In this digital age that we a part of there is a great need for content writing but what is content writing? Is it a skill that a newbie can do or something best left to those with college degrees and a lot of experience?
Content writing is the process of creating written content for online and sometimes offline platforms. The scope of content writing usually covers blogging, website content, social media, scriptwriting, sales and ad copywriting, press releases and more. Companies pay in-house and freelance content writers handsomely for this much-needed skill.
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There are many different facets of content writing and I am going to talk about some of them in this article.
What exactly is Content Writing?
Rich Schefren, a man who is greatly respected in the online marketing circles wrote Internet Business Manifesto which was published in 2009. In that book, he stated that we are not in the information age but the attention age.
The point he was driving across was that the war that businesses were waging was the war for the customer’s attention. Whoever was able to grab and hold that attention was going to make the most money.
His words have been proven true almost twelve years later and today, there are so many things tugging at the customer’s attention and if you can’t grab and hold it, something else is waiting around the corner to grab it.
Content is how you grab and hold the customer’s attention and organisations are becoming increasingly aware of this. They are continually seeking out people who are able to create quality content that makes them stand out in a competitive marketplace.
Types of Content
There are different classes of content that fall under content writing and let’s take a look at them.
A website is either a sales or marketing tool or both. In order for it to fulfil its purpose, content is used. When creating content for a website, it needs to creatively articulate what the business is about and how the product or service offering benefits the customer/client.
Besides selling, a web content writer needs to make sure that the content that they are creating is optimized for the search engines. SEO traffic is some of the best traffic out there because people usually have buyer intent when they search for certain keywords.
Blogging content is what the company puts out on a regular basis so as to stay relevant and in touch with their customer base in an ever-evolving business landscape. It allows an organisation to take advantage of trends while engaging with current and potential customers.
When you create blog content, you need to be able to do keyword research in order to establish which keywords you need to target in your content creation efforts. Selecting the right keywords that have sufficient search volume and low competition is key for getting your content seen.
The beauty of search engine traffic is that it can get your company a lot of targeted leads without spending a fortune on acquiring them. SEO is a medium to long term marketing approach but well worth the effort once the results start coming in.
Social Media content creation requires that you be able to stay on top of trends and have the creativity to be able to engage users’ curiosity and attention. Engagement is the keyword when it comes to Social media content.
To be a valuable social media content writer, you need to also research what is working well for others and see how you can repurpose it to your own ends. You don’t always have to reinvent the wheel.
Ad and Sales Copy (long and short form)
Even though all types of content are valuable when it comes to achieving specific ends, Ads and Sales copywriting has to rank at the top as far as making an organisation’s money. This is a short term strategy designed to make an immediate impact on the company’s bottom line.
Sales copy is usually a long-form sales letter type content that can be on a website or in print. An ad, on the other hand, is designed to get the message across within specific character limits. Think of a Facebook or Google Ad. They are short but designed to make an impact on the viewer so that they take the desired action.
To be able to be a to write good sales and ad copy, you need to understand buyer psychology and mental triggers then implement them in your material.
Copywriters are among some of the best-paid professionals out there and can command thousands of dollars per hour plus commissions from the sales that their sales letters bring in.
If you are an expert in a field such as a professor, you can write expert content on that particular field. Companies will sometimes seek out experts in a field to create content that drives the company’s objectives forward.
When readers see that the content is from a credible expert in the field, they are more inclined to trust it and this trust is then associated with the organisation. It’s a great branding move.
Journalism and Press Releases
Press releases used to be a great way to get traction on search engines but not so much these days. They are, however, still a great way to let the public know about your company and products. Content creators in his category write content for both print and online publication.
A background in journalism is an added advantage but not a necessity if you want to make it in this field.
Script Content Writing
With the ever-increasing consumption of video content, there is a need for good scriptwriters who are able to craft scripts for video and audio content. There is a great need for great scriptwriters.
What Skills Do You Need to be a Content Writer?
Besides the specific skill set for each content category, you will need to possess certain base skills on which you build everything else.
Firstly, you need to be good at writing. Seems pretty obvious right? You need to possess a good command of the English language and be able to communicate your message effectively.
Secondly, you need to have good research skills. A large part of your content writing journey will involve a lot of research. You need to be able to do this so that you produce top quality and accurate content.
Can I Be a Content Writer With No Experience?
Do you want to get into content writing as a career? It’s a great industry with a lot of earning potential. If you work as a freelancer, you will be able to command a lot of income but only if you manage to structure your business well.
Can you get into this field without any experience though? Definitely, you can. Here’s how:
When you start out, no one knows you and it can be pretty easy to be passed up by potential writing clients because of it. Here are a few things you need to do and have in Place.
Treat it Like a Business
First and foremost, you need to treat this like a proper business and not something that you are doing on the side. This is important because it transfers to your clients and affects how they handle you. If you present yourself as a business, they will handle and respect you as such.
Pick a Niche to Specialise In
Choose a specific niche to write for. Being all over the place is not going to help your cause in any way. As a matter of fact, it can negatively impact the quality of your content as you have to keep researching different fields.
When you stick to one niche, your reputation in it will grow helping you acquire more clients.
Create a Portfolio Website
When you are new, clients have no way to measure the quality of the content that you can produce. Create a portfolio website that showcases who you are and how you are able to benefit your clients. You can also include a few writing samples so your client sees your writing level.
Lastly, research industry players that need your services then pitch them. This will involve seeking out the company then emailing them, telling them how you can benefit them then link to your website.
Do this for five to ten different companies per day and you will soon have some of them responding and subsequently your content writing career beginning.
As you grow as a content creator, you will be able to command better pay and incomes of $5,000 to $10,000 a month are not uncommon once you get the gist of it. I hope this article has given you a better grasp of what content marketing is and how you can get your piece of the cake.