It all comes down to the career path you’ve taken thus far. But if you’re passionate about writing and optimistic that you’ll thrive in a content writing position, it’s likely you could be in for a shock. Throughout my education, there was one thing I was sure of: I liked writing and I wasn’t half bad at it either. Graduating with a BA in Journalism with the highest honours, I assumed I could write just about anything. I was wrong. Or, at the least, I would learn there was always more training to be had and new challenges to conquer.
Work to a Brief
Every site is unique, both in nature and in the digital marketing strategies created to help boost performance. When it comes to content writing, you can’t go in completely blind and expect to get it right first time. Or second or third for that matter. Content writing isn’t just about producing a piece of work that is eloquent and perfectly sells a product or site. That’s only the half of it. Content writing also includes devices and signals that draw in attention from its desired audience and Google, or whatever algorithm you’re pertaining to. Working to a brief shaped by the digital marketing team means you can see structurally what your content should say, what should be included and any other technical requirements, including formatting so your piece fits with the in-house style.
Think About the Audience You’re Writing For & Adapt Your Style
There is no one universal way to write that is informative and engaging for everyone. Different tones and ways of writing speak on a level to different people. Up until I started content writing for Discount Promo Codes and Advanced Writers, I had written to argue an academic point for lecturers, to relate and engage with teens on a pop culture website and in my own spare time chatting candidly about the things I care about on my own blog. Each of these asked very different things of my writing abilities and the same goes for content writing. Even as something that is shaped strategically towards hitting digital sensors, it’s still key that you write something that is of use to your audience in a way that makes them actually want to read what you have to say. Consider your demographic and write in a way that encompasses their interests and that is readable.
Research Your Topic or Brand
This seems obvious, but it’s important to actually know what you’re talking about. Anything vaguely worded isn’t going to fool anyone. You need to know your topic inside out. In terms of content writing, this means understanding the product or brand you’re trying to sell and inform your audience about. Find out about their origins and the ethos which drives them and their business. Make lots of notes that can assist in the planning that comes later. For me, having a page dedicated to everything about a brand helped to keep all my ideas fresh. I could then go back through it and circle the bits from my research I wanted to talk about and begin to create a loose structure of how the piece would look.
Always Work to Answer Questions
When considering your audience, your research should also look to figuring out what they want to know. You can do this by determining frequent search queries entered into search engines. Ask the basics: ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘where’, ‘when’, ‘why’, ‘how’ as well as any keywords from your brief. By finding these search engine queries you can focus your research to find out the answers your audience needs and work them into your content so that it is of value.
Create Plan Frameworks
If you’re anything like me, having so many things from your research you want to talk about can be overwhelming. Figuring out how you want to include it and in what order can mean things get a little muddled and lost. By turning to a clean page, or opening up a new document, flesh out each point you want to make in brief bullet points and ensure you’re maintaining a flow where you’re actually answering what you mapped out as your intentions in any titles or introductions. If uncertain of your angle, you can even create this plan and pass on to your superior to check if you’re on the right track.
Be Prepared to Take Critique
The thing to remember before saying anything else is that critique is not a categorically bad thing. It doesn’t mean you’re incapable or that you’re a failed writer and you should just give up now. View critique as a positive tool to not only improve the piece of work at hand, but as knowledge to take with you throughout your career. Initially I was doubtful of something I had presumed I was good at, but writing content has just showed me a new way of writing and added a new skill to my repertoire. Just because you’ve got a degree, doesn’t mean you’ve learned all there is to learn about your field. Grow a thick skin and be prepared to learn from someone who knows what they’re talking about. It may be brutal, but it’ll pay off when you succeed.