A Guide for Content Writing & Jobs
Content writing is another term for storytelling. Like with every other story that you have heard or read, you want your readers not only to learn from it but also to engage and promote it. Your content should create an impact in the minds of your readers. Your readers have an issue or a problem, and your content should be able to provide a solution on that issue. They seek out your content for solving their problems. Your content should be able to deliver that. Often Content Writing has been confused as a profession taken up only if you have a good flair in the English language. Which is not true actually. If writing is your forte, then Content Writing is for you.
As you know it’s a vast field, so are the opportunities around it. As a content writer, you would be exposed to countless topics and ideas, and your main job would be creating meaningful, relevant, and entertaining content for your audience. A Content can be delivered via:
- Digital/Online- that is by websites, blogs, ads, social media, etc
- Offline- by printed materials, research papers, publications, etc
As there are no set of specified paths, that is no particular credentials are required or procedural tests that have to be carried out or followed in Content Writing, Content writers have the flexibility to choose the job mode. Whether you want to work- full time, part-time, or even as a freelancer, the choice is totally upon you. And the best part about Content Writing, this is one of those fields wherein your experience in your professional stage doesn’t matter much.
Anybody, who has a passion to write and research, at any stage of their life can become a content writer. And this is one of the main reasons why content writing is becoming an upcoming sought out career opportunity for many people around the globe. It is estimated that within the next 2 years content writing enterprise can reach up to a 300 billion dollar enterprise worldwide.
A content writer provides content or write-ups. These can range from technical to creative writing. While many companies hire a content writer for website contents, blogs, and all, content writing is not just restricted to those. A content writer can write captions, user manuals, guides, email contents, newsletters, promotional contents like ads, etc the list is endless and the choice is limitless.
Before you apply for a content writing job, you have to know what to expect, what not to expect, types, skills required, etc. This write-up aims to deliver just that but will only cover the basic and relevant ones. As millions of content are generated every day, you have to know how your content should stand out from the rest of the content created. You also have to know the know-how before you plunge into this vast world.
Skills required in a Content Writing Jobs
You can be a good content writer. But if you aspire to be a great content writer then you need to have at least the following top 12 skills. Remember these skills aren’t developed overnight, and like in any other field where you have to excel, Practice is the mantra that has to be followed here as well. The skills are not just limited to this alone. There are other skills that one can incorporate in their list but the followings are the touch-points you can say on your path to be a successful content writer.
Myths Surrounding Content Writing
Like any other profession, content writing also has its own set of misconceptions and myths. Before you venture out to grab yourself a content writing job, you have to debunk them. This has always been a field, that has been shrouded in the dense web of myths and misinformation. It has opened up a scope of a relationship with the targeted audience with the brand or company. Content Writing helps you create credibility, raise awareness, and convert leads into potential customers or prospects. A content writer should be able to generate valuable and effective content. But all these are lost when you have to deal with certain myths and misconceptions floating on the internet.
Myth No: 1 – Content Writing is just writing
Truth- Many people assume and categorize content writing to the traditional writing that is associated with excellent written proficiency and good vocabulary. This is true, but content writing is not just restricted to it. A Content Writer has to educate, entertain, market, and sell their content to the audiences. One has to do continuous research on what the audience wants or is expecting. You cannot expect to write content without proper research. Research is the mantra and improvisation is the key. You have to research and improvise your content after every 6 months so that not only your content stays relevant, it will also resonate more with your readers. The Content has to make an impression so that your audience will not only come back but will also recommend you to others.
Myth No: 2- Content Writing is all about SEO
Truth- Content writing strives on SEO Rankings. The reason for that is SEO friendly articles fascinate and attract more audiences, thus increasing the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). But that’s just a part of it. If your audience is not getting the desired reliable and informative content, then you might rank high, but you will lose credibility among your readers, which in a long course is going to hamper and affect your success.
