I love poetry. When I’m not writing web content here at CEM, I’m hard at work in a Master of Fine Arts program, writing poetry and also writing critically about contemporary poets. It’s great – I get to devote my life completely to writing. However, there are some things about content writing and creative pursuits that simply don’t match up. Let’s talk a little bit about just what that difference is.
A blog post earlier this year talked about what content marketing can learn from poetry. This blog post definitely offered some enormously useful tips. But there are also some key differences. Here’s one: poetry can be cryptic and mysterious, and it’s allowed to be. But web content absolutely needs a clear takeaway or call to action. If your content isn’t telling your readers what their next steps should be in clear English, then it’s not doing its job. Where a poem can often be interpreted in many different ways, content should leave absolutely no room for misinterpretation.
Similarly, poems often ask questions of their readers, making them wonder about all kinds of topics – life, death, love, and more. Web content isn’t there to ask questions – it’s there to answer them. If you’re going to ask your reader questions, make sure you have a place for them to answer, like a comment box!
A lot of poets become posthumously famous. Emily Dickinson, for one, was virtually unknown as a poet until after she died and all of her papers were discovered. Content writers, take note – your content cannot exist in a vacuum. Your writing should be relevant with what’s happening in the market now. Keep up with what’s trending on Facebook and Twitter, and make sure you’re updating regularly with pertinent content; it shouldn’t waste away in a tower only to be discovered decades later.
While both forms of writing require different strategies, there are some things about writing that are just universally true. What it all comes down to is actually quite simple: good writing and creativity are key, and that’s true for both poetry and web content.
What makes your web content stand out from poetry?