So, what exactly does a content writer do?
If you ask the average man or woman on the street, they’d probably reply that they aren’t sure.
This is not surprising because even amongst content writing professionals, there isn’t a universally agreed upon definitive answer. Ask five different content writers what they do and you’d probably get five different answers.
Some say content writing is any writing connected to a website. Others expand on that to include any kind of online or web writing, while still others widen the meaning further to incorporate print media.
Rather than examining the differences, it’s perhaps more instructive to look at what the vast majority agree on:
o It’s a creative process
This process is essentially the same as ‘traditional journalism’. You’re required to write on a certain subject and in almost every case, you’ll be dealing with a topic you aren’t familiar with. This means that research is necessary, to ensure that the information you present is both accurate and relevant.
Then you’re in a position to create a ‘story’, based on a combination of your perspective of the details you find and your writing expertise.
o It has a technical aspect
A content writer can’t just write a great piece, and then feel like the job is done if they’re writing for the web. You need to include SEO keywords and phrases which makes it easier for consumers to find what you’ve written via a search engine.
The more optimised the piece is with keywords, the better your SER (search engine ranking) will be. Everyone’s looking to achieve the ‘Holy Grail’ of online writing – being on the first page of a Google search.
High quality and long-form writing are also rewarded by Google.
o The key focus is on providing information to a specific audience
Sometimes people ask, ‘What’s the main difference between content writers and copywriters?’ The most important difference is that copywriters generally write to a broader range of potential consumers, whereas content writers aim to speak directly to a much more specific audience.
For a content writer, once you know which audience you’re speaking to, you need to write in a tone and style that’s suitable for that audience.
A content writer writing for England’s first in line to the throne Prince Charles should write with a very different tone and style to a content writer writing for Meghan Markle, Prince Harry’s wife – because their audiences would be vastly different.
o The main form of writing is ‘quality long-form’
The whole point of content marketing is to get potential clients to come to you. If your content is created skilfully, if it’s easy to find, and if it resonates with your intended audience, they’ll come.
Quality long-form content is ideal for two reasons. One is that it’s very Google-friendly. The other is that many people are sick and tired of being ‘advertised at’.
They’d rather be in control of the information they receive. And what kind of information is the modern savvy consumer looking for? Content they can trust (high quality) and with enough information provided (long-form) to make an informed decision.
If you’d like to read more about the art of copywriting, look out for more blogs in this series. Or if you’d like to share your thoughts, contact me at [email protected].