Hi. I hope you started your week out strong. I’ll assume that the answer is yes, since you’re here, on this wonderful blog. Self-flattering aside, welcome back.
Last time we tackled some of the most frequent copywriting questions that both you, the readers of this blog, as well as all writing enthusiasts have at the beginning of their careers. This time, I figured we could continue on the same note of the previous article. I invite you to take a seat as we talk about the other “writing wizards” of the online world – content writers or content editors.
If you’ve ever wondered what this domain is all about and you were, of course, too lazy to read books or lengthy articles, you’ve come to the right place. I’m about to answer your most frequent content writing questions, following the same outline of the previous article. Have as seat, get comfortable and I hope the following info is helpful to you...
Content writing questions – who, what, how, where, when and why?
If you’re wondering who can be a content writer, the short and simple answer is – anyone. Exactly. Same as copywriters, there is no official qualification or diploma needed to be a content writer or a content editor.
Anyone who can fulfill the writing expectations/objectives/demands of the client can be a content writer.
Still, hear me out carefully when I say this – you will find a lot of so-called experts who hold content writing and marketing courses/trainings, so many coaches (more like roaches) who promise that they’ll teach you all there is to know about writing in just 2 steps or that they’ll turn you into a marketing guru in just two meetings. Yeah...right.
Although these writing courses can be useful to anyone starting out on this career path, you shouldn’t rely exclusively on them to learn how to become a content writer or copywriter. They are merely tools that can help you, depending on who is holding these courses and what they are teaching you.
But, if you want to become better, there is no such thing as a magic pill or a shortcut to take. Just write – anything. A lot, a little, good, bad, it doesn’t matter.
When we talk about content writers, most frequently we encounter two situations:
- “the jack of all trades”– here I am referring to freelance content writers or the content writers in agencies – they usually write about many fields without specializing in a single niche and they work with/for more clients at a time. If you choose this career path, get used to writing about fashion in the mornings and finishing up with forklifts by the evening...without wanting to put a bullet through your head, of course.
- Specialized content writers– I am referring to those online writers tackling specific niches, such as cooking, fashion or technology and writing about them This option might be tempting for you, especially if you hold a superior skill-set or knowledge in a particular field and, of course, if you’d like to write about it exclusively.
One of the most frequent content writing questions that I get, without a doubt. What is content writing, exactly? What is its purpose?
Content writing and copywriting can be seen as two sides of the same coin. They are very similar, they both involve writing, obviously, but the purpose and the benefits they offer are different, if you use them as part of a bigger strategy or to achieve specific, diverse objectives.
If the main goal of copywriting is to sell, the aim of content writing is to inform, to educate, to change customer perceptions about a product, service or even person.
When we think of content writing, we think of blogs, articles, reviews, informative posts, press releases, news releases, about Us pages, terms and conditions, instruction manuals, educational or entertainment content meant to attract and maintain the attention of the target audience for a longer period of time, as opposed to the shorter, impactful messages that define copywriting.
Therefore, to sum up, content writing should not be done randomly and without patience, you shouldn’t expect immediate results. Instead, you should integrate it in a long-term strategy.
The answer to the question – „how does a content writer work?” is very similar to the previous answer in our copywriting article. All you need is a laptop and a reliable internet connection, that’s it.
What you need to understand, though, is that if you want to be a content writer, you should allocate more time to the research beforehand, as opposed to a copywriter.
In other words, before you can write about the specifics of engines, hidro-insulation, cat toys, the best outfits at the 2019 Oscars etc., you must be prepared - do your homework and do it well.
In my content writing questions series, this definitely takes the cake as the most recurrent one. Where can I work if I want to be a content writer? Can I work remotely? If so, how?
As I mentioned earlier, content writing and copywriting are very similar, which is why the answer to this question is, once again, similar to the one in the previous article.
Professional content writers are most often found in advertising, marketing or specialized content writing/copywriting agencies. They typically work alone or have their own assigned projects or clients that they deal with on the regular, from specific fields (fashion, art, technical etc.), even if they are part of a bigger team. However, they can also work with other departments or specialists (marketing specialists, creative directors etc.) depending on the size and type of the agency.
There are also content writers working for online publications or news outlets, in which case they are focused or specialized in a certain niche. Therefore, their purpose is not as much to build an impressive and diverse client portfolio as it is to become the best of their branch, to gain authority (e.g.: political, lifestyle, medical content writers).
If you want to work on your own, you can also be a freelance content writer and some of the places you can find work are pretty much the same as presented in the previous article - Upwork.com, Freelancer.com or the so-called „Romanian Freelancer”, here.
When we talk about the most frequent content writing questions, this one is oftenly brought on by clients. They are the ones who want to know – why in the world would I need content writing? Why should I spend a part of my budget on content writing services? Do we even need certain people to write our business content, can’t I just let the HR lady to do a few keystrokes? Or just ask the marketing guy, even though his plate is already full but...nevermind. Let’s see...
Not only does the entire brand image depend on the quality of the content delivered, so does its long-term reputation.
If you failed as a copywriter once with a not-so-inspired banner or short message, you can still patch it up. However, an article or a press release leaves a long-term impression because it stays there, in that online space, it gets read by dozens, maybe hundreds of people, it reaches press agencies who then decide if they’ll share it.
Moreover, the content examples I mentioned above are crucial for establishing and maintaining a relationship with the target audience. Articles, informative posts, these are the types of content that make a brand become a part of the customer’s life, which is why they should be redacted by someone who knows how to accurately represent that brand and what image they need to put forward.
If you have a personal brand or you’re representing someone else’s brand, you’ve certainly had this question, too – when should I contact a content writer, when do I need his/her services?
The short answer is – as quickly as possible, same goes for copywriting services. A content writer should be present and involved from the early stages of brand creation. The ideal scenario would entail that both the content writer and the copywriter work alongside each other to determine the brand voice, how it’s going to communicate.
From there on out, content writing services become absolutely essential – a lot of brands neglect the importance of informative Facebook posts such as „did you know that...?” or the importance of the blog per se, but there is a time and a place for both and a well-thought marketing strategy should never neglect the valuable contributions that a content writer can bring.
The content writer is the one who brings the target audience closer to the brand, who encourages the public to not only interact with the content presented but also support the brand on a deeper level, to be an active participant in the discussions initiated by the brand and maybe make the transition from mere client to a long-term brand ambassador.
I hope I managed to answer, as thoroughly as possible, to your most frequent content writing questions. If I forgot anything, please drop a comment down below and I’ll answer any specific query you may have.
I invite you to also take a look over this article’s, „twin”, the copywriting Q&A.
As always, thank you for your attention and come back anytime!
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