From opinionated blogs and informative news articles to SEO product descriptions and subtle advertorials, written content forms the backbone to almost everything we see online and in print. Take this guide as a perfect example as part of a successful content writer career!
The diverse and varied nature of content writing means that no two days are ever likely to be the same. There are plenty of opportunities available to those with a flair for language marinaded in marketing know-how, but how do we go about turning this passion for the written word into a viable, well paid living?
What does a content writer do?
It’s all well and good for a business to create an innovative new product or service, but it will quickly become lost amongst the millions of other online competitors if it lacks visibility on the web. The main responsibility of a content writer is to present their clients to the online world, capturing the essence of each brand and using this to produce unique, engaging content that reaches out to both online readers and search engines alike.
Some of the more common tasks taken on by content writers include:
- SEO and informational blogs
- Websites and individual pages
- Journalistic articles
- Press releases
- Product descriptions
- Social media management
- Editing and sub-editing
The marketing aspect of content writing is of paramount importance to the job. Gone are the days of being able to regurgitate the same key words over and over again in an effort to make page one on Google. It’s now about creating links to and from reputable websites, naturally including keywords and search strings within each piece, producing effective page descriptions, image titles, videos, having quality content and much, much more.
The likes of search engines such as Google have a responsibility to their own users to deliver accurate, informative, well-written search results, and they are constantly updating and amending their search algorithms in an effort to improve their service. It’s essential that content writers are kept up to date with these changes because it will help them continue delivering successful results to their clients.
What do I need to become a content writer?
As with all careers, you will need to invest in your content writer career. Before anything else, you’re going to need a meticulous grasp of the English language. Spelling, punctuation, grammar, sentence structure and an obsessive eye for detail are just some of the entry level characteristics that anyone wishing to write for a living must possess.
A 2011 study by marketing entrepreneur, Charles Duncombe, showed that spelling mistakes on a website can lead to a 50% reduction in generated sales which just goes to show why businesses are willing to spend tens of thousands of pounds to make sure that their online content is up to scratch.
Away from the keyboard, you’re also going to need a huge amount of patience, determination and speed when it comes to researching your subject matter. You’ll be expected to absorb a great deal of information regarding the brand, products and services that you’re representing as well as becoming familiar with current online trends and competitor strategies.
From a technical perspective, every professional content writer should be able to perform keyword research using SEO analytical tools such as AdWords, whilst a working knowledge of WordPress, CSS and HTML offers a distinct advantage.
What qualifications do I need?
Although technically speaking anyone can sit at a computer keyboard and produce online content, there are plenty of reasons that businesses are willing to invest thousands of pounds into professional content writers.
Content writing is a results based business and you must be able to present evidence that your talents produce tangible results such an increase in web traffic, clicks, shares and brand engagement.
There are plenty of training courses available which can be of great benefit to budding content writers and will help you to achieve these results more quickly. From advanced literacy and research training to focusing on social media management, virality and PR effectiveness, these courses could be the difference between a business choosing you over a similarly skilled content writer.
Content writer career progression
As with many creative industries, content writing is very much about reputation which means starting from the bottom and working your way up. And of course it’s worth being aware of the money side of things as we all need it to get by in life.
Here’s a look at an example career path along with a guide to expected annual salaries:
Entry Level Blogger £10,000 – £15,000
Entry Level Content Writer £17,000 – £22,000
Experienced Content Writer £24,000 – £28,000
Social Media Manager £26,000 – £35,000
Creative Content Manager £40,000 – £50,000
Content Director £70,000 – £100,000
*The above salary figures are averages, per annum and a rough guideline as salaries will differ by geographic location and industry.
Get started now, book a course now!