Why you need writers in your business: The art of storytelling
“It’s easier to teach business skills to a writer than it is to teach business majors how to tell stories.” — Jim Sollisch
Writers transform the ordinary, everyday moments into art. Why are they essential in businesses? Writers are storytellers. Embed narratives into your product, and you have engagement, retention, and most importantly you give users a sense of purpose.
“The arts especially address the idea of aesthetic experience. An aesthetic experience is one in which your senses are operating at their peak; when you’re present in the current moment; when you’re resonating with the excitement of this thing that you’re experiencing; when you are fully alive.” — Sir Ken Robinson
Writers give meaning to the ordinary. A blade of grass in a compelling story somehow feels relevant. Writers make products feel more intimate — like the whole experience is made just for you, and you alone.
This doesn’t mean companies should just hire more writers, or give them more responsibility. It’s a fundamental shift in thinking about how writers function in organisations. Like designers aren’t just there to finalize colours and choose a font — writers aren’t just around to tweak microcopy on a finalized product.
Writers are already embedded in teams at the forefront of interaction design and A.I., helping human to computer conversation feel natural. Forget spell check and focus on the art of communication at its core, it’s about understanding how people think and how to make them feel a certain way.
So, how do you hire writers? Companies are generally looking for a good communicator who can extend their skills across various platforms, and spell check, of course. However, writers are much more than grammar and tone.
Employers should ignore job specific skills and look for craft specific skills.
Writers who already apply their craft effectively across a variety of media, and are open to the applications of their skillset across industries are a good start.
Products and companies evolve. So should their language. Communication should be adaptive. Writers are used to iterating. Drafting, editing, rewriting. They aren’t opposed to receiving feedback — in fact — their craft relies on it. On that note, they’re also accustomed to rejection and criticism.
Let’s reposition how we see the craft of writing in building great products and companies. Not everyone can write — but I think everyone needs a writer.