Everyone who does business online should read this article from Contently: "7 Keys to Great SEO for Content Marketers". Yes, the title makes it out for the marketing types, but if you have a website and want people to visit it, then you are essentially a content marketer.
The article is a few months old, so there is a reference to Google Authorship, which is going the way of the dinosaur, so unless you want a really in-depth understanding of how content and SEO work, skip down to the "7 Keys to Successful SEO" section. This is where the magic happens.
What really stuck out to me is how many of these keys and their application have to do with writing, words, communication, and understanding your audience. Not only are these the keys to successful online marketing, but I maintain that they are the characteristics of a good writer. (Just ask my writing class students, who are probably sick of hearing me talk about audience already.)
So, to me, it looks like the meek truly are inheriting the earth, when the principles of good writing are becoming (have become?!) the key to unlocking business success. Of course, I've known it all along, but it's nice to see the mainstream waking up to this reality. It's always been difficult to sell anything if you can't communicate well, but in this age of Content is King, knowing how to write well and tell a good story that your audience wants to hear in a way that they will listen to is the ultimate marketable skill.
If you do fancy yourself a writer...
All great writers still have editors. We all have blind spots. All great writers will tell you that it's nearly impossible to catch your own mistakes. And while you are an expert in your field, I'll bet that field isn't marketing. A set of eyes that are keyed in to the finer points of writing for your particular outlet (front page, sales page, Facebook, Twitter, blog) looking over your copy will be able to tighten it up and make it that much more effective.
Not to mention, a good marketing editor will ask you questions that you may not have even thought to ask yourself. Good content relies on an understanding of the purpose and audience for the content. For example, when I write for a client I will interview the key person/people before writing anything, to get a feel for how the business works, what the focusof their site/business is, how well they know their target market, and their Unique Sales Proposition (what makes them special). I also work with any other marketing folks they have, to ensure that we are "rowing in the same direction," as far as SEO keywords, meta descriptions, tags, and headlines. These questions are key to making sure that a website's content works most efficiently and effectively.
All of this is to say that the words you use in your marketing efforts are IMPORTANT. They may well be the most important piece of the online marketing pie. So treat them that way. Investing in good writing will pay off in the end, if you do it right and give it time to work.
You are competing with a record number of distractions, the biggest of which is often your customer's own self-interest. Content marketing answers the age-old "What's in it for me?" question by providing interesting, relevant information on a consistent basis in order to win a place in your customer's heart, mind, and attention. As one of the biggies in this space puts it:
"The essence of this [content marketing] strategy is the belief that if we, as businesses, deliver consistent, ongoing valuable information to buyers, they ultimately reward us with their business and loyalty."
(Joe Pulizzi, Epic Content Marketing)
So what if you can't write?
You have a couple options, as I see it.
Yes, you can just say "screw it" and do it all yourself, never mind what anyone else says. But then don't wonder why your website isn't bringing in any leads. There's a lot of great content out there and still only 24 hours in the day. People go where the good stuff is.
"The moral of the story is, well, tell great stories. And do the work to get them discovered."