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Training Your Staff to be Better Writers Could Be a Tremendous Waste of Time And Resources

By Steve Smith

As I participated in a social media content management webinar recently, a comment from the moderator came as such a shock to me that I could hardly believe my ears. What did I hear that was such an affront to my content creator’s sensibilities? He was strongly advocating for the training of marketing department staff to become better writers so they could generate content at a consistently high quality level.

In this article I will tell you why I believe this is a fundamentally bad idea.

Whether the original content is channeled to an email campaign, a series of feature stories, science writing, your annual report, or any one of a dozen other demands, I believe your healthcare content marketing program deserves better.

Your department may not stand the strain

The strain caused by trying to extract a consistent volume of original content for SEO website copy, feature articles, blog posts and science writing from the typically understaffed marketing department can have serious consequences. Without the necessary bandwidth, something’s got to give and it’s usually the quality of the content.

Take a page from nonprofit fundraising executives, for example. Most of them know they’re better off not trying to write all those fundraising letters and email campaigns on their own. They partner up with professional writers to make the most of there “asks” and maximize engagement with often-diverse communities.

You’re not in the training business

Nothing is more powerful than authentic stories about genuine human experiences. They make emotional connections. They “stick” long after marketing messages are forgotten. But sharing those stories requires a bit of storytelling skill.

If your goal is to create content that will be published three years from now, training your marketing department staff to be better writers might be feasible. But if you need it three days from now, better think again.

An important point to be made here – and I’m sure this will come as a shock to exactly no one – is that each of the people in the typical marketing department is absolutely convinced that she/he is a good writer. The folks in your marketing department are awesome, but not at everything. So your biggest challenge may just be convincing the Hemingway in your group to close the thesaurus and work on something else.

No one has the time

Today’s typical marketing department is understaffed. While the headcount has been reduced, there’s been no reduction in the number of projects and priorities that have to be managed. The coordinator is juggling dozens of lower-level tasks, each of them having to be done right now. The marketing director is putting out fires. The VP is stuck in a series of meetings that run much too long and has ribbon-cutting events all week. So content writing is either nudged to the back burner or pushed haphazardly to the various channels in a frightening state. Opportunities are lost, embarrassing typos go unchecked. The brand’s image is tarnished. No one is happy. Does that sound like your department?

It’s more cost-efficient to outsource

Hire a full-time employee to create content? It’s done all the time. The Content Specialist, or whatever other title you want to give this person, will cost the company conservatively around $75,000 a year when you factor in the cost of benefits. When you outsource, you pay only for the services you actually need, and nothing more. Having the flexibility to hire different writers with specific expertise can give you another advantage. For example, you might want to have a go-to writer to handle most general health and wellness topics, then a science writer for more complex or scientific content. This is precisely why Consonant Custom Media has a stable of writers with different backgrounds and specialties.

Writers save the day

Writers are people who make a living creating content. The experienced ones can produce very high quality work in a short period of time, using language, grammar and storytelling skill to construct compelling copy to make emotional connections, articulately engage followers and stimulate profitable consumer action. And the more you work with one of these amazing humans, the better their work will get because they will develop a familiarity with your brand and its voice, hitting the creative target faster and more efficiently, with fewer edits and revisions.

With a good writer on the job, you’ve found the best of both worlds. Your department’s content creation bandwidth is expanded significantly, while your people have more time to get things done. You’re all breathing a bit easier, managing instead of just coping. The productivity level goes up, the stress level goes down.

Start sharing the stories that matter! Schedule a Consultation

Find out how our content marketing and storytelling services can help you restore order, get more done and maintain quality. Contact us for a consultation. We’ll focus on your current needs by phone or videoconference and come up with a custom-made content marketing solution.

We have the writers. All we need is you.

Read more: 

The Case for True Storytelling

When Your Stories Deserve a Journalist's Savvy

When and Why Do You Need a Science Writer?

About Consonant Custom Media

Consonant Custom Media provides content marketing and storytelling for hospitals, health systems, nonprofits, foundations and life sciences innovators who want to make more meaningful connections with their communities of interest. We create original content that is truly consonant, or in harmony, with our clients' brand values and drives profitable consumer action.Clients use our original content strategically, to reach specific objectives in perception management, physician relations, service line development, sales and donor development. 

Schedule a Consultation




Consonant Custom Media
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Mike Eisgrau
Dir. of Business Development

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Tampa Bay

Stephen A. Smith
Publisher | Creative Director 

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John Wark
Consulting Editor | Dir. of Business Development

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