Challenges Students Face: Issue #2: Transferring Skills for Nature Writers

Students writing about nature should consider applying for marketing positions

Contributed by Dr. Michael Edmondson President at MEAPA
October 16, 2011
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Challenges Students Face: Issue #2: Transferring Skills for Nature Writers

My previous post examined the issue of students finding meaningful work.  In this second post I provide a case study identifying opportunities for a specific group of students. For students and graduates writing about nature the single most difficult issue to address is identifying employment opportunities.  As David Brooks of The New York Times observed “many students figure they can’t major in English or history as the economy worsens. They have to study something that will lead directly to a job.”  By relying on a dynamic skill set, individuals writing about nature are actually doing something of great value that will allow them to apply for employment opportunities in various functional areas related to marketing.  A few skills nature writers have include:

Making observations– nature writing begins with the writer recording observations about a specific location or environment.   Observing nature requires one to work from the general to the specific while including as many elements as possible.

Getting personal– nature writing is deeply personal and born out of one’s love, respect and awe of the environment.  By its very design nature writing relies upon the individual to develop a deeper level of self-awareness through personal reflection. 

Describing relationships– nature writing describes the physical, cerebral and emotional connections the writer has to the environment.  

Providing a voice– nature writing allows the writer to represent the environment and in so doing provides a necessary voice required so others may better understand the world.

Illustrating uniqueness– nature writing demands that writers focus on the unique and dynamic characteristics of an environment.

These and other skills obtained by writers of nature can be directly applied and transferred to several functional areas of marketing such as market research, branding or brand management and social medial marketing.  

Market research - The process of gathering, analyzing and interpreting information about a market, product or service. Example: Nature writers forge their observations together into a compelling narrative and can easily apply their story telling techniques to address market research issues. 

Branding- The marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products.  Example: Nature writers rely on nuance to highlight how elements of nature differentiate from one another and can transfer that skill to helping a brand team identify its unique characteristic.

Social media marketing – the use of Internet and mobile applications that foster the consumer-product relationship through the exchange of user generated content.   Example: Nature writers are masters of creating content and with the right personal traits can help others do the same using the latest technological platforms.

In The Element Sir Ken Robinson noted that “One of the reasons that our species has come to dominate life on earth is that we have powerful imaginations and enormous capacities for creativity.”  Writers of nature are creative and should employ such an approach to their professional and career development.  One excellent way to infuse creativity into their professional development is to obtain a marketing internship.  Internships provide tremendous opportunities for nature writers to apply their knowledge to real-world situations and better understand how to transfer their skill set to a variety of employment positions.

Click here to read the next Challenges Students Face post.

Michael Edmondson, Ph.D. is the co-founder of MEAPA a professional development company for the 21st century.   He is the co-author, along with Dr. Peter Abramo, of several publications including The ABCs of Marketing Yourself: A Workbook for College Students and How To Succeed With A Liberal Arts Degree.  He is also the Director of Marketing and Recruiting and Adjunct Faculty for Marketing and Entrepreneurship at The Philadelphia Center, one of the nation's oldest experiential education off-campus programs.