Content writing is a fascinating field that seduces you with more flexibility in hours and wages, the ability to work from practically anywhere, and almost no barriers to entry! Ah! Seems like professional traits that will highly entice nearly anyone in today’s economy. Doesn’t it?
But, with the good comes the bad…
What isn't always discussed are irregular work hours, lack of job security, a myriad of responsibilities (from pitching to client servicing), and a constant feeling of isolation. No, we’re not saying that it’s all bad, but this facet of content writing is constantly overlooked and leads to aspirants having unrealistic expectations.
We want to set the record straight. Content writing gigs are NOT for everyone.
Even a published author can have a tough time assimilating into this role because the playing field is different. The focus here is on creating original, unique, and captivating content that resonates with a larger audience; it’s not just about how well you write. You would also need to be cutthroat to find — and maintain — work in such a saturated industry. And honestly, not everyone has the aptitude, patience, or tenacity for this kind of work.
A good content writer can juggle multiple tasks successfully. They have to be proactive and self-motivated at every stage. A content writer’s skills have just as much to do with business development and project management as writing.
One thing is for certain: This isn’t just a boring 9-to-5 job. But that’s a conversation for another day…
Coming back to the topic at hand, one has to start from somewhere if one wants to join the big leagues. And to make it easier on you, we wanted to share some tips that can elevate and transform your style.
Key To Becoming A Decent (If Not A Great) Content Writer In These Current Times
Work on the following areas, and we’re sure you’ll soon see good results.
#1. Typing: In the age of information, this might seem like an obvious skill to possess. Yet, you’ll be surprised at how many writers wish to do things the “traditional” way, i.e., with pen and paper.
And while there is a certain elegance to adopting this old-school method, let’s be honest: You’ll only be able to capitalise on your writing if you can type well — and fast!
Let’s be clear. We’re not saying that a slow typing speed is a bad thing. It’s just that it can become a hindrance on the path of a content writer's attempt at making money. Besides, a content writer needs to meet certain targets daily. If you miss them, you will lose clients! So, earning decent money can be quite difficult if you’re unable to meet those deadlines.
#2. 24/7 Access To A Computer: This one is fairly self-explanatory, too. Sure, you can dole out content from your phone or tablet. But how will you ensure that, for instance, the format is reader-friendly? How will you run Grammarly checks or use other content-writing tools that won’t compromise the quality of your work? It will also be extremely difficult to research properly on such a tiny screen; what if that leads to factual inaccuracies? There are just too many things that can go wrong on your phone. So, why not invest in a decent laptop that fits your budget?
#3. The Internet Is Your Best Friend: Content writing and digital marketing go hand in hand. And, of course, you need to have a working internet connection, so your workflow is not interrupted. A hotspot can come in handy during emergencies, but that’s about it. And in today’s tech-savvy world, you can find affordable internet data plans, too.
#4. Use Reliable Content Writing Tools: Content writers already have so much on their plate, and that’s why specific apps, websites, and some offline tools have been designed to ease the burden.
Want to gain valuable insight into an industry you’re not familiar with? Check out Answer The Public or Google Trends.
And why worry about basic grammatical errors when Grammarly has got your back?
Why not use collaborative tools like Trello, Teamwork, or Nuclino to conveniently track all your projects? You get compatible application integrations with these tools, as well, allowing you to easily receive and submit your projects within set deadlines.
After all, it’s also about how well you can multitask.
#5. Carry Out Proper Research: It doesn’t matter if you’re a newbie or a seasoned content writer; no one can come up with good content if they don’t know what they’re talking about.
There are so many different genres in content writing that you won’t be able to do all of them justice without doing your due diligence first. You’ll be able to frame your thoughts more articulately and give a better structure to your work. And a well-thought argument never fails to grab the attention of the readers.
#6. Educate Yourself: Content writers need to be on their toes because each client — and their target audience — is different. And while a beauty brand may want you to write blogs, someone else may hire you for long-form articles, emails, newsletters, or even social media posts.
You should also be well-versed in American and British English, at the very least. And no matter what, there’s always room for improvement. You can also use free resources online for this purpose.
#7. Stay Up To Date With Current Affairs: In just the past couple of decades, we have seen a huge change in the way our society functions, from politics to economics. And more people than before are interested in — and actively discussing — trending issues of the day.
A good content writer is always prepared to join in the conversation at any point. They don’t hesitate to write, say, health and lifestyle blogs one day and then cover cryptocurrencies or DIY tutorials the next day.
#8. Accept Constructive Criticism: There is no place for ego or vanity in content writing gigs. And professionals understand that a fresh perspective on their work can do wonders. Be it client feedback or instructions from the editor, a content writer cannot take constructive criticism personally. They must use these suggestions to improve their work and deliver better content.
#9. Edit Your Own Work: We understand how draining the thought of editing your own content can be. After all, you’re the one that came up with it in the first place, and if you could do better, you already would have, wouldn’t you?
But this is NOT the right approach.
Firstly, you’ll spot any grammatical, spelling, or factual errors that you may have missed initially. Editing can also help you experiment with different writing and formatting styles that can go a long way in boosting the quality of your content. And you’ll also recognise what’s your strong suit and what you need to improve on. That’s a good attribute to have — no matter the profession or job.
#10. Learn The Basics Of SEO: Any brand that is serious about its digital marketing understands how important search engine optimisation is to drive up business, generate new leads, help build credibility, and reroute more traffic to their site.
In simpler words, the right techniques will increase a brand’s visibility and improve its ranking on search engines like Google.
And as a content writer, the more people you can effectively communicate with, the better. Even if you’re just starting out, you’ll be able to progress quickly if you already know how to tweak links, keywords, images, etc., to your advantage.
#11. Stick To A Routine: The best way to improve your writing is, frankly, by writing as much as you can!
It will take some time until you work out all the kinks in the armour. But discipline does go a long way. As you keep working on your craft, you’ll also develop your own unique style.
#12. Know When To Take A Break: Too much or too little of anything is bad. We all know this. And even if you feel compelled to push through and write incessantly for hours, you should know that does more harm than good.
Let’s assume you’re experiencing writer’s block, but the deadline is fast approaching. Even if it feels counterintuitive, it is better to step away from your desk for a few moments to recharge.
If you’re feeling tired or “uninspired,” beating yourself up will not do you any favours; your content might be redundant, ill-logical, or just plain boring.
But if you watch Netflix or listen to some music of your choice during your break, you’ll feel much better. And that’ll also show up in your work.
#13. Be Honest With Yourself: Unfortunately, as we have already mentioned, not everyone is cut out to become a content writer, even if they’re otherwise amazing writers.
If you find yourself struggling despite giving it your all, it may be time to reevaluate if content writing gigs are right for you.
Hold up. You don’t need to give up on writing completely!
You can still find other ways to channel your love for writing.
Learn How Best To Get Ahead Of The Curve
Content writing is a vast field that welcomes people from all walks of life, especially because all you really need to get started are a laptop, an internet connection, and a love for the written words.
Everyone must start from scratch. But the tips we have discussed here will certainly help you get a jumpstart and stand out in a crowd.
Plus, with so many free and useful resources available at the click of a button, there really is no excuse for willful ignorance in times like the one we live in.