When people ask me what I do for a living, I tell them I’m a content writer. At the mention of these two words, they gasp, “content writer?!?” And I nod my head, yes, knowing they’re suddenly envisioning fancy Great Gatsby-esque parties, whirlwind yacht cruises across the world and frequent dinners with royalty. It’s true, all true, but I’ll tell you, it’s not all glamorous parties, early 20th century cocktails and yacht tours of the world when you’re a content writer, no sir, sometimes you have to get down to work.
So, when I do get down to work, what is it that I, and other content writers, do? It’s a role that requires a lot of flexibility, and the wearing of many stylish hats (or fascinators, if that’s your thing). Here are some responsibilities a content writer may have:
Some content writers work together with web designers to create the content for a website. If a website is new, the content writer will talk with a client and come up with a sitemap for a website. From there, they’ll write the paragraphs or text on each page of the website. This can include taglines, headings, paragraphs, meta descriptions, page titles, image text, calls to action buttons or anything on the site that needs writing. If a client is looking to create a new site and they already have content, a content writer will go through the text with the client, updating it, editing and possibly writing new text. Once the site is live, a content writer can be responsible for maintaining the text as well as…
Blogging! Blogging is, in my opinion, one of the best parts of being a content writer. Blogging is perfect for those who are naturally curious or love to learn. Since a content writer blogs for a client or for business, it’s a little different from having a personal blog. For starters, a content writer will write for a variety of businesses on a bunch of topics. Because a content writer may not immediately know how to, say, build a deck in a backyard, that means research needs to be done. This could be either an internet search or an interview with the client. Once enough information has been compiled to confidently and authoritatively speak on a topic, a content writer will get to do their (hopefully) favorite thing – write!
This is where content writers get to be creative, and “act” a little. Content writers won’t write in their personal voice, but will take on the voice of the client in their writing. In fact, much blogging for business will be ghostwritten under an owner or business’s name, not the content writer’s name, so it’s important to get a good feel for how a client presents themselves.
A content writer almost always has to wear their SEO hat. If writing content that will appear anywhere on the web, it’s a must for a content writer to use search engine optimization tactics when writing. After doing keyword research, a content writer starts writing, keeping in mind the keyword they are focusing on in order to use it throughout the content. They will also focus on make sure keywords appear in page titles, H1s and meta descriptions.
This is where a content writer can suddenly transform into an email marketer. Some businesses have email template designers that are different from their writers, but a content writer can be responsible for both designing and writing an email. Content writers will need to know how to use a variety of email platforms like Constant Contact, MailChimp or Emma. This is another case where, when working with small businesses, a content writer may need to do their research to find best practices.
Creating a white paper is a pretty familiar task to most copywriters and marketers. Content writers will use their persuasive writing skills to create informative material on a specific topic or product, showing customers how said product or service could solve their specific problem. A content writer may be responsible for researching, writing and promoting a white paper for download.
Editing and Proofreading
Content writers will get pieces of copy from clients that need to be proofread and edited. That’s when content writers transition from writers to editors. Providing guidance for clients is an important part of helping them get across the message they want. A content writer will also have to be their own editor and proofer, making sure that content is appropriate for a client’s audience and not full of errors or typos.
Get to know your content writer, they will help you out a lot with your website or blogging, especially if you’re focused on running a business. And if you need a content writer, let me know, and I’ll be happy to talk to you about it, possibly while on a yacht to Morocco.