabola again? Nope.
That’s not to say calculus is useless or irrelevant. It certainly isn’t. But most creative business owners I know don’t use what they learned in high school calculus on a daily basis. It’s just one of those things.
You know what other subject I didn’t like in high school? English. (I went on to major in English in college, but that’s another story.) But you know what every single job and internship I’ve ever held required me to do?
Seriously. Even my “non-creative” jobs have required good writing skills. I’ve had to write emails, letters, memos, website copy, press releases, and other marketing materials. If you run your own creative business, then writing skills are essential. Even for something as simple yet powerful as an email.
The good news is that when it comes to running a business, you don’t have to write the same way you did in your freshman English class. In fact, academic writing is discouraged in the “real” world. Connecting with colleagues, clients, and potential customers requires approachability and clear communication. It doesn’t have to be difficult. It can even be kind of fun.
Content is powerful in almost any industry. If you run your own business, you have the authority to create and share your own content in multiple ways. All it takes is clear, effective communication.
And a little bit of writing.
Here are some useful ways to use writing to grow your creative business.
Start a blog. There’s a sea of blogs out there these days, so it’s very easy to get lost in the shuffle. That’s why strategic blogging is important. For instance, if you run a business designing wedding invitations, writing a blog about what you had for dinner isn’t going to be effective. But writing about your design process could be highly effective. When potential customers see the thought and creativity you put into your work, they’re more likely to connect with you as a designer. Plus, blogging can grow your platform and help you connect with other like-minded professionals. Community is important, especially if you spend each day working alone.
Start a newsletter. Starting a newsletter is easier than ever with services like MailChimp and ConvertKit, among others. Writing and sending weekly or monthly newsletters is an excellent way to connect with subscribers and offer useful content. Connecting with your potential customers will build their trust in you and the services you provide.
Write a book. This sounds daunting, I know. But it doesn’t have to be. I firmly believe writing a book, even a short e-book, benefits business owners in any industry. Having a book to your name positions you as an expert in your field. Plus, it gives your clients and customers a way to connect with you beyond your website or Twitter feed. A series of books could provide a stream of passive income. Or you could offer a free e-book to your email subscribers to grow your list. For example, I wrote an e-book about freelance writing and what I learned from experience after my first year. I offer it for free to my subscribers because I hope it’ll help them on their own writing journeys. Either way, be mindful and offer content that is helpful, inspiring, and clarifying for your customers. You are trustworthy, after all. You want your subscribers to realize that.
Contribute to websites within your industry. If you’re already comfortable with blogging and article writing, find out which major influencers within your industry accept guest blog posts and articles. Contributing to much larger websites is a great way to gain exposure and drive more traffic to your website. Plus, writing for blogs and websites you truly admire is fulfilling in its own way.
Use social media. If “content is king,” as they say, then social media must be queen. After all, you could spend hours writing blog posts or putting together a stunning e-book, but if you don’t promote, then what’s the point? Many people are uncomfortable with self-promotion, but that’s just part of being a business owner. When used strategically, social media can be an excellent self-promotion tool, but even Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram require writing skills. To connect with colleagues and potential customers you need to communicate clearly and professionally, sometimes in fewer than 140 characters. Here’s the good news: an effective Instagram caption or Tweet doesn’t require a thesis statement and five supporting paragraphs. All it takes is a useful, genuine message…and maybe a few strategic hashtags.
Growing an idea into a full-fledged business takes time. It rarely happens overnight, and it never happens without some trial and error along the way. But as a business owner, you’re in a great position, because you have the power to grow your business however you choose. If you want to start a blog, you can start a blog. If you want to write a book, you can write a book. The methods you choose are up to you. But no matter what you decide, writing will always be one of the best ways to boost your credibility, connect with others, and grow your business into something profitable and fulfilling.
Meghan Bliss is the owner and head writer at TheLadyinRead.com, a blog for women who read, write, and want to be read.
After almost four years in finance, Meghan quit her job to write full time. She spends her days blogging, writing novels, and trying to stay off of Pinterest. She also copyedits books, newsletters, manuals, and basically anything else you throw at her — including subtitles and restaurant menus. Her first novel will be released this year.
When she’s not writing or editing, you can find her reading, clumsily practicing the ukulele, or watching old sitcoms and superhero movies with her husband, cat, and baby-to-be.
And, as always, trying to find the perfect shade of red lipstick.