Content writing can sometimes seem like an ambiguous term, but in reality, there are many kinds of content writing.
There’s technical content, marketing content, search engine optimized content – the list goes on and on!
This guide to what is in content writing will help you better understand the different aspects of this type of writing, as well as why it’s so important to your business or organization’s online presence.
The most important things you need to know are what you’re writing, who you’re writing for, and how they can benefit from it.
This will be your top priority. Once you have those things clear, here are some other questions to consider:
Who are your competitors? What do they offer that’s different from what you’re planning on offering? Who do they target, and who do they leave out?
What online/offline distribution channels will work best for reaching your audience, and which ones might not be worth your time or effort (or aren’t available)?
These may seem like simple questions at first glance but don’t underestimate their importance. All of these decisions come into play when you start building content for an entire campaign or project.
The most important part of content writing is finding a good topic. Like any other form of writing, your success will depend on what you write about and how you write it.
Knowing where to look for potential topics and ideas can be tough for beginners, but with a little bit of effort, you can find many possibilities.
One place you could start would be right here at ProBlogger – take a look at our Job Board or Resources section for ideas.
Most popular blogs post opportunities like these frequently; so even if you don’t have an idea yet, make sure that you check back often!
Researching your Topic
Once you’ve started working with clients, you’ll notice a common theme: There are always several questions about content writing that need answering.
What exactly does it entail? How do I get started? Where can I find quality writers? As part of your business planning and outreach, be sure to include ways for customers and prospects to learn more about content writing.
A knowledge base or FAQ section can help provide answers on a topic-by-topic basis. Not only will it demonstrate your expertise and help people feel more confident when they hire you—but it’ll also give them a resource they can come back to over time as they have questions.
Keywords and Metadata
This is where you write about what your company does and how it can help customers. Search engines use keywords and metadata descriptions to categorize your website, so they must describe your site accurately and concisely.
Google will also use these keywords to determine what type of content you produce, but they do not rely on them as heavily as many people think.
Instead, they are a small piece of a larger puzzle. The primary goal of keywords should be to help people find your business rather than tricking search engines into ranking highly for particular phrases.
The Rewrite Process
If you’re new to content writing, you may wonder why it needs so much rewriting. Here are three reasons:
(1) When you first write a piece of content, your idea is solid but your writing isn’t. Your job as a content writer, then, is to massage that writing into something readable and persuasive;
(2) As people read your work for the first time and offer feedback, their responses help you hone your ideas. That means more edits;
(3) After submitting your final piece for review, editors will suggest ways to sharpen or clarify certain sections or arguments.
Grammar, Punctuation, and Spelling
Good grammar and punctuation go a long way. Even if you are writing for yourself, but you’re hoping others will read your work, having terrible grammar makes you look unprofessional.
It conveys an immediate sense of unapproachability that turns readers off from what you have to say.
Learn how to correct common grammar mistakes and don’t forget spelling either! It might be embarrassing now, but it can make all of the difference in how professional you appear later on.
Longer Outlines are Better
Although outlines seem simple enough—and some people can crank out great content without them—every writer should learn how to organize their thoughts into an outline.
A good outline keeps you on task by forcing you to think about every aspect of your topic and give it proper consideration.
That way, when you sit down to write, you’ll already have a working understanding of what needs to go into your piece.
Outlines also help protect against writer’s block by giving structure and direction: If you have a detailed outline already laid out, writing becomes less intimidating.
Just start at one end of your outline and work through it step-by-step until completion. You might be surprised how little time it takes if you know where you’re going from the beginning.
Choosing Images for your Post
The importance of images cannot be understated. With more people skimming web pages than ever before, it’s important to use a combination of relevant and attractive images.
Use images that are high-quality and relevant—you’ll want your prospective clients to see how well you work with them and their brand (and/or products).
Be sure that all of your images are at least 1,024 by 768 pixels so they look good on both desktops and mobile devices.
Make sure that you have permission from whoever owns these rights (typically an image owner) before using any kind of image for commercial purposes—even if it’s your original artwork!
If you can find a way to incorporate photos taken by others into content, even better.
Proofreading Tips & Tricks
Proofreading is an extremely valuable step when it comes to content writing, and even if you don’t think you need it, you’re bound to make some mistakes.
As a rule of thumb, proofread every piece of content that you write or have someone else proofread it for you.
Taking your time will pay off; after all, once something has been published online, there’s no way of taking it back!
Allowing yourself plenty of time for proofreading gives you a fighting chance at noticing mistakes and fixing them before they go live.
Proofreading can also save on costs; do-overs cost just as much as first drafts if not more.