Myth No: 3- Content needs to be short
Truth- People have no time to read a very big article hence it needs to short,- is a myth that has to be debunked primarily. Remember how I pointed out that readers are looking for more educated and informative content rather than wishy-washy content. They want to know the How’s and Why’s of everything and a content writer has to ensure that his content incorporates everything that his reader might want.
Maybe your targeted audience wants a blog post that might help them to frame and give a name to their problems, or they might want all the available approaches or methods for the problem or they want a list of all the possible solutions or strategies to address that particular problem. The list of their wants is endless. A content writer has to target and address each possible solution to their problem for which a One-liners or short blogs might not deliver the desired in-depth coverage that the audience might be expecting.
Myth No: 4- Use of Complex words or Acronyms attracts more Audience
Truth- Using jargon or complex words or acronyms does not make writing more impressive towards its readers. Your readers might, in turn, get confused and irritated with the complex words that might pop up. When was the last time you referred to a dictionary/ used google frequently while reading a blog about something that interested you?? The answer might range from never-few, but not often. Your audience doesn’t want to go back again and again and google the acronyms nor open the dictionary to look through the word meanings.
Your readers want maximum information in simple, concise, and lucid writing. Stick to the simpler terms and words, rather than heavy words that will simply tick your audience off. The last thing you want is an annoyed customer who might potentially bad mouth your content on the internet and restricts the flow of readers that might have otherwise liked your content. Internet is a brutal world as its own, you don’t want your content to land right in the middle of the battleground.
Myth No: 5- You need to have Multiple degrees to be a content writer.
Truth- Being a content writer does not mean you need to have fancy degrees under your hat. All you need to have is a drive to deliver more content that would be beneficial to your targeted audience. Your audience wants their problems to be addressed. They want your content to simply offer the solutions for their problems. The readers don’t stumble upon your content because of your educational background or accolades. While it will boost up your worthy, the content worthiness is checked by exactly how well your content addresses the issues of your customer. Your audience is not fascinated by your decorative degree when they are reading your content. Rather they see and take what your content can offer to them and whether or not it has been properly delivered that what was desired by them.
Myth No: 6- Your audience cares for you
Truth- No they don’t!! Ouch! That hurts right? But that’s the ultimate truth. Your audience doesn’t care about you. They care for what you can offer for their problems and queries. They care about their need to solve a particular problem and if your content can’t resolve it, they won’t subscribe from you. Your prospect is experiencing a problem and they will research the ways to resolve that particular problem. You should be able to identify that problem and respond to it before your reader looks for other sources.
You must be able to deliver exactly what your prospects want. Remember there are billions of content by other writers that will offer exactly what your potential prospects want. You have to not only capture their attention but also should offer them various additional solutions that will make their decision of staying with you. You have to curate your content based on their needs, wants, and how you can contribute to solving their problems. Focus on your audience, and your audience will be more than happy to promote your content.
Myth No: 7- Same Content Everywhere is OK
Truth- That’s a big NO!! You should modify your content according to the platform, audience, and stage. Delivering the same content everywhere will not only make your content less appealing but will also decrease your content worth.
- Platform- In today’s tech-oriented environment, there is no shortage of platforms. With each platform, you have a different set of users and hence, so should be your content in all those platforms. For instance, Instagram users would be more inclined towards a video-image rich content while your Quora readers would be more inclined towards text-rich content. Twitter users will want content shortly and crisply. On the other hand, Facebook users would want a mix of text, images, and video whereas LinkedIn users would prefer everything with a touch of professionalism. Depending upon the platform, your user preferences vary, and so should be your content as well.
- Audience- You will have audiences ranging from seekers to scholars. Depending upon your audience, you should structure your content. Your audiences are different having different traits and having different preferences. A content writer should be able to know what his audience wants from him and should deliver the content accordingly.
