A content writer researches, develops, and writes high-quality material for a company. This material should do two things:
- Strengthen the company’s voice
- Engage with a specific audience
With the right messaging, this content should move that audience to act. That action could be purchasing a product, signing up for a seminar, or clicking on links.
According to Grammerly Business, as many as 86% of businesses report that content marketing creates brand awareness, while 79% say it helps them educate their audiences and 75% use it to build credibility and trust. More than half say content marketing plays a major role in generating sales and revenue.
So how do you get into the world of content writing in 2022? Well, it might be helpful to first understand the types of content writing that are out there.
Types of Content Writing
Content writers get hired to develop content for a variety of materials. These materials can be print or web based, but there is an increased demand for delivering online content.
Types of content writing can include:
- Blog and social media posts
- How-to manuals
- Product descriptions
- White papers
The range of content that a content writer can produce covers technical writing, product descriptions, copywriting, ghost writing, and SOP writing.
Explore 32 Types of Content and How to Use Them (With Examples) for an extensive list of the types of content you can create. You might even get tasked with writing a script for a podcast or researching background information that a marketing team will use to make an infographic.
How to Become a Content Writer
Dive into our guide on how you can become a content writer. While this is by no means an exhaustive list, it will help get you on the right path.
1. Build a Solid Portfolio
Develop a professional portfolio to get the content writing work that you want. Include recent examples of your work. Prospective employers may ask to see samples to get an idea of your writing style and your ability to adapt your writing skills across platforms.
Don’t forget to add your profile to professional sites like LinkedIn or to content writing platforms. As a professional, social media is your platform to showcase your accomplishments. Add your skills, recent work experience, and what kind of work you’re looking for. Follow people who you admire within your industry. Stay up to date on what’s relevant and what topics are trending in your area of expertise. This is especially helpful if you’re a content writer working in a specialized field.
2. Be a Good Content Writer and Do Your Research
Prospective employers look for quality content writers who begin their process with research.Make sure that you’re leaning in to what their company does and who their audience is. Take any information that you gather and transform it into quality content that reads well. Watch out for common pitfalls, like using filler words to reach the required word count or stuffing keywords into SEO-optimized articles.
3. Understand How to Write Across Platforms
Know your audience. In our fast-paced world, you don’t have much time to capture a person’s attention. That’s especially true when you’re producing online content. Audiences aren’t reading articles, they’re skimming sentences. As a content writer, you can overcome this problem with the right focus. According to Nielsen research, pages with a clear value proposition are able to hold people’s attention for much longer.
Flex your writing muscles so you’re able to transition between writing a blog post one day and a how-to guide the next. Become well-versed in writing about different subjects. Ask your prospective employer questions to understand their style, tone, and voice.
4. Format Your Work
If you’re writing for web-based publications, you need to know how to format your content. You want to hold your audience’s attention. Use short paragraphs and simple language. Reduce the use of jargon for readability. Can you format your content as a listicle or a bulleted list? Including links to related content.
5. Become an Adept Editor
To be a successful content writer, you need to be comfortable editing, proofreading, and revising your work. Explore websites that can help you, such as the Purdue Online Writing Lab. Here you can review style guides, including MLA, APA, and Chicago. Grammar and spelling exercises are available to brush up on your skills. Review the essential parts of what it takes to be a good writer and put what you learn into practice.
6. Be Organized
Deadlines matter. You want to get it right from the get-go. Remember, good organizational skills allow you to efficiently and effectively use your resources. Plan. Prioritize your projects. Reduce clutter and distractions around your workstation. Don’t overbook yourself. Have solid time management practices in place to set yourself up for success.
Here are 25 of the best content creation tools on the market today. These tools include organizational tools for planning and tracking research, keeping your eye on trending topics, and editing your content.
How to Start Content Writing
1. Produce Crisp Content
Take out the fluff. Your sentences should be sharp, simple, and short. You want to keep your audience engaged with what you’re saying. Stay concise while adding your own unique, creative spin. Remain focused and attentive to the subject you’re tasked with writing about. Remember, websites require a unique style of writing.
2. Understand How SEO-Optimized Content Works.
Digital platforms utilize keywords to optimize their searchability on the internet. SEO content is any content that is created to increase search engine rankings and boost traffic to your website. Content writers who craft well-written content can help boost a website’s relevance. This can enhance its SEO ranking so people can find the business online.
A note on keywords: They have a necessary role; just don’t overstuff your content with them!
3. Apply for Work on Freelancing Platforms, Such as Constant Content
These platforms are a great way for you to establish yourself as a content writer. Freelancing platforms bring the work to you. These platforms act as a mediator between an individual or business looking for writers and you, the content writer. While freelancing platforms do take a percentage of any purchased work you complete, you don’t have to spend hours of your time searching to find work.
Freelancing platforms tend to have well-established relationships with high-profile clients. Contracts with these clients can often become a steady source of income if you get an invitation to work on one of these projects.
A freelancing platform also helps you build up your online presence and profile. Wherever possible on a profile, fill in your skill set, your areas of expertise, and your educational and professional background. You’ll also be able to develop your relationships with businesses through a freelancing platform.
4. Write a Variety of Content.
As you start your content writing career, develop, and expand your writing capabilities. Enhance your portfolio by writing different types of content.
For example, you could:
• Volunteer your writing services with a local non-profit. Produce its webpage content or quarterly email newsletter.
• Complete small jobs with local businesses. This might include helping them to develop blog articles or posting on their social media account.
• Sign up for work on a freelancing platform.
• Start your own blog and focus on generating content that shows off your areas of knowledge.
5. References and Referrals
Don’t forget to use your connections and your networks to drum up potential new avenues of work. Having a few reliable references will go a long way in your content writing career. This can be especially true when you develop relationships with larger businesses. Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for referrals, especially from clients who’ve given you positive feedback.
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