Want to Become a Professional Writer in 2020? Statistics Say You Should
Writing has changed a lot over time. It’s been leveraged, weaponized, idolized, and feared at different points throughout history. We could talk about that for a whole series of blog posts. But that’s not really necessary. In order to understand what writing professionally is going to look like in the 2020s, it makes more sense to take a look back to more recent years to see how writing has been used professionally in the 1900s.
Journalism in the 1900s
The writing buzzword of the 1900s was Journalism. However, although newspaper writing, magazines, and ads were a primary mode for writers to make a killing, even last century saw technological innovation threaten the future of journalism. Things like radio, movies and television threatened the stranglehold on the dissemination of information that was once held by print media.
Writing in the 2000s
Although writing saw many innovations in the 1900s, I don’t think anybody was prepared for the incredible change that occurred in the 2000s. Having been born in the mid-90s, people of my generation have a unique look at all this. We saw it happen, but in only an uninvolved, passive way. We didn’t lose our writing jobs, because we didn’t have them. And today, now we have the opportunity to actually begin our careers in what so many people call “new media”, which really doesn’t need that title anymore. After all, new media today is just media. Where is the “old” media? I know very few people anymore who have cable television. Maybe that’s just me. I’m not even sure if Starbucks has newspapers available anymore. It’s all gone online.
We were young through the age of newspapers folding up, and major bookstores closing. Print, which stranglehold slowly diminished throughout the 1900s, was finally gone almost entirely.
Print in the 2000s
Although print today obviously does not hold a monopoly, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t still have its place. Print is still very much used in marketing materials, and entertainment. For example, small, indie bookstores have seen a resurgence in recent years. Direct mail is going strong. Many argue that print is thriving in the digital age. That being what it may, I don’t think that it’s really a realm that a person should expect to build a job around. Can you? I’m sure, some can. But it’s not where the biggest opportunity is anymore.
Unsurprisingly, the internet is now the dominant way that people engage with content. Indeed, while working with print material is still relevant, early writers should seek out writing skills more applicable to the online, digital world.
What Do You Need to do to be a Writer 2020?
Today, digital marketing is a growing field. And it’s a broad one, with many different sets of skills necessary to do it successfully. Not all are writing skills, but content should be at the core of your digital marketing strategy. Today, content is the primary way that people engage with your brand. There are others who will promote strange buzzwords, trying to promote the so-called “new wave” or next big thing in marketing. That being what it may, there’s no replacement for content anytime soon. The methods with which companies leverage content might change, how they handle customer journeys, and timing and analytics will evolve. But content will still be core. In a digital age, writing skills are more necessary than ever before.
In my book, Gen Zer’s Guide to Content Marketing , I frequently mention the need to cultivate excellent writing skills in order to position yourself as an effective content creator in the 2020s. However, there is an added element that you should throw into the mix. In my recent podcast, however, I mostly highlight the business side of content marketing. Because ultimately, content marketing is one-half creative, one-half business. The marketing part of content marketing is knowing how best to spread the information, how to leverage different technology platforms to meet the right people at the right time. And that’s incredible complex in and of itself.
The business part of content marketing is knowing how organizations gain revenue through content. This is something that you should learn, and will help you position yourself as an effective content creator. What’s even more than this, because content marketing and digital marketing are new disciplines, you will need an entrepreneurial spirit to evangelize the work you do to people who need it and could benefit from it.
Statistics Say There Has Never Been a Better Time to Be a Writer
Now, writing has indeed changed forever. But along with this change also comes some significant confusion. For example, many studies and reports say that writer’s wages are lower than ever, with many writers making less than minimum wage. However, there is a clear problem with these statistics and studies. They are not up-to-date with the modern world. They’re lagging behind. Instead of representing the entire scope of writing activities in a content-driven world, they are focusing on more traditional avenues of writing. Today, writers are pragmatic, they are in demand, and they are multi-talented.
Rethinking The Role of the Writer in Social Media: A Writing-Driven Medium
There’s a never-ending slew of new buzzwords and ideas about “what’s next in marketing”. Sure, influencers can be helpful. Micro-influencers can be massively helpful in marketing because they are often untapped. But at the core of social media (and this won’t change anytime soon) is content. Especially written content.
Does that mean that rich content is not incredibly necessary for social media? Not at all. Social media today is composed of videos, photos, and text. But all content relies on written content. And in a world where social media skills are in high demand and indeed, becoming increasingly rarified, it’s more important than ever that writers add excellent social media aptitude to their writer’s wheelhouse.
Don’t believe me? In the 2019 Workforce Report , LinkedIn cites Social Media as one of the most sorely needed and in-demand skills in the San Francisco Bay Area. It’s telling that one of the most advanced job markets and hubs of innovations in the world deems social media as indispensable. Today, in fact, there is a great skills gap, meaning not enough individuals who are highly skilled in social media are available.
Stop listening to bogus studies about how writers make less than ever and start opening up your mind to what it means to be a writer in 2020.
Don’t live in San Francisco but still want to make a killing with your social media prowess? You’re in luck. The skills gap is a global phenomenon. A study from found that hiring for social media mavens was 32% above average.
Writing, Content Creation and Content Marketing Top In-Demand Skills List in 2020
The necessity of social media skills proves how in-demand writing talent is. But it’s not the only skill that tops the charts. Keep in mind, Content Marketing — somewhat new, but more necessary than ever, is now the dominant force in business. And what is ranked as the top, must-have talents in a content marketer in 2020? Well, those would be things like content creation and writing
In fact, a study done by Fractl found that second to social media, content creation was the second most in-demand skill amongst content marketing job postings. And content creation is heavily writing based. Not much further down the list were things like email marketing, SEO, and writing!
Round Off Your Skills to Be a Pro Content Professional!
Some skills will come more easily to writers than others. But it doesn’t hurt to expand your horizons by broadening your skill set and strengthening your foundation. In fact, a lot of what makes you a successful writer in 2020 has to do with how tough you are. Are you mentally tough enough to create your best work under-pressure? Can you handle deadlines, setbacks and disappointments? How quick are you to add new skills to your toolkit? The successful writer in 2020 is able to extend beyond basic writing skills into thing like creating podcasts, videos, learning SEO, marketing automation, and more.
But persevering and getting the best of the best jobs will ultimately come down to how tough you are, how disciplined you can be, and how unerring in direction towards your goal you are, day after day, year after year.
Originally published at https://www.josephwriteranderson.com on April 8, 2020.