New Study: Writing has Become a “Unicorn Skill.”

Content marketing is critical to sustainable profitability and growth. So shouldn’t your content marketing efforts be of the highest quality?

As an almost-old-timer in the content development game, I perk up whenever I see any argument in support of the “good writing isn’t dead” side. The latest (and a really good one, IMHO): a post at reminding us that design can’t achieve its full potential without high-quality wordcraft, and that for designers, writing is a rare and valuable “unicorn skill.”

Every story—especially yours—needs words.

The post, by Katherine Schwab, drills down into John Maeda’s far-reaching Design In Tech Report 2017 and extracts his conclusions about the evergreen value of good writing—and its perceived rarity in the design profession. In Schwab’s words,
“…few [designers] are just as fluent in their own language as they are in Javascript. That presents a serious problem in terms of design. Users still depend on copy to interact with apps and other products. If designers don’t know how to write well, the final product—be it a physical or digital one—can suffer as a result.”

Designers, developers, strategists and of course writers ALL need to tell stories in ways that people will understand. And in digital communication, you absolutely, positively need readers to RESPOND to your content. That takes word power.

But words inundate us—starting with the roughly 6 billion text messages sent in the US daily. Good writing shouldn’t be solely the province of mythical, one-horned equines, in any field.

How to put more horsepower behind YOUR content.

Maeda places the onus on design education for raising up writing skills in the design profession.

But what about right now? How do you, as the owner or marketing manager of an SMB, maximize the word power of your creative team?

  1. Establish and maintain clarity around your brand. It’s the foundation of visual and verbal persuasion in any medium. Clarity around messaging and desired audience response is equally vital.
  2. Remember your buyer personas and that core tenet of inbound marketing: “Speak to your reader where they are.” “Where they are” could be anywhere from an FAQ page to a spec sheet to a call to action.
  3. Foster collaboration between writers and art directors/designers. Schwab writes, “Trends in digital design emphasize clean lines and few words—giving language itself more weight.” Design and copy must work together to put power behind that weight.
  4. Seek out, engage and retain the best copywriters. The best of the best won’t be just “order takers”; they’ll add value to every assignment with strategic insights on offers, audience, landing pages, etc.

Not convinced? Consider this:

Check out your LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook feed right now. Notice how the graphics and images compete—and how hard the words work to engage you? In the report, R/GA brand designer Jennifer Vano says, “words have the power to change our opinions, incite action, divide or unify us, move us. Words can shape reality.” High-quality, strategy-driven writing can help shape the reality of sustainable growth for businesses and social impact organizations.

What’s your take? Do you also think writing has become a rare “unicorn skill” or do you have access to talent in abundance? Let us know in the comments.

And remember to download our ebook to learn how great content (integrated with marketing automation and sound strategy) can help you corral another elusive unicorn: business growth.