Content writing can be a tricky profession today. On the one hand, everyone’s potentially a writer in the age of the internet, which can make it really hard to stand out. On the other hand, with the number of brands that rely on content marketing today (newsflash, it’s almost everyone), there is no dearth of opportunities.
It’s important to remember that being an effective content writer is very different from writing for magazines, newspapers, and journals. It also isn’t the same as typing out a few posts on your different social media channels. At Justwords, we have built a successful business over the last decade because we truly empower our writers, investing in them, so that they get the skills they need to succeed.
Here are some of the basic things you need to keep in mind while embarking on a journey as a content writer:
Find your niche(s)
This is one of the most important things you need to do as a content writer, especially if you plan on freelancing at some point. There are a huge number of content writers today; and many of them are floundering, unable to make a sustainable career out of writing. And then there are others who are on top of their game and are constantly in demand. The major difference between these two sides is this — people who succeed at content writing, get ahead of the curve, and invest time and effort in finding the right niche(s).
To be a successful writer, you can’t be a jack of all trades. You have to find niches that you’re good at, and stick to them. To choose the right niche, think about three things:
- Is it a profitable niche where writers are in high demand?
- Is it a niche where I can build expertise and write with authority?
- Is it a niche that I would enjoy writing about?
Zero in on the niche that fits the bill and then stick to it. You don’t have to stick to just one niche — you can develop expertise in multiple niches as well. But you need to find these niches and build your expertise— don’t try to write about everything under the sun. It may mean multiple assignments in the short run, but it won’t ensure a sustainable content writing career.
Also Read: 10 Tips To Get Past The Writer’s Block
Write as if you’re talking
It’s important to understand how content writing differs from any other kind of writing. At the end of the day, your words are the medium through which a brand is connecting to their audience. In the age of constant information and instant gratification, people are not going to work hard to read your content. This means, your content needs to be simple, interesting, and effortlessly readable.
One of the best ways to write in a simple, readable way is to imagine that you’re not writing a blog— you’re just having a conversation with a member of your target audience. When the blog takes on that conversational tone, it automatically clicks better with readers. Use short simple sentences, don’t convolute things too much, and try to relate to your audience.
Formatting is everything
If you think spewing some words on a blog is enough, think again. Today, people scan content, rather than read it. For people to go through your content in a matter of a few seconds, it really needs to stand out. Here’s how:
- Use bullet points wherever you can, to draw attention
- Use subheads and short paragraphs
- Incorporate images and infographics wherever you can — visuals drive home the point much faster
Learn the rules of SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
As a content writer today, you need to know the basics of SEO — it gives you an immediate edge over competitors. Fortunately, you don’t have to know too many technicalities. As a writer, the main SEO-related skill you need to have is to be able to figure out which keywords (anything from a few words to a long-phrase) need to fit into which content piece. You can do this by using simple tools like SEMRush or Google’s Keyword Planner.
Once you have a set of keywords, you need to be able to incorporate these organically within your content. This means that the keywords should exist in your content, but never in a way that feels forced. Keyword stuffing is a huge no-no— remember, you’re writing for your audience first and foremost and not Google’s algorithm.
The world is your oyster
One of the biggest advantages of being a content writer is the freedom and flexibility that come with it. You can get several well-paying gigs even as you work from the comfort of your home— which means you can work as a content writer from anywhere in the world. What it also means is that you should be able to find clients across the world (especially if you write in a global language like English).
Invest in marketing yourself — set up your website, showcase your portfolio of work, and focus on meeting the right people. Marketing yourself as a writer can seem a bit intimidating but it’s well worth the effort. You’ll find yourself commanding higher rates and working with better clients, and not just in your home country, but across the globe.
At the end of the day, content writing can be one of the most satisfying and lucrative professions. But given the sheer amount of competition, you have to make sure that you invest enough time and resources to acquire the right set of skills. Do try these tips and let us know if they worked for you. If there are any important tips we’ve missed out on, let us know in the comments below.
Watch: We are a Content-First Agency