The concept of content creation is a construct of the digital marketing age. I suppose you could say, as Matthew Speiser suggests in his online article, “A (Brief) History of Content Marketing”: “For as long as humans have existed, people have been creating content. One could go so far as to argue that cave paintings were the first attempt at communication through content.” Yes, of course, this is true, but it doesn’t capture the modern definition of content creation or the content creators who produce that content.
Content creation is a buzz-phrase of the social-media-obsessed marketing and public relations people among us. I’m going to suggest that large numbers of people who identify themselves as writers are not―they are content creators. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with being a content creator, but it is disingenuous to suggest you are a writer if you’re not. Let’s begin with some definitions for argument’s sake.
What then is a writer? A writer writes. But you might reasonably argue, a content creator also writes. Although that may be true, that does not make that person a writer.
This week on WRITE. FIX. REPEAT., I’m talking about how we identify ourselves as writers and why it matters. The question we begin with is: How can you figure out if you’re a writer in the true sense of the word or merely a content creator?
The telltale signs of content creators:
- You spend more time blogging, tweeting (or reading tweets), posting to Facebook, contributing to conversations on writers’ groups on LinkedIn etc., than you do on your private writing.
- Every time you post on one of those sites mentioned above, you have a goal in mind: get more ‘likes,’ new followers, new friends, clicks through to the material you’d like them to buy/read.
- You spend a lot of time thinking about how to find an idea that will ‘sell.’
- You spend more time writing online reviews of other people’s books than you do on your writing in the hopes that they’ll someday review yours.
- You don’t own a single reference book on the writing process (grammar, style, punctuation, syntax, word choice, editing etc.)
Please don’t tell me you’re a writer―or pretend to be one in a writers’ group―if you’re really a content creator. That’s all.