I loathe the term “writer.”
It doesn’t really describe what I do. Sure, I “write” words on a page, on a website, on a blog, yadda, yadda.
I turn plain words into magic. But in today’s day and age, “writer” just isn’t going to cut it for me.
The words I churn out — my labor of love — can’t just be called writing. It’s why I hesitate and stumble a bit, when I introduce myself:
“Hi, I’m Tenisha Mercer, a writer.”
See how blah that sounds?
Writers Get No Love
I officially stopped calling myself a writer in 2007. Because the term gets no respect. Everyone and their momma thinks they can write (we know they can’t) professionally. Calling yourself a writer denotes nothing — no special education, no training, no nothing.
Writing is one of those professions in which folks claim it, but really aren’t. I suck at things like plumbing. I would never attempt to put in a toilet, a sink or anything with water flowing through it. Even if I could install a sink, you’d never, ever hear me calling myself a plumber.
Yet, folks do it all the time when it comes to writing.
They write something for their mom and suddenly they’re a writer, which is a very subjective term. And don’t even get me started on folks who ask writers to “look over something” for free. It’s a term I abhor: It’s free labor. You rarely get a free consultation from a plumber. He charges you $75+ an hour the moment his foot crosses your threshold.
Trust me, a plumber isn’t going to look over your toilet for free.
It also didn’t help that writers get little respect in most boardrooms. And so I abandoned the term, with a quickness. I just had to add something in front of it — copywriter, SEO writer, technical writer, nything than just a writer.
Don’t Call Me a Writer
I’m not just a writer, damn it!
I do so much more than just write, and so do most writers I know, especially if you write online.
To me, a “writer” is someone working on a book or a novel (of which I am) and that’s it. It’s writing under their author name or, if they’re lucky, they are ghostwriting for some famous celebrity.
I am, what industry neophytes have dubbed since the late 2000s, a content marketer.
Yeah, that sounds about right. Sounds so much sexier than a writer.
I don’t just write words on a page.
I develop a strategy to help sell those words. I’m marketing clients’ services through the use of content — blogs, website content, case studies, videos, etc. This IS rocket science. Because not everyone can do it, and do it right.
I develop branding, buyer personas and exercise my brand storytelling muscles. I figure out what story I want to tell. And then I make my content sing, with all that stuff that web writers do — infusing my copy with some branding, sales messaging, call to actions, making sure it flows just so.
And, lest I not forget, making sure the search engine Gods find the copy I so lovingly created, with the right keywords, all while making it flow and not be all spammy and weird.
Whew! That’s a lot, and I get tired just thinking about it. I do more than just “write.” Because if I do my job right, buyers do one of several things — they feel compelled to buy, sign up or they click for more information.
If I do my job right, they feel moved to do something, not just click onto the next thing.
How on earth can that just be called writing?
Tenisha Mercer is an SEO writer in Atlanta with content on page #1 of Google, Yahoo and Bing. She is a digital marketing expert, an Atlanta web content writer and SEO copywriter and social media expert in Atlanta who specializes in powerful, high-impact copywriting that clicks with customers.
Tenisha Mercer has led digital marketing, content strategy and produced and managed content for clients in health care, retail and technology, including the CDC, The Home Depot, Sears, GMAC, NCR, General Motors, 1-800-Flowers and small businesses around the country.
Contact her at info@MercerMediaGroup.com.