A Wordsmith's Manifesto
Part 3: Craft versus Content
From cookbook authors to playwrights, there are two basic types of writers: those whose work is content-oriented, and those whose work is craft-oriented. Content-oriented writers are subject matter experts who can type. Craft-oriented writers are communications experts who specialize in gathering, processing, and presenting information. A content-oriented writer can be helpful sometimes. A craft-oriented writer can be a valuable ally in a variety of situations.
the limits of knowledge
When you buy a book on portrait photography, a portrait photographer probably wrote it. The fact that his or her book made it to print makes him or her a writer. He or she probably knows a thing or two about writing, but don’t ask a portrait photographer to write a news release on a corporate merger.
the possibilities of skill and talent
Some people can sketch a remarkable likeness with pencil and paper in a flash. Others can deliver an excellent speech with no preparation at all. The sketch artist and impromptu speaker do not necessarily specialize in any subject. Skill and talent make their sketches and speeches exceptional.
a pen mightier than a sword
Similarly, craft-oriented writers can gather, process and present information more successfully than many subject-matter experts even imagine. Rapid learners, they take a fresh, complete approach, valuing objectivity. Comprehending the truth and armed with skill and talent, a craft-oriented writer can help you to get a clear message through the information overload that inundates most target audiences.
It's not what you say but how you say it.
state the goal, provide the information
A craft-oriented writer specializes in wordcraft itself. It does not matter whether the information you need to present is new or old, dull or fascinating. A craft-oriented writer absorbs information like a glutton and aims to communicate the right information effectively to the target reader. The more you involve a craft-oriented writer in the process of achieving these goals, the more value you can reap. That’s because a true wordsmith revels in the challenge of making ideas - any ideas - attract attention and compel action.
the battle for your market’s minds
Think of all those channels on TV, the world on the web, books, magazines, radio, junk mail, voice mail, snail mail, e-mail, telephone, fax, billboards, and newspapers. Any message you need to communicate for any reason - from a sales pitch to simple instructions - will either get through or get lost. The challenge today is to be heard amidst the roar. The competition for attention is fierce. As you face that challenge, a craft-oriented writer can be a valuable ally in the battle for your market’s minds. Win that battle.
- Glenn R Harrington, Articulate Consultants Inc.
Click for A Wordsmith's Manifesto part I
Click for A Wordsmith's Manifesto part II
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