- Stage- Your content should also vary as per your buyer’s journey stage. Your Buyer’s Journey is categorized into the Awareness Stage, Consideration Stage, and Decision Stage. Buyer’s at the Awareness stage might just be looking for a piece of basic information. Here you can offer an e-book or a blog post for your audience. But on the other hand, a buyer at the Decision Stage needs content that provides in-depth information about the query, here you can offer free trials or consultations. A prospect at the Consideration Stage will have identified his problem hence would be seeking a method or approach to their problems. In this stage, you can offer them demo videos, case studies, etc.
As your medium varies so does your audience and their stages. Understanding that and modifying and improvising your content accordingly will not only help you build relationships with your target audience but will also help in establishing a trust.
Myth No: 8- Content writer need not proofread or edit
Truth- If you thought that all a content writer has to do is just to write, write, write, and there are other people associated with him who will do the rest of the tasks, then boy! You are so wrong!! Gone are the days when there used to be an individual proofreader, editor-writer, content writer. Now the all these roles have been combined and fallen upon – the Content Writer. Not only he should be able to write, but before submitting he has to check and correct all those minute mistakes, proofread the same, edit, and then again proofread, then submit. A Content Writer, today, has to deliver the content in a packaged way that not only entices the audiences but also educates them so that they can come back to you.
Myth No: 9- Content Writing is all about Text
Truth- That was something believed and fretted upon ages ago. Since the introduction of infographics and visual images, a lot of content writers have shifted their text-heavy content to visually appealing content. According to a recent study by HubSpot, “Contents that have an Info-graphics, are liked and shared 3x more than their text-heavy counterpart.” This means that as the readers got a taste of how content can also be visually appealing, they are preferring that over its traditional text-oriented content. Try to include images, info-graphics, videos in your content, and see for yourself how well they are received by your customers.
Myth No: 10- Just writing great write-ups are enough
Truth- That’s simply not true and that’s simply not enough as well. Well, good write-ups do sell, but with just itself, it won’t sell. It’s always good if you have a good copy to deliver. But if a proper strategy or marketing practices are not implemented then you will have very good content but with fewer prospects. Mixing a good strategy with the right marketing drill will not only spice up your leads by converting them into potential customers but will also help in delivering results that will rocket your ranking for your content.
Types of Content Writing Jobs
Content Writing is one of those fields wherein you can choose from multiple types available to showcase and flaunt your writing style. It’s not just limited to writing. Depending upon your genre, you can write your content accordingly. Different types of content writing are briefly mentioned below, that might help you determine your choice.
1. Technical Writing
If technology is your strength, then Technical Writing is for you. The technical writer provides an in-depth explanation of technology- product specifications or details. A technical writer is expected to give detailed descriptions of technology, how to use it, process it, the mechanics involved to someone non-technical. They should be methodical and detail-oriented in their approach. They should be able to make the non-technical users understand the fine points of the product/technology. If technical writing is your type, then you can write contents regarding:
- How To’s
- Instruction Manuals
- User manuals etc
While writing, keep in mind your audience as well as your buyer traits. If you are a Tech enthusiastic, then Technical Writing should be your type.
If you can speak the language of your brand or product, then copy-writing is for you. Copy-writing is writing for advertising or marketing. It involves delivering those powerful punchlines or producing those catchy phrases or jingles that we often hear or read or see via TV ads, newspaper ads, radio ads. You have to be at your creative best if you opt to be a copywriter. Often copywriter’s occupation is one of the most demanding, competitive, and exhausting one. If you have been blessed with creativity and can convert unique ideas into reality, then the world of copy-writing awaits for you. You can write about:
- Website Copy/ Social Media Posts
- Product Descriptions/ Catalogs/ Brochures
- Ads- Magazine ads, Newspaper ads, TV ads
- Sales Copy
- Jingle Lyrics/ Taglines
- Billboards etc
A copywriter has to be at his creative best to deliver content by blending unique ideas, catchy phrases, lines, and taglines so that your audience is hooked to your product or content.
