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Does Writing Still Matter in Content Marketing?

In the area of content marketing, writing is starting to become undervalued, not unlike most digital content. After all, we’re a society that complains about a free U2 album in iTunes that we didn’t want, or that we’re mad about paying 99-cents for an app that wasn’t life-altering.

When the web killed newspaper journalism, it started to take down anything that looked like a bunch of words. Now blogs are ghost authored on the cheap by anonymous Elance mercenaries in far away lands that kind of understand the topic, but care more about clickbaiting and SEO. Today’s whitepapers read more like brochure copy than reasoning. This is not new, of course. Companies have been copying text from each other since the early days to save on writing time.

But what’s next? Farming out the writing of your business plan? Your mission statement? Copying your competitor’s webinars? Are we at the point where words are worth so little?

The expectations of writing are changing. It’s no longer about opening up Word and hammering and editing some well thought out, well-researched treatise. It’s about how many views will I get. How many likes. How many shares. It’s all about the subject line or title. Substance is secondary, if I get a click-thru.

Many data-driven marketers argue that no one wants to read anymore, so add lots of visuals. And it’s true that infographics and visuals are highly successful in terms of achieving a greater reach and conveying information, but here’s an interesting thought:

What if no one reads anymore, because they aren’t moved by what was written, because you’ve gutted the heart of a human voice from it?

I submit this: There is no analytic for the value a good idea or a profound argument. There is no Elance proposal for that.

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