The 2021 LinkedIn study on Jobs on the Rise stated Content Writing as one of the top five emerging job categories, especially in South East Asia, the UAE and the U.K.
Great news for writers (and wannabe writers)!
The question is, how well are you prepared?
The experienced ones will sail through. What about newbies like you?
Are you in deeper waters, ready to take the plunge? Or are you still dawdling on the shore unsure of the initial steps?
If so, here’s what we got to tell you.
Becoming a content writer isn’t all that hard!
But becoming a good content writer calls for skill and hard work.
And being an exceptionally skillful, and sought-after content writer demands the right blend of skill, efforts, commitment and marketing.
Here’s a glimpse into ThePendits list of 6 best practices that you need to ingrain before diving into the field of content writing.
The Art and Science of Content Writing
While in a digitally recharged world, content writing can sound highly rewarding and lucrative for those who got the talent, one must understand the diverse dimensions of content creation well enough to ace the art.
So, what in fact, is content?
Any content is a piece of information to promote, inform, inspire, educate, entertain, motivate, or convince a specific audience. The primary motive of a content writer is to increase the sales
pitch by reaching the right audience through well-crafted content on a particular service, product, or organisation.
A content writer is responsible for generating quality content for various domains. Depending on your personal interest and natural flair for any particular genre, you may try your luck with:
SEO optimised content writing
Web content to boost brand building for organisations
Editing and proofreading books, articles, research papers
Developing high-quality content for brochures, web sales, and e-learning courses
Promote content via social media
Collaborate with marketing and designing teams for catchy advertisements, captions, banners, etc.
Becoming the content writer that your client expects you to be
An in-demand content writer is someone who knows how to meet the expectations of the client as well as appease the audience effectively.
Though perfecting the art of content writing takes years of writing, learning, and experimenting, here are the —----- milestones you need to check out and accomplish in your initial journey to become a content writer.
1. Watch Your Words
Knowing a language or speaking it well does not make you a good writer by default. As a
writer, you must possess a proficient understanding of the language that you will be writing in. Content writing does not always mean creative writing or demands proficiency in literature to succeed. But you must be able to deliver the content with minimum errors in spelling, sentence structure and grammar.
Nothing can be more degrading for your ‘label’ as a writer than disappointing (or shocking) the readers (clients and the target audience) with a poorly written article or body copy!
So make sure you are well-versed with the basics of the language.
Similar to any other skill, writing too requires constant molding. Keep improvising, reading, and learning to upgrade your skills constantly.
Make the below 3 steps your MUST-DO routine:
1. Develop a habit of proofreading:
You can have multiple rounds of proofreading to eliminate grammar, spelling and punctuation errors, poor syntax, cut down on complex sentences, and rectify broken sentences or ideas. Such a habit will help you maintain quality and consistency in your writing.
2. Focus on vocabulary:
Keep your vocabulary comprehensible. Try to keep it simple and interesting. Good writing does not always mean complex words or long, winding sentences. It is a wise mix of all - short, long, simple, elaborate, poetic and punchy. Again, that would depend on who your potential readers are and how they would like to hear it.
3. Practise the right content formatting:
If you are a content writer, you MUST know how to format your content appropriately. Content writing is not about churning in paragraphs one after another. You need to follow the required format for every piece of article, blog, news story, white paper or newsletter. Be willing to learn as much as you can while you move forward.
Experiment with and excel at your Intro-s and conclusions. Remember, in the long run, you get paid for your quality content and not merely for the years that you have been there!
4. Practise reading it out loud:
This is one of the techniques used by experienced content writers as well to eliminate potential weaknesses or fluff. When you read out loud, you find accidental typos, sentence discrepancies, and areas to improve for a better pitch. Once you start practising this habit, you have control over grammar, sentence formation, and typos easily.
2. Set Your Tone
Every writer has her/his unique writing skills. You must know how to set your tone and style that stands apart.
As a beginner, you may learn by trying to follow the style and tone of a writer you look up to or idolise. But, eventually, you could develop your own voice that readers/target audience identify or associate with you.
Explore and experiment with your own style and fine-tune it for the target audience.
3. Market Yourself
a) Build an impressive portfolio:
A portfolio showcases your credibility. As a beginner, you need to display your work without thinking too much about money.
Try to experiment with different genres of writing and domains. A diverse portfolio will land you better opportunities and more projects in the initial days.
b) Leverage social media platforms:
Social media is a wonderful platform to market your product, service, or business. You may use Quora, Yahoo answers, or Reddit to spread your name as a writer. Answering the questions on a space like Quora gets you easy attention from a mass audience.
Social media platforms can provide you with several topics that concern your chosen domain or niche. By analysing such channels, you can create custom content for the readers. You can also join various Facebook groups related to content writing, to get more exposure.
4. Always for the Audience
A content writer must focus on the value that article has to carry. Your content must consider the point of view, be it a second person or third person. Content should be interesting and must catch the attention of the reader. If your target audience is youth, then you may write catchy and engaging content. But if the content is for the business professionals, then the content must be crisp and formal.
5. Research, Research & Research!
Nothing can replace the importance of good research when it comes to content writing.
Content writing involves and demands a thorough understanding of the topic at hand. To write like a pro, you need to know the subject/topic/industry very well.
Use strong keywords to research deeply. Do not restrict yourself to the few direct and primary
keywords. Use long-tail keywords and related topics to get broader search results and a better understanding of the industry.
6. Nest in with Your Niche
In writing, as in any industry or job role, it’s important to find your niche. It may sound clichéd, but in content writing, it is necessary to “specialize” in a domain and seal your authority as a content writer.
A niche, in the case of content marketing writing, means a domain or area where you have a thorough understanding of the industry and its target customer base, remain updated on the trends and connect with the industry experts.
But remember, finding your niche doesn’t happen overnight. It takes years of writing and a willingness to try out new things before you settle down with your precious cup of Caffè latte!
You may want to explore lifestyle, technology, marketing, health and beauty, automobile, travel, food, finance, fashion, sports, education, parenting, PR, News, spirituality, and much more before finding your zone.
Finding your niche could be a subconscious act, where sooner or later, you realise what you are good at writing about, or connect with and you settle down happily with that. You tend to deliver quality content when you write about something that is your niche.
Where do you begin with?
As a beginner, you may begin by writing your own blog. This may act as a learning platform for you to understand the basics. With a personal blog, you can make contacts, get your name out and enhance your writing and marketing skills.
Once you develop good writing skills, and understand your niche, you can create an account in various freelancing websites and pitch for the projects. Freelancing will bring you a reasonable earning depending on your writing skills.
Quora, Social media
You can use Quora and social media to showcase your expertise. These platforms provide you with social corroboration to draw positive attention.
Work from home
Many individuals require content writers to draft content for blog writing, technical writing, research papers, etc. You can build your LinkedIn profile, or join Facebook groups to grab such opportunities and work within the comforts of your home.
Content writing has its own learning curve. An essential ingredient that builds a writer is the willingness to learn, explore and rectify your shortcomings.
To become a good content writer, you need consistent efforts to learn and grab the opportunities as well as committed upskilling to raise the bar of excellence in your profession. Your natural flair and passion for writing and the ability to adapt and learn will set your boundaries and open new pastures.