There is a new theory around writing on the internet, focused on algorithms and growth marketing. But is it worthwhile, and how long will it last?
Let me start off first by saying that I’m not completely opposed to content writing. There are still elements of the craft that I still use, such as the Unsplash image that starts this post and the newsletter ad that ends it. But I do have quite a few problems with the theory in general.
Content writing is described as a cure-all. It claims to be the best method of marketing in the modern day; that utilizing SEO techniques and headline analyzers will bring your blog from 0 to 100k visits in six months! And perhaps they are right. Perhaps content writing is the best method of marketing. But there’s a big difference between marketing and writing.
I would argue that content writing is not writing. Content writing is algorithmic: it involves obtaining a question from the masses, answering that question in neat little listicle sections, making sure to include your SEO words of choice and to make it over 2,000 words to appease the Google search crawler. You might notice that not a single one of my posts (with the exception of perhaps my earliest) follow these rules. Because I am not marketing. My writing is the product, and I market elsewhere. I suppose in this case you can argue that if you content-write with the intention of marketing a separate product, there is no issue with it. The problem is when you confuse content writing with writing.
See, there is one major difference between content writing and normal writing: content writing can be automated. Hell, it already is. So anyone who wants to make a living as a content writer is quickly finding themselves wanting to find a living as an AI tweaker, or otherwise not a living at all. Like I said, this isn’t an issue if you are a marketer by trade — it is an issue if you are a writer by trade.
So, are you a marketer or a writer? Despite my bias towards writing, I’ll admit there’s no wrong answer. It’s just up for you to decide.