Being a Creative in a Monetized World
For as long as I can remember, I enjoyed writing. I liked taking the magical imagery in my head and translating it to a medium where others could picture them too. Even when nobody cared to receive my childish tales, I was happy to immerse myself in my own imagery; the giver and the receiver of the words. I told myself stories constantly; in the playground, on the walk home, pacing in my grandparent’s garden and in bed falling asleep. As I grew, my skill at translating those images did too. My vocabulary expanded, my grammar improved and my spelling finally caught up in the end. (Spelling was always my weak point.
When eventually the innocent dreams of childhood began to fade, I realised that being a writer was probably unrealistic. One in a million make it and that likely wasn’t going to be me. I hadn’t even finished a single project yet without starting a new one. I wasn’t sure what else I wanted to do; bouncing between teacher, psychologist and whatever else seemed possible. But deep in my heart I knew writing would always be my calling.
Looking for jobs that included writing, there honestly wasn’t much. Writing was a skill, sure. A skill that many jobs demanded even. But there was little creativity involved in that. It became increasingly apparent that whenever doing anything, you’re only going to get paid for it if it reliably earns your employer money. Making products earns money. Serving customers earns money. Coming up with a book idea that may or may not catch on with the public? Not so much. Creative writing isn’t exactly a reliable earner. Publishers are turning down books and ideas all the time. So those rare positions scriptwriting or developing lore for games are about as realistic to get into as achieving hollywood fame or becoming a best-seller on your own.
Introducing Marketing – Not a Good First Impression
The only job I can recall that claimed to be creative and involve writing, was marketing, aka advertising. Advertising means sales and sales means profit. Reliable for earning, thus a realistic career path. I was not impressed. Advertising was not something I wanted to consider. Advertising was immoral. It was those annoying things on TV that made you hate the product being shown even more than if they had just left you alone to watch your program. They were also those spammy pop-ups on various websites and obnoxious banners on the side of buses. And none of it – not a single thing – appealed to me.
I saw the whole phenomenon as finding more inventive ways to lie and manipulate as far as I was concerned. And if that’s the standpoint you take when you think of marketing, I don’t blame you one iota. But hear me out… you probably know where this is going from the title.
I’m still a writer. I still write primarily creative fiction. I haven’t given up on writing a book or making a full-time living from commissions one day. (Hopefully sooner rather than later.) However, despite all that , I find myself in a job which is largely marketing. I wasn’t searching for a marketing job. In fact, the position was something entirely different when I first applied. But over time it evolved and I’ve found that I actually really like the stuff. It is pretty creative. And it’s not actually as fictitious and pushy as many TV ads are.
Around the same time I was learning how to post and promote my own writing. As an aspiring author and freelance writer, I’ve grown my own following from scratch on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. And my next project will be YouTube, once I can post consistently. It’s been a journey of learning both at work and independently, researching, using various tools and trying things out. I’m proud to say I consider myself pretty knowledgeable on marketing concepts and applications by now.
The Moral Side of Marketing
So what have I learned? How come I’m no longer against marketing like I used to be? When talking specifically about social media marketing, you’re not forcing anybody to look at it like with a commercial break or acting as an ugly blight on the landscape. It fits naturally in with the ecosystem of the internet and can actually prove useful to the right audience.
Assuming the product you’re advertising isn’t completely trash, there’s probably at least one person who needs it. Someone who would find it useful and actually be pleased to find your product post. Furthermore, if you’re advertising for a small business, a charity, an independent freelancer with a skill, or even yourself, you start to realise that your posts are helping someone (yourself included) make a living. You’re doing good.
The Creative Side of Marketing
Now with the morality of the occupation aside, I can’t argue that marketing is as creative as writing a novel or building a fictitious universe. But it does allow you to exercise your creative skill.
Each and every post needs to have the right tone, be it casual or formal, and you have to make it catching. You have to make sure it leaves a positive impression on the people who see it. Furthermore, 90% of customers want to be told a story in their advertising. Some smaller product posts don’t really allow for it, but if you plan right, you should be able to insert stories into blog posts, video ads or other promotional content like positive reviews and success stories.
There’s no limits really. If you can create something that will engage customers and bring awareness to your business at the same time, then it’s totally a viable way to market.
On a smaller scale, minimalism, streamlined messages and aesthetically pleasing formatting are very large parts of an effective marketing post. For those that prefer pure conceptual creation, perhaps the occupation isn’t for you. But for creatives like me, who like things to look nice and enjoy attending to the visuals and organisation, this can be hugely satisfying. Even if you’re bad at art, I’ve discovered that using simple software like canva or wondershare filmora can allow you to create beautiful visuals. So paired with writing, marketing is a whole artistic three-course meal.
With all this said and done, I won’t try to tell you that marketing is equivalent to true creative freedom. I won’t try to tell you it’s the best thing ever. It always keeps you chained to a company or product and unless you’re working for yourself, you’ll usually have to answer to a boss with online growth that justifies your work.
As a child or as a teen, I doubt I would have been convinced by this article. I wouldn’t have rejoiced at finding my dream career. And even now I have no intention of putting my true creative vision to bed so I can market some products.
All I’m trying to say – and all I’d like you to take away – is that marketing isn’t that terrible. It doesn’t have to be evil. It doesn’t have to be boring. You can do a lot of good for small business and independent trades-people. There’s a tonne of scope for organising, creating, and storytelling. And it can actually be really satisfying to create the perfect eye-catching and beautiful post at the end.
Thank you so much for reading this. I hope you got something from it and have yourself a wonderful day.