The content writer
“I am a content writer” is a frequently heard job profile comment and one that is increasingly making many people around the world independent of a 9 to 5 routine or a fixed working location. A professional content writer creates written content, mostly for online requirements on a wide range of topics for a variety of companies engaged in many industry segments – manufacturing, engineering, technical, scientific, educational etc.
However, the bottom line of professional content writing is that it is a profession or job that is centered on the writing abilities of an individual and helps him or her to turn an activity that they thoroughly enjoy into a professional one. With experience and exposure in writing different kinds of content comes the freedom to work from a home-office or remotely.
‘Content Writing’ is not one of the most descriptive job titles; perhaps that’s because ‘content writing’ is about being open, flexible, multi-tasking and generally ‘wearing a lot of hats’!
To develop an understanding of what content writing involves, we will require to break down the requirements that the job entails. The definition of a content writer is something akin to journalism, more of the online kind. A content writer is basically a person who contributes articles, blog posts, e-zines and other web related content. Most provide content for different requirements while some work exclusively for small and medium businesses, corporate giants as well as government agencies. The exclusive nature of the work makes them full-time workers; there are also part-time, independent and work-from-home contractors who set their time schedules that are based on a whole lot of factors.
Now, let’s look at the various roles that a content writer dons. On a broad level, these are some of the functions that content writers have to be equipped to do.
While content writers share essential elements and requirements of the job and are basically reporters, salespeople, experts and even comedians, they are also HTML experts, SEO specialists and web designers. It rests on the content writer to be the voice of the individual, company or entity and to amplify the right message content on a global level. Last but not the least, a good content writer is the company’s “ally” in its quest for success and a good understanding of the above qualities is what ensures the success of online content.
Realities of content writing
But, every content writer has to be aware and fully understand the facts and realities of a content writing career. Low pay rates, quick turnaround deadlines and lack of creative license are some of the obstacles that every content writer faces. Some essential qualifications and skills like a basic degree in English, subscribing to a reputed online writing course, good communicative skills in the language, technical writing capabilities and a head for information and research improves exposure on various fronts and increases chances of landing good paying jobs, Besides these, networking and building experience through a mentor, internships or joining a professional writers’ group are necessary.
Writing skills are just not enough
Many professional content writers struggle to make a living out of it. No matter how talented, writing skills alone do not suffice and to be a successful content writer, there is a ‘tool-kit of marketable skills’ that is absolutely imperative to follow. Some of the most successful online content writers have shared their secrets to making a success out of content writing through diligently following these tried and tested methods.
- Practicing article writing – a newspaper article, a blog or a wiki-how are all different platforms and require different skills. Studying the form, structure, tone and voice of different article types is essential.
- Mastering different writing styles – while blogging is often a friendly interactive and opinionated style of writing, news is journalistic, white papers are long and exhaustive with description of a problem and providing the solution and an ad copy is brief and persuasive. However, content is what drives them all.
- Not picking random subjects – the term ‘ideation’ is often used in industry as a marketing buzzword but is apt for a team setting; freelance content writers are individuals who work on their own. Hence a good content writer has to understand his audience, check out competition, do research and provide information that can transform a business.
- Being original – that may sound unachievable with thousands of writers providing content about similar subjects but a talented writer can bring out the uniqueness of content, provide a different perspective or create a new point of view even on an old subject.
- Knowing social media skills – social media brings everything within grasp – audience, hirers, industry experts, publishers etc. Visibility on social media ensures that a writer is friendly and networking in the right sphere.
- Avoiding plagiarism – with so much content out there, the chances of duplicating content are real. Writing creatively with original thoughts and using a reputed plagiarism checker avoids being drawn into controversies or losing reputation.
However, it does not end there. Often the unsaid things about a job or career are what set it apart and content writing has to bridge the gap between a job, a profession and a career by amalgamating the finer points, which would include:
- Real-world writing experience – awareness of precision and promptness in meeting deadlines
- Being passionate – it helps content to flow better and creates acceptable and balanced reading
- Telling a story and telling it well – a compelling and coherent story is key to developing human connections and building audience trust
- Creativity and collaboration – interacting with a team – content marketing people, SEO experts, social media strategists, graphic designers, video producers and so on – provides unique insights into each stage of the content creation and production process which is what separates a disjointed strategy into a coherent one.
So, it needs no great ground-breaking to see what brings success to content writing. It’s not just about putting words on paper, but a more rounded skill capability including creativity, eloquence, market knowledge and technical skills that go into creating content with a balanced view-point that separates an average content writer from a successful one.