Writers, Who Needs Them?

writing on paper with computer to the side
Abi Shoaff, Data Dames intern and Malone University English and creative writing major, is often asked what she plans to do with her degree once she graduates. She believes writers can be whatever they want to be, even marketing consultants.

Guest written by a Data Dames Marketing intern, Abi Shoaff

Why English Majors Are the Coolest

As a junior in college majoring in English and creative writing, I oftentimes am asked what exactly it is that I plan on doing with my degree once I graduate. Surely I’ll become a teacher, or I’ll work as a librarian and write short stories on the side with the vain hope of someday making it big as a “real” writer. Right?

Obtaining a degree in English and writing is more than reading classic novels and correcting other people’s grammar. In my field of study, we prioritize communication as an art, both in verbal and written mediums. Anyone with a degree in English is an asset in the workforce because of that skill alone. The ability to communicate effectively in meetings and emails translates into opportunities such as grant, technical, or content writing. Majoring in English is a gateway to finding work on fundraising teams, social media management, or promotional writing for companies who need exposure—not to mention, English majors are the coolest.

Every Profession Needs Good Writers and Skilled Communicators

Hospitals, universities, museums, and law firms all function in different ways to achieve the various goals of their particular workplace, and not a single one of them can operate efficiently without employees who are organized and well-spoken, who think critically, and who effectively communicate on screens or paper as well as face-to-face. In fact, there is hardly a profession which could do without good writers and skilled communicators.

While we are on this track, it is worthwhile to note what constitutes “good” writing. For some big-brand corporations, writing is good so long as it accomplishes the goals of that particular business. Perhaps this fits the ole maxim, the one which says the end justifies the means. For me personally, and for many writers as well as businesses, good writing is not merely centered around pleasing shareholders, making money, or getting good press. Good writers are concerned with helping their customers, writing ethically with the intent to meet their customers’ needs, and uphold the integrity of their business partners. In this way, writing is about more than the writer herself. I believe it was the late author Toni Cade Bambara who said, “Writing is a legitimate way, an important way, to participate in the empowerment of the community that names me.”

Creative Writers Can Make Great Marketers

One of the most promising career paths for an English and creative writing professional is in marketing. Data tells a story after all, and who better to tell that story than someone who studies literature day in and day out and also writes stories of their own? Various patterns of critical thought aid English and writing students in telling these stories. Marketing specialists benefit from learning to think through ways of design, strategy, and creativity; all of which are facets of thinking that an English student is likely familiar with, maybe without even knowing it.

Design thinking is the process of seeking to understand the consumer or user, the everyday person, the average Joe. A company which practices design thinking is concerned with the way their audience perceives them—it is all about relating to the consumer and coming up with solution-based responses to whatever issues may exist.

In the same vein is strategic thinking, which emphasizes long-term causes and effects in the business world and prioritizes coming up with ways to ensure the success of a particular business by making decisions that will hold up over time. These critical ways of thinking apply handily to marketing as well as general writing, but maybe even more intersectional is the concept of creative thinking.

Creative thinking, essentially, is the ability to look at something in a new way. This skill is beneficial in all fields of work because it goes hand-in-hand with adaptability. Through my internship with Data Dames, I have learned that it is important in marketing to think creatively in order to help clients receive more traffic on their websites or grow their brick and mortar business. Not all marketing consultants will choose to go about their work in a highly creative way, but being a creative writer myself, I find that creative thinking is one of the most vital processes in the world of marketing. Creative writers are valuable when it comes to pushing favorable advertising, public relations, and networking; additionally, writers who think creatively help to maintain harmony in the workplace by promoting clear communication about various new ideas as well as by catering to the creative concepts of others in their workplace.

Skeptical readers, is it still odd to you that a book nerd like me chose to intern with marketing consultants and strategists Jen and Annalisa at Data Dames? I am and always have been a writer. Now, with my education and experience, I am on the path to potentially working in marketing, where I’ll take my skills as a writer and English expert along with what I learn about the analytics side of marketing and apply those skills to finding solutions for real world problems.

I am passionate about writing and language, and likewise passionate about the earth and her inhabitants. Words allow us to connect with one another. They fuel our creative minds and give way to actions; we can build entire worlds and businesses and relationships with words. Like math or science, language is a timeless discipline which can never go out of style and which will never not be in demand. When you look at it that way, you begin to see the value in studying English and connecting writing skills to all sorts of careers—whether it be teacher, librarian, sportscaster, President of the United States, or marketing consultant.

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