If your forte is spooking out your readers then Ghost Writing is not for you. It has no paranormal references. A ghostwriter is someone who writes on behalf of someone. The content would be developed by you, but someone else would be using it under their name. The content would always be published in the name of the person you are working for and never under yours. As a ghostwriter, you would be expected to write about articles and leadership pieces for your team members or CEOs(Chief Executive Officers) or CTOs(Chief Training Officers). You would be expected to write about:
- Website Content Page
- Whitepapers etc
For being a successful ghostwriter, you must be well informed about the topic, be confident, and should have immense credibility as your content would be the voice of the people of that particular brand or organization.
4. Press Release Writing
Press releases are sort of like brand ambassadors. These are developed to make your customers aware of the recent developments or updates of your organization. They are written to make an announcement happening in the organization. It can be written for/when:
- Businesses launch a new product into the market
- New Partnerships
- Mergers or acquisitions
- Hiring an Executive
- Achieved a Milestone/Award etc
As Press releases are official statements of the announcements, you must focus on the sale and marketing in your content.
5. Business Writing
Business writing is a professional communication within a working environment to the employees or other companies or customers. It tells your readers what you want to offer. You can be a business writer if you know how to write:
- Sales Proposals
- Emails/ Letters
- Concept Papers etc
If you are inclined to pursue Business writing then you can acquire in-depth knowledge in business analysis and development.
6. SEO Content Writing
SEO Content Writers do and write Search Engine Optimized Articles, blogs, etc. You would be responsible for writing and delivering content that has relevant keywords. Content writing is a fundamental part of SEO and Online Marketing. If you think SEO Content Writing is for you, then keep the following points in mind while creating the content:
- Avoid Grammatical Errors
- Original Content
- Lucid and Precise
- Ability to meet the deadlines
- Bold, creative, attractive keywords
If SEO Content Writing is your type then make sure to incorporate all the relevant SEO keywords and phrases that will make your website optimized for search engines.
7. Feature Writing
Most of the creative content writers are Feature Writers. If you can observe the minute details of people, travel, etc, and concoct a story out of it, then Feature Writing is for you. Your content should not only attract your readers but should also hook them to your writing. As this is a sort of soft news, it should be new and unique. While crafting content, make sure your writing is not only creative but expressive as well. Feature writings include writing columns in:
- Short Stories
- Features of food and travel
- Print Space
- Lifestyle etc
As a feature writer, it is expected that you should possess an exceptional vocabulary so that you can cast a spell on your readers. If you think you can relate to this, then Feature Writing is for you. Just make sure that not only your content is true but also stays original throughout.
8. Corporate Social Responsibility(CSR) Writing
Every company nowadays has a dedicated CSR department that organizes the social causes and events wherein they engage their employees to participate. As a CSR writer, you would be expected to write activities related to CSR and to write a communication for the employees to engage them in participating. For this purpose, a CSR writer is expected to develop:
- Communication Materials etc
As a CSR writer, you would be expected to write about the philanthropic activities of your company to not only your employees but also for your business partners, clients, customers, etc. Make sure your content is not only crisp but also free from grammatical errors.
9. Academic Writing
If writing scholarly content is your gift, then Academic writing is just the type for you. In this writing zone, you would be required to write books or research papers or guides for:
- Research Institutes
- Higher Education etc
While writing for this sector, make sure you keep in mind the curriculum, subject, class of the schools or colleges. You wouldn’t want to write academic notes for the sixth-graders from points taken from a seventh-grade subject. Try to keep the content lucid and clear. The clarity of the subject on which you are writing is a very important factor. As the main purpose of Academic writing is to help your readers understand the subject, keep it less complex and rigid. Essay Writing, Report Writing, Research Journals, Academic Papers are some of the examples of this writing that you can pursue.
10. Editorial Writing
Editorials are articles published in a dedicated column of a newspaper or magazine or any printed publication. The editorials are generally published in the Editorial Page. Editorials are opinions that have been supported with relevant and accurate facts, figures, evidence, and data. While writing an editorial, make sure to keep the following things in mind:
- The subject matter should be based on the current situation.
- Description of why you chose that particular subject.
