Content Writing for Clients
Why I love it and how it doesn’t make me less of a journalist or a writer. Warning: Some serious inspiration may come along when you click on the article.
When I say that I’m a journalist and a content creator, people usually forget the latter. The ‘journalist’ part is the exciting one.
What could it be? War correspondent? First rows during Paris Fashion week? Carrie Bradshow Parisian style?
Well, had I chosen to become a war correspondent, I would have been stopped at the departure gate by one very angry Ukrainian Mother.
I did study fashion journalism. My road has taken me elsewhere since then.
I’ve never liked Carrie. The show was ok for the time being, however, I don’t see anything inspiring about it for me in 2020.
I explain what I do as a journalist. Then I want to talk about content. Actually, I ALWAYS want to talk about content.
“I create content for companies”, I elaborate, with my back straight and proud.
“Ah got it. Did you interview any celebrities? You must be paid like a lot for being on TV!”
It hurts my attitude towards content — the thing I do most of the time. Because I love it: I LOVE doing content for other people and companies.
Where is the creativity in that? Aren’t you supposed to be at least like a proper book if writing is your career?
Well, one doesn’t exclude the other but I am not here to defend my creativity as a writer of a potential book. I am here for content.
I love looking for the company’s voice and brainstorming about it with clients. When I finally learn to speak in that voice, I even forget how terrible of a singer I am. I was bullied by teachers in music school for my low voice actually.
That was not the voice I was supposed to develop. I had to discover many of them, dozens of voices to be able to put words into sentences for all kinds of companies and people.
Some people feel sorry for me.
Isn’t it boring? Is that what you really wanted? Did you leave your office job to write for somebody else? Why didn’t you stay at the office, at least you had health insurance? Unemployment benefits if you get fired? Did you think of working for the BBC? CNN? Starting your own channel? Working for a REAL newspaper?
I don’t walk around Parisian streets looking for inspiration and I don’t drink on my own in a studio, following the “Write drunk, edit sober” manifesto by Hemingway. I write plans and goals for a week. I don’t have long philosophical conversations on the complex life stories of my protagonists. We usually just Skype for no longer than 20 minutes.
I realize I can’t hurt because of somebody’s expectations towards my job. It’s going to be a stressful life if I explain myself all the time. I go back to my to-do list and my pragmatic, beloved content.
This is where I find my freedom and my insights. From working with people, different companies, backgrounds, and experiences. You don’t get that in Instagram quotes and Youtube channels. When the content you create goes through you, it stays with you. My most exceptional “a-ha” moments happened when I was writing something VERY remote from lifestyle, fashion, life in Paris, and relationships.
I love assembling puzzles from ideas, dream readers, and SEO. Looking for perfect, yet optimized synonyms, adjusting them to client’s expectations, and building the basis of the article… This s**t actually gives me butterflies.
Sometimes I am afraid there won’t be enough of me for all the ideas that fly towards me. By the end of the day, both my table and brain are covered with post-its. I take care of those ideas by carefully re-writing them into my notebook for my future articles: for me, for my clients, and maybe for the future book.
Recently I wrote an article on cybersecurity. I understand that for many a test ‘Pick your favorite color and we will tell you what kind of cactus you are’ on Buzzfeed is more exciting.
Then I see a quote: “For any security, you need to define your weaknesses. Decide how to handle them. Always improve your security”.
Isn’t that the basis of 50% of motivational speeches? You can write a whole article (or a book!) based on this quote only. Maybe, throw in a self-improvement course as well*.
*sign up today and get a 50% discount, only two spots left.
Define your weaknesses = awareness.
Handle your weaknesses = make a plan, break a pattern, notice your triggers.
Improve your security = the basis of any self-development practice, whether you call it kaizen, atomic habits, perfect routine, 1% a day makes you 365% better every year, you name it.
This was just ONE quote from an article about cybersecurity. The article didn’t even slightly touch the subject of self-development.
The knowledge you get from working with others is endless. The fun part about it is that very likely the new subject won’t interest you. Then you sit down … and with the right attitude, the freaking magic comes into play.
The word you had to google yesterday is your best friend today. Your vocabulary grows, your writing is smoother and you build character by working on subjects you don’t find attractive. First, they may look boring and scary and then you find yourself in a rabbit hole of a dozen tabs.
The subject is no longer a stranger, you can’t imagine not being familiar with some of its sides.
Everybody always knows something that you don’t. Doing content for other people expands this knowledge beyond your personal curiosity. You dive deep in instead of just testing the waters and going back to familiar grounds.
Writing for yourself is amazing. Writing on your favorite subjects for your readers who follow you for who you are is even better.
However … You always write about something that triggers you, touches you, and evokes something. Emotions, memories, smells, loves, dreams, coincidences pour themselves onto the paper.
Content is different. The client says he would like an article about a toaster with remote control. And LED lights. Also, in the morning it talks to the coffee machine telling it to get started.
“Ermmm, okay”, you say first. There is no way how that toaster can fit in your kitchen, let alone your head.
Once you are done with the article, you can’t imagine living without that toaster yourself. Even though you are gluten-free.
Love is a process. When I am writing content, I am in my own world that expands with every word. It is a proper relationship and there is no place for third parties and unwanted opinions.
So, when they ask me about my job, I answer, I nod politely and I tell the story about how I got tear gas in my eyes about 20 times a day during protests in Paris
Then I go and get that toaster.