So You Want To Be A Firearms Journalist?
“It’s a great program but there is way too much writing!” This is a comment seen often on SDI’s Facebook page as well as in email correspondence the school receives on a regular basis, especially regarding SDI’s associate’s program. Without going into the details of how writing is an essential part of higher education, it is easy to empathize with this feedback. Writing can be a drag if you are forced to do it. Somebody enrolling in a gunsmithing school may not be accustomed to writing a great deal and it may not be an expected part of the education. Seeing value in writing can be difficult, but seeing writing as learning to communicate…that’s a different story.
“So, you want to be an outdoor writer?” This was the subject of an article that floated across our emails at SDI awhile back. It detailed the competitive world of trying to make a living by writing about outdoor pursuits. Many people pursue this route and visualize making a living by hunting and fishing. This article on outdoor writing introduced prospective writers to the grind involved in this line of work. Writing is indeed a difficult career and is highly competitive between writers. The intent is not to tell Sonoran Desert Institute (SDI) graduates to go out and become writers. The intent is to demonstrate an avenue to gaining more business as a gunsmith by utilizing writing in your approach to marketing.
When a gunsmith opens his doors for the first time, it is a daunting exercise. The gunsmith typically has their nerves wracked with the stress of constantly trying to find new clients. Writing about gunsmithing, about your experiences as a gunsmith, and about the various firearms you encounter can be a terrific way to expose yourself to a wider audience as well as gain credibility in your industry.
“Isn’t marketing expensive?” Nope, not at all. Utilizing writing as a method of marketing your business may possibly be one of the cheapest routes you can take. Most businesses need a website and there are countless free blog-based websites out there. WordPress is one example. Your domain name will be your only cost. You can literally have a domain name and create a website in about a half a day. Your website does not have to be fancy; it just needs to communicate what you do and why your services are valuable. And that’s where writing comes in.
Once you get your website up and running, just start writing. You can write about your daily projects, your challenges as a gunsmith, problems you see with certain firearms, and heck, you can write about anything you like so long as you make it relevant to your business. Expand the viewership of your writing by starting a business page on Facebook. Your writing will now be exposed to those who have liked your page, and in turn, those writings will be exposed to their friends. No purchasing of ads, no radio spots, just free marketing.
Let’s say you don’t like writing articles. Let’s say you would rather make YouTube videos and post them as part of your marketing. Without a solid foundation in writing, your YouTube videos may lack needed coherence that could validate you to a viewing audience. By utilizing your writing skills to refine your ability to tell a story, you can start producing higher quality videos.
“What does writing have to do with gunsmithing?” By itself, not a lot really. However, if you have a business or plan on starting a business, the ability to communicate will be one of the most significant keys to your success. If you want to operate a gunsmithing business, now writing becomes a very important part of gunsmithing. The reason for this is that writing reinforces the ability to effectively tell a story to an audience. That ability will be a daily requirement for you as a business owner.
“So, you want to be a firearms journalist?” SDI’s programs teach students to be effective communicators. It is an essential part of owning and operating a business. Writing is not a nuisance that you merely need to get through. It is an area that should be concentrated on as you advance in your career. Writing should be incorporated into your business on every level. Will you be an acclaimed journalist? Not unless you pursue that career path. You will, however, be effective at communicating the message of your business to a prospective audience.