Here’s Why Iraq’s Startup Sector Needs More Writers

Iraq occupies a prominent place in world history as the homeland of writing. The oldest written literature originated from ancient Mesopotamia when the Sumerian civilisation first developed writing around 3400 BC. Sumerian writers would copy poetry, essays, and hymns.

Today, Baghdad and Sulaimaniya are registered UNESCO cities of literature. All over the country, we find Iraqi youth engaging in writing or poetry as hobbies. Some popular Iraqi writers include Shahad Al Rawi, Hawra Al Nadawi, Inaam Kachachi and Betool Khedairi. It is as if writing and poetry are something inherited through generations. 

Fedah’s Story

Fedah Al Ibrahim, a passionate Iraqi writer, is not far from this great legacy. 

“Writing is like a mother for me; a mother is the first headline in our lives and then we keep writing. When I was young, my mother lit us an oil lantern at night while my brothers and I lined up to hear her stories. She had a large book collection. Despite the fact that she was not able to complete her studies, she was fluent in Arabic poetry. She would tell us the stories in a very creative and aesthetic way in which she took our minds to different places.

I still remember the names of some of the books such as Tabari History, a Thousand and One Nights, and the Steps of Demons. I loved reading very much and every time I finished reading one of my mom’s books, I would fix a mistake in my personality. 

When I was ten years old, my mother bought me a pen and diary. She told me to write everything in it and not to share it with anyone else. After this, I discovered my talent in writing. With every text I wrote, my personality enhanced. I was mature at an early age and learnt traits such as honesty, contentment, happiness, faith in God, and self-reliance. 

After losing my mother, despite my sadness and pain, I feel reassurance between the lines of my words. For me, writing is like a mother. It swallows your sorrows to spark the happiness in your eyes.”

Writing in a Digital World

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Customarily, writers have had a strong relationship with the pen and paper. But today, this image is changing. Younger generations are forgetting how to write because of the common usage of the keyboard. Writers are replacing their pens with the keyboard, giving birth to a different type of writing: digital content writing. 

Types of Content Writers

There are multiple types of digital content writing including:

  1. Blogging: A blogger can make any topic or trend into a conversation with the reader. Their content is focused on performing well and garnering thousands of views. They are great at researching data and information to strengthen their content. Where they don’t understand a topic, they will collaborate with subject matter experts to ensure high quality and factual information is being shared – or their reputation is on the line. Blog writers often collaborate with influencers, publications, brands, and experts to develop credibility. Like copywriters, bloggers also have knowledge of SEO and keyword research.
  2. Copywriters: Copywriters are able to write on a wide range of topics and understand how algorithms work to make online content the number one spot on Google search. They know how to connect information so that the reader can understand complex subjects in an easy way that uses sources from all over the internet. They have the skills to alter their writing style to fit a company or brand’s ‘voice’ and can write anything from website pages, product descriptions, sales materials, and infographics. Copywriters are usually analytical, great with research and curious to learn more about the subject they’re writing about. 
  3. Technical Writers: Technical writers are in-demand but harder to come by. They’re able to simplify technical language and make it easy for non-technical people to understand. This especially comes in handy when you’re releasing a new product and you want users to understand its capabilities. This can come in the form of FAQs, instructions, how-to manuals or guides. 
  4. Social Media Writers: As one of the most effective marketing methods, social media writers must stay ahead of all the latest trends and algorithms. They should be able to tailor content and understand what makes each platform tick in order to spark conversations around each post. These writers specialise in social media posts, interactive content, and PR outreach. 
  5. Email Writers: Email writers rely on psychology and lead generation to ensure their writing is effective. They are analytical and focused on results when it comes to sending out monthly newsletters or drip campaigns. A/B testing, click-through rates and engaging headlines are just some of the tools and areas they track.
  6. Long-form Content Writers: These types of writers are often subject matter experts because they write detailed books and papers about specialised areas. Their writing is usually a minimum of 2000 words and includes engaging insights in a topic. Examples of this writing include ebooks, white papers, case studies, and data studies.

Opportunities for Writers

All forms of digital copywriting are increasingly in-demand as companies and startups look for skilled writers to help them grow their businesses. Content writing supports the marketing efforts of businesses trying to increase their exposure online. Writing has opened up new horizons for young people to get a job either remotely or locally. 

In general, the technology sector in Iraq is creating jobs, opportunities, and attracting foreign investment. Technology has supported Iraqi youth to launch their own projects and get employment by working online. The growth in the number of startups and companies has created a demand for digital technology skills and more tech educational programs are needed to equip Iraqis for a world driven by technology.

With the increasing number of humanities graduates and a lack of funding for creative industries, the digital economy is the most viable option for passionate creatives to gain experience. For the Iraqi writers out there, now is your chance.

Iraqi Innovators is fundraising £20,000 to launch the first digital copywriting program in Iraq. Please donate here

If you’re interested in joining the program, then sign up here.

Fatimah Oleiwi

A copywriter who believes in the power of writing and words. Translator and social media marketer. Interested in technology and entrepreneurship, and a supporter of innovation and capacity building in Iraq.

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