Worth Considering: What kind of writer do you need?

Worth Considering from Matt HuggBob Bly, a commercial freelance copywriter, puts it this way:

“Journalists are taught to investigate, dig for dirt and expose the negative side of any story.”

“Fiction writers want to express their innermost feelings or write a story that excites, entertains or moves their audience.”

“Magazine writers have as their twin objectives entertainment and education.”

But, he said, “copywriters… are advocates for their clients.”

[The Writer Magazine, September 2009]

These are insightful observations with huge implications for nonprofit organizations, especially for nonprofits looking to promote their programs with limited resources in budgets and staff.

Ask yourself, what kind of writing am I doing?  What kind of writers do I have on my staff? How does my writer’s background impact the kind of work s/he produce for our cause?

Have you sent a journalist on a magazine assignment? Is your volunteer – a great fiction writer – writing an investigative piece on a local issue? Do you have all of them – journalists, magazine writers, fiction writers trying to write fundraising letters and promotional materials?

I’m a big advocate for setting the right people onto the right job. But I realize that it’s not always possible to have a stable of writers at your fingertips to do the kinds of work you need – there’s financial considerations, of course and all too often, political considerations, too. So it’s important to have writers who know the difference between kinds of writing, and then respect the differences between the kinds of writing you need when you need that kind of writing.


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