- Express your opinion with adequate facts, proof, and information.
- Alternative solutions to the subject matter to be offered by you.
- Powerful and concise Conclusion.
Your editorial is a way to create not only awareness among your readers but also to influence the readers about your opinions of the current situation. Research your topic before you write. Understanding both sides of an issue will not only help your editorial be interesting but it will also help you provide possible solutions.
11. Public Relations(PR) Writing
PR writing for a company means a gain of positive exposure by imparting a message to the public. If you aspire to become a PR Writer, then keep in mind that you are responsible for your company’s image among the masses and to gain new customers as well. The following skills are mandatory if you aim to become a PR Writer:
- Communication Skills
- Extensive Research Skills
- Thorough knowledge about Search Engines like Google, Yahoo, etc
- Knows how to use electronic databases for information
While writing a PR Content, always make sure that your content can establish a purpose and knows the target audience. Using simple and lucid words with effective visual descriptions can attract the attention of your audience in the right way.
Apart from the above-mentioned types, you can also choose video content, script-writing, social media writing, Email writing, etc. There are more types to choose from. Thorough research on every type of content writing is mandatory before you decide your type and stick to it.
How to get started in a Content Writing Job as a Content Writer?
As already pointed out, content writing is an ocean of immense opportunities. Once you understand the basics of content writing, you can start your journey assuredly. The following tips can help you to kick start your cruise in a content writing job:
- Choose your type- Whether you want to write a blog or Copy-write or ghostwrite, select your domain. During the initial days stick with a single or two domains, and once you get a grip of it, you can venture for multiple domains.
- Ideas- You have to curate your content based on relevant and exciting ideas. You can use various tools for content curation like Feedly or Zest, SEO tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs, for headline-generating like HubSpot or Sumo, etc.
- Research- Research is the mantra that you have to ingrain in your mind. Without properly researching your topic, you cannot expect the audience to connect with you. Using credible information while writing can only happen if you have researched enough.
- Draft Outlines- Before starting to write your content, remember to draft better outlines. A solid outline can not only reduce your writing time but will also help you remain consistent.
- Edit- Edit ruthlessly and meticulously. A non-formatted content with typo errors and grammatical mistakes will be frowned upon by the readers, which will make you lose your audience. Consider spending 70 percent of your time on editing and proofreading. For Editing, you can use various tools like Grammarly or HemingwayApp.
- Publish- Always try to publish whatever you have written. This will not only help you gain your writing confidence but will also help you create your portfolio and visibility. Use platforms like Medium or Quora or Wattpad for self-publishing your content.
- Seek help- Whenever you are stuck, seek help from your peers and content pros. You can share your final draft with them for their inputs before submitting them to your company.
It will take time to write better content. Take time and don’t beat yourself up as it can’t be done overnight. If you aspire to become a better content writer then Practice, Research, Read are the mantra that you would have to follow religiously. Hard work, consistency, dedication and strategy are all key points that will help you on your path to becoming a good content writer. Keep learning from your peers, from the feedback you’re receiving about your content. Learn new techniques that you can incorporate in your writing. Practice your writing, Research for topics, and Read a lot so that you can write better.
Never stop writing and never stop pushing yourself. The world of Content Writing is vast and one should never quit without exploring it fully. Choose your pace and stick to it. Know your audience, focus on your audience, your content will be a hit in no time.
“Give Words to your Thoughts.”- Thoughtful Minds
Below are some of the links for your reference:
- HubSpot is offering various free tools- https://www.hubspot.com/resources/tool
- For checking grammar- https://app.grammarly.com/
- To check Plagiarism- https://smallseotools.com/plagiarism-checker/
- To search volume for Keywords, to monitor SEO- https://neilpatel.com/ubersuggest/
Apart from the above-mentioned sites, you can always google and search for more. Start from something you are comfortable in, and then leap onto greater heights. Remember to always “Think, Practice, Research, Read” before writing your content. The journey of content writing is as diverse as is your ideas.