Why Companies Should Care About Writers

In my 15 years as a writer and editor, I’ve read a lot of books on penning job-winning resumes and cover letters, all with the same takeaway: Companies prefer applicants who quantify the value they can add to the organization. Can you show you achieved $5,000 in sales in the first quarter for Plastictech Naturals? What if, as the supervisor of the lead development team at Flexilogic Pharmaceuticals, you reduced overhead by 75 percent? You’re in!

This makes sense, since companies are in the business of making money. They like saving money, too, since it gives them more to invest in profit making. Even non-profits want to elicit more donations and cut down on expenses. Organizations that hire employees and contractors based primarily on figures and percentages, however, present a challenge for the writers who want to work for them. We traffic in words and phrases, not numbers, and our value may not be as readily obvious to HR.

Writers, after all, aren’t the ones creating or selling the products. We “just” write the brochures, or the press releases or the media briefing sheets about the products. You can’t exactly depict the benefits we offer the company on a spreadsheet. We just make things look pretty. Or, as a sales guy at a trade magazine where I used to work once quipped, “Writing is just what fills the space between the ads.”

This kind of thinking is a mistake. Many businesses’ moneymaking efforts depend heavily on writing. When your salespeople go out into the field, what do they bring with them? Brochures, case studies and other types of collateral that help educate the potential customer about your company and convince them to purchase your products. When your vice president lands a coveted profile in a prominent trade magazine, chances are it’s thanks to the winning pitch or solid press release your PR firm or in-house marketing team wrote to the editor of the publication. What about when the organizers of a convention ask your lead developer (whose writing abilities don’t exactly equal her computing skills) to speak on a panel? Wouldn’t it be great if someone could help craft what she is going to say into something coherent and peppy?

Most businesses can’t run properly without a good writer. Not everyone has the ability, time or inclination to perform the necessary writing tasks it takes to get the word out about new products, announce changes in corporate structure or personnel or inform potential customers about how products and services work. Writers also allow your organization to reach prospective customers through a vast array of platforms, including traditional media outlets, public relations deliverables, social media, direct-sales collateral and advertising. This means that the first impression the company makes with its target market is likely through the written word. Organizations that present professional, error-free and engaging copy will receive a much more favorable reception.

This may seem obvious, but think of the number of times you’ve spotted spelling errors during an important PowerPoint presentation, or read a press release that leaves you more confused than informed about the topic. What was your impression of the company? If you were a potential customer, would you want to buy something from that outfit?

Never underestimate the benefits a good writer can bring to your company. Words are on the front line of everything an organization says about itself and its offerings. That’s why it truly makes good business sense to consider writers an important part of your corporate strategy, even if you can’t put an exact figure to their value.