Raise your hand if you loved writing as a child and was told that it wouldn’t lead to a lucrative career. Yeah? Me too. Okay, hands down.
That may have been true in the past. Back then, unless you were an award-winning author, a writing career wasn’t exactly the most stable livelihood. It’s a different story these days, of course.
Thanks to the sustained rise of e-commerce, good content writers are steadily in demand. Quality content, coupled with the right search engine optimization (SEO) tactics, can drive traffic to your website. Eventually, some of these leads can turn into sales. Cha-ching.
Mind you, content writing isn’t exactly like recreational writing, though. If you want to get an online job in this field, your research skills will count for more than your ability to write a sonnet or a haiku.
What Are A Content Writer’s Responsibilities?
Like I said, content writing is the farthest thing from writing fiction (e.g., short stories, poems, etc). A content writer’s primary purpose is to come up with, well, content.
Let me explain further. In this context, content pertains to an organization or company’s overall messaging. This includes what is written on the official landing page, product/service descriptions, social media posts, and even company correspondence (e.g., email blasts).
Thus, a content writer can expect to be in charge of the following:
- Regularly compose various content types, such as blogs, articles, white papers, and social media posts;
- Brainstorm content marketing campaigns to generate leads, subscribers, and/or customers;
- Edit and proofread content from other sources or team members;
- Manage and promote the company blog and possibly its social media pages;
- Analyze content marketing metrics and pivot as needed;
Above all, a content writer should produce articles or pieces that provide value to a company’s target readers and/or customers.
The Right Skill Set
Now, let’s talk about the skills you need. Here are the ones that have served me well throughout my own content writing career:
- Proper grammar usage. Yes, this is an absolute must. Proper grammar usage doesn’t just communicate messages better or boost an article’s SEO. It also gives a brand or company credibility.
Messages with messed-up grammar and spelling indicate sloppiness, as well as a company’s negligence. Think about it. Would you be confident about buying something from a company that speled they’re Cont3nt like a txt m3ss4ge?
Of course not.
- Strong research skills. You can’t possibly come up with good content if you don’t do research beforehand. Again, a content writer’s job isn’t to make things up and write fiction. You’re supposed to make your client or company appear relatable, credible, and authoritative. And deriving trustworthy information from reliable sources is key to that.
- A basic grasp of SEO principles. I was fortunate to be on a team led by a guy with strong SEO fundamentals, so I can’t really offer much wisdom on the subject. However, an aspiring content writer could attract more premium clients if they have this skill.
Crafting SEO-friendly titles, using the right keywords in product descriptions, and keeping yourself updated with algorithm changes all ensure that readers can easily find your content online.
- The ability to meet deadlines. The best writing skills in the world are nothing if you can’t get things done on time. Thus, while it’s great to keep improving on your drafts, always remember that “done” is better than “perfect.”
Besides, if you keep at it, your writing skills will definitely improve and you’ll be able to write faster.
- Adaptability. Each type of content serves a different purpose. Thus, each will require a different style and tone.
For instance, a landing page’s content should be short and persuasive. On the other hand, technical articles or white papers would require more details and a more somber tone to explain complex issues.
Adept content writers ought to be able to use both equally well, and to determine which one is appropriate for a particular job.
Lastly, it helps if you read a lot. Not only does this boost your general knowledge, but it can also expose you to various writing styles and voices. That way, it’ll be easier for you to arrive at your own or to be more comfortable shifting voices when necessary.
Crafting a Content Writer’s Resume
No, you don’t need an English or writing degree to qualify for a content writing gig. (Though scoring high on an English proficiency test is always a plus, especially if you’re pitching to foreign clients.)
Instead, you can highlight stuff like these:
- Proficiency in WordPress, HTML, or other similar online publishing platforms;
- Familiarity with SEO tools like Google Analytics, Ahrefs, and SEMrush;
- Editing and content-writing experience (have samples ready);
- Experience in writing content for landing pages and/or product/service pages.
Do bear in mind that different content writing jobs might require different skills. Be sure to read each job description carefully, and to emphasize the most relevant among your skills when you do apply.
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