Among the artistic community, there’s a whole lot of stigma surrounding copywriting, marketing, and what’s generally known as ‘selling out’. As a playwright and a theatre artist, I see where this aversion stems from. Impactful art comes from the heart and the soul, not from the wallet.
But bills exist, and starving artists aren’t really much use to anyone, so support ourselves we must. More and more creative writers are falling into web copywriting as day jobs because they require similar skills. This can actually be super helpful for creative writers because it can help improve our craft. Although creative writing and copywriting have vastly different goals, both mediums inform one another. So before you stick up your nose at marketing, consider how it could inform your true passion. Because my primary medium is theatre, I’m mostly going to refer to playwriting.
Get To The Point
In content writing, it’s important to be clear about what the point of your piece is from the beginning. A lot of vagueness or mystery gets in the way: you want to be clear about what kind of article you’re writing, what it’s about, and what the reader can take away. But this is also important when you’re writing a play, a short story, a novel, whatever!
Sometimes when you’re working on a play, you can fall into the trap of setting up the world without driving the action forward. Copywriters know to get right into the action with the preamble. Simplicity is the hallmark of copywriting, but it’s also incredibly important in creative writing. When confronted with areas that need improvement, the simplest solution is often the best.
Being Aware of Your Audience
When writing creatively, a very common piece of advice is to follow your heart. Don’t cater to what others want you to write: your greatest work is deep inside yourself, and you just need to pour it out onto paper. Although finding your voice and being true to what you want to write about is imperative, connecting to an audience is equally essential. If there’s anything copywriters are great at, it’s knowing their audience.
Something I’m noticing more and more now is that many writers believe that their audience is universal: everyone will want to read whatever it is they write. Yes, great writing taps into a universal truth, but not every piece of writing is for everyone. I think it’s fair to say that most Americans have grown up reading books by white cis men and being told that the white cis male perspective is universal. A lot of people aren’t white cis men, and have wonderful, varying perspectives to share! Owning your point of view and recognizing your target audience (especially in theatre) will strengthen your writing and your connection to the world at large. This isn’t sucking up to your audience, or compromising your artistic integrity: it’s realizing your art always exists within a given context. Which brings us to our final point . . .
Context Context Context!
When writing content, good copywriters know to consider the context they’re posting it within. Nobody ever writes in a vacuum. Unfortunately, creative writers put themselves pedestal sometimes, deluding themselves into thinking that they somehow transcend the political, social or cultural climate. This is a total fallacy. What makes writing mean anything is the interaction between the individual and the outer world. The meaning of whatever your writing changes every day because the world continues to change, so staying in the know, politically, culturally, and socially is essential.
There are lots of writing techniques that we can borrow from different mediums to improve what makes our hearts go pitter- patter! And we don’t have to starve! As long as you stay true to the goals of whatever medium you’re in, porque no los dos!