Many people believe that content writers hold an enviable job; they have the option of working from home, making their own schedules and have so many opportunities for freelancing. However, content writing is not as easy as it seems.
A good content writer is not someone who just has a grasp of basic grammar and knows how to write. They need to be equipped with the complete toolkit of marketing skills.
1) Mastering Different Writing Styles
Content writing can take many forms. As we learned in school, writing comes in four basic forms expository, descriptive, persuasive and narrative.
If you are writing news (that does not include op-ed), your writing style will be informative and will include facts, rather than opinions. If you are creating a press release, your writing style needs to convince the reader to take certain actions. This type of writing will include the content writer’s own opinion as wells as justifications and argumentations for it. If you are blogging, your writing style will often be in first person, opinionated and feature the use of literary devices.
A successful content writer must be proficient in all of these (and more) to be successful.
Only content writers can understand the difficulty of coming up with fresh new ideas for content. It seems that pros have a way of coming up with new, creative ideas, but how do they come up with them?
Most content writers usually rely on their own brains to come up with a topic and usually focus on things that they want to write on. Great content writers, on the other hand, focus on topics that their readers care about.
All readers come to a website for some very specific reasons in mind and with very specific interests. If the reader does not find what he is looking for within 8-15 seconds of entering your website, there will be no reason for him to stick around.
Hence, to truly understand what your reader wants, you need to research. Start with keyword research. Two great tools for that are KeywordTool.io and Soovle. Neil Patel swears by them. You can also do a quick survey on your website to ask your readers what they want to learn about or go to Twitter to see what kind of hashtags related to your topic are trending.
Plagiarism is the biggest non-no in the content writing industry. Not only can it damage your reputation beyond repair, it can also quell your skills as a content writer. When it comes to content writing, you can beg and borrow, but never steal. Originality is the key to successful content writing. This may seem impossible considering the thousands of people writing on the same subject. However, you can do this by writing your content with a new perspective and a different angle.
4) Know Your SEO
Knowing what search engines consider best practices is essential to content writing. With the rapid updated Google makes to its algorithm, it becomes very challenging to keep up with all the new guidelines. But it must be done.
Proper keyword research and usage, tiles and headlines, meta-data and links to high PR sites all matter in content writing that is SEO-compliant.
5) Creating New From Old
Once your content is published, the fun has just begun. If you have done your homework right, you will see a good amount of traffic coming to your web page. However, in time, it will fizzle out. That’s because other people have written newer posts on the same topics. So it is essential to keep your content updated.
Some of the things that you can do to curb this issue are refreshing and updating your links and using new keywords. Add more information to make your content relevant and interesting.
These days, people also prefer “snackable” posts that can be broken down into smaller segments and easily digested. One of the best tools to achieve that is through infographics. Another great thing to do is to create follow up or related content and linking it to the main story on your page. That will ensure your main article has a longer life and has continuous traffic.
Content writing may seem like a dream job, but it isn’t for everyone. If you are not satisfied with your end product or just don’t have the time to do it yourself, there is no need to despair. There are numerous professional writers out there who can provide you with great content writing services . This means you can have your cake and eat it too!