Writing—a skill that sets marketers apart!

By Peter Kienle, FSMPS, CPSM, MBA posted 11-11-2013 12:45



Recently I had lunch with a young lady who had a journalism degree and was interviewing for an AEC marketing position. In her favor, she had interned at a construction firm where her Dad worked, and became familiar with the terminology and the AEC industry. I told her that in addition to her great internship experience she had something that few technical professionals have – an ability to write well. She seemed shocked at my statement, assuming that technical professionals could write well.

The skill of writing is a valuable asset. Marketers frequently ask me how they can break into the inner circle of management in their firm. I tell them you must offer something they need but do not have. Examples include good people skills, public speaking skills and writing skills. Also, I recommend that marketers study and become proficient in networking and public speaking which can lead to opportunities to train technical professionals in their firm.

Consider the following tips for building value in your firm as a writer.

  • Offer to help write professional articles. Most technical professionals have little time and are not required to take communication classes in their college programs. They write as best they can. If you see a great project that your firm completed, tell the technical professional it has a good chance of being published – it just needs to be written and submitted and then offer to help. If you do not know what the best publications are, ask them what publications their clients read. From my experience, magazines and related publications are hungry for good articles but it may not occur to a technical professional that their project could be published.
  • Teach a basic writing course. The Internet provides material to include in a basic writing course, or if you know one, ask an English teacher. Management must recognize the need for this training and support you in requiring technical staff to attend. Otherwise, technical professionals have little motivation to attend since their primary roles are to provide technical services. However, learning good oral and written communication is essential to providing quality services – an essential component in retaining good clients and securing new ones.
  • Offer top management your writing skills. If management has a meeting, offer to attend, take notes and distribute a summary to the attendees. If you are not invited to attend, offer to take the notes and write them up. Strategic planning is another great opportunity that requires recording of discussion, strategies and tactics that become part of a plan to move the company forward. Offer to attend and be the recorder who takes the notes and writes summaries for distribution.

Think of other ways you might contribute your writing skills even though it may add more work to your responsibilities. It can lead to a change in the perception of your value to the firm. Wouldn’t it be great if when you voice your concern that a proposal has little or no chance of winning, they agree? You will have changed your role from a “proposal pusher” to an influencer. Think of the time you might gain when that happens – more time to use your talents to benefit the firm as well as  your career.