Are content writers merely people who sit down and write SEO articles that are of little value to real humans? What exactly do professional content writers do everyday? The common assumption is this: content writers sit down in front of their computers writing out SEO articles that is of little value to human readers and choked up with keywords and elementary. Well…things have changed!
When people think about what content writers do on an everyday basis, most people think conjure up the image of a sloppily-dressed low-spirited individual sitting in front of their computers, fingers tapping on their keyboards and writing content for blogs, websites and social media pages.
As I have recently found, the image was far from the right one. It might have been kinda true back in the days, but things have changed dramatically now.
People don’t have a very good impression about or give enough credit to good content writers, especially those who pour their hearts and souls into delivering top quality content for their clients, companies, and employers.
Professional, Talented, Dedicated, and Resourceful Content Writers are in Demand Today
The truth of the matter is that it takes very little to be a content writer. And it is ALSO the truth that it takes a lot MORE to be hot on the heels of the latest trends and content formats.
Most content writers read a lot (yes, maybe even born bookworms) and can churn out para after para with their eyes closed. But let me just give you a quick insight into what a content writer may have to encounter on a typical day.
- Someone may have asked them to write about a medical profession that they’re unfamiliar with. With that said, a lot of research will come into play. They’ll be diving into info and jargons they’ve to Wikipedia and Google up along the way…and make sense of them
- A company may need a content writer to rewrite an outdated article. The content may still be largely intact but let’s assuming that it uses outdated references, these things are smackdown work!
- They might be asked to SEO an existing article or write two versions of the same content for different websites/blogs. As someone who has done this for more than 15 years, this takes practice and experience. The same person tends to write in the same way, using the same words and expressions, all the time. To write 2 articles that sound completely unlike each other is quite a feat
- They may be asked to rewrite and expand an existing company profile or social media caption. Working with someone else’s work is a mountainous task. There’s, after all, a reason why editors are paid better than writers. Editing and proofreading another person’s work without rewriting the entire thing can get you caught in a whole day’s worth of hair-pulling.
- A company might have very strict guidelines about word usage and SEO practises. For someone familiar with writing SEO-geared articles, this isn’t as hard as it can be but for a typical content writer, keeping in mind all those SEO guidelines can be mind-boggling.
And that’s why content writers need to be a swiss army knife of sorts and always evolving. Talented, dedicated, professional content writers, therefore, are in demand today because finding the right person for the job is tough in the sea of talents from all around the world today.
Presenting the Right Information in Right Tone of Voice
Most content writers have predilections for certain topics. However, in the real world, we hew to a lot of external, beyond-our-control factors.
Whether we’re talking about a Youtube video, a Wikipedia page writeup, a company profile, a Linkedin page, a social media update, or a blog post, they’re all about one thing – information. ACCURACY, and truth.
Many years ago, I argued that content writers are not much different from investigative journalists. Today, content writers (the good ones, anyway) are held to the same standards as reporters.
Today, this argument is more true than when I first argued about it.
There may not be as many red tapes compared to the day-to-day of a journalist in traditional news media but there exists more red tapes around content writers now than before.
If a content writer is writing for a professional brand, every single word WILL be scrutinized, edited, proofread, rewritten, revised, and then approved before they go online.
So, to many writers like me, writing online is basically no different, really, than journalistic work.
Some content writers are good enough to be on retainers or work exclusively for companies in a long-term relationship, hence, they are considered full-time or contracted content writers for the company.
Content writers who have secured such positions are the lucky ones because if you’re not employed or are not working under a contract….
Content Writers have to Wear Many Different Hats
One moment you could be writing about how to furnish a home, and then another moment, you’re rushing a corporate profile for your client. The next day, you’ve been commissioned to write 50 captions for social media posts and then the next day, you’re onto transcribing a video or audio.
I’m not just rattling off and prattling on about possible situations, this is IRL.
Depending on the company/individual/group they’re working for, they are:
- Industry experts (doctor, engineer, auditor)
- …etc. You get the picture
To wear all those hats (sometimes all in a day) because of our jobs, some of us succumb to personality disorders. #jk
We’re basically people who dive into every topic with the zest of an eager puppy dog who has just sniffed out dinner from the kitchen every single day.
Content writers are required to be curious, inquisitive, have an investigative nature, the ability to justify statements and quotes, present cases, and deliver sales pitches in pitch-perfect tones of voice.
If the writer is a newbie, a topic can take days to master. For seasoned content writers, their computers would have about 146 different tabs open.
In the internet age that we live in today, with fake information floating all about us from every corner of the world like glittery fairy dust, a writer who is in-depth and convincing at the same time is hard to find.
A Good Editor Makes all the Difference in the World
Most content writers work as their own editors, thanks to the help of online tools like Grammarly, ProWritingAid, and many more, but editing your own content is never quite enough.
You need an extra pair of eyes (or two) to see where you could possibly have gone wrong (and they often do no matter how many times you’ve read them front and backward). In most cases where a content writer and editor is working on the job, things can sometimes squeal to a halt.
In instances where content writers are hired as the extra pair of eyes to proofread or rewrite an existing copy, we often receive it in an indescribable condition. I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again – there is a good reason why editors are paid better than writers. The job is simply HARDER.
Some content contains not just misinformation and outdated terms, they’re not formatted for mobile, contain long sentences, contains grammatical errors and rough copies of work that seem to have been put together during someone’s 5-minute wait at McDonald’s.
The process? Where do we begin?
- Understanding the gist of the content
- Sifting through and sorting out important information
- Restructuring the content
- Verifying information
- Running through the article/content for grammatical and spelling mistakes
- Use the latest SEO strategies to rank the articles naturally and organically
- Rereading the content and, quite possibly, rewriting the whole article again
- Run the article through Copyscape to check for similarity and other errors
- Reading and finalizing the article before sending it to another person to give it the final once over
Content Writers Produce Content for Both Humans and Search Engines
Normal people call it headlines and summaries but SEO people call it H1, H2, H3, Meta Title, and Meta Descriptions.
Whether content writers are producing articles, videos, infographics, or audios, it is our job to strike the right balance between pleasing the humans who are reading, watching or listening to it, and making it into the ‘good kids’ list for search engines.
Using headlines, summaries, and conclusions, we make it easier for people to read it on-the-go on their laptops, smartphones, and mobile devices. They are also taken into consideration as far as SEO is concerned.
Around the headings, subheadings, summaries, and conclusions, we punctuate the articles with interesting images, embedded content from other social media accounts, or highlight important quotes and statements from other websites or within the article so that it is easy for the busy reader to scan through.
A Good Content Writer Goes that Extra Mile
Before a writer starts on a piece of article or blog post, the first thing we do is to look it over and compare it to what your competitors are putting out there. Which one of their content is ranking or is enticing? What kind of infographic are they using in their latest blog posts? What are their headlines? What kind of news are they tackling? Is there an angle they’ve not covered? Is there something we agree or disagree with? What keywords are they using?
And I promise you this – this is not mere lip service.
I hope you’re a little more convinced now that you’ve read this that your content writer is not just a blogger with nothing else better to do. A lot goes into producing something worth reading. It requires the same effort, persistence, curiosity, perseverance, and talent as many other investigative journalists out there.
Of course, this is open for argument as some journalists may challenge that they should be held to a higher regard.
It’s not untrue but I invite an investigative journalist or a scriptwriter to do what content writers do for a month and tell us again the task is less arduous.
There is no assigned high-flying editor sitting outside our cubicle in a cushy office nor is there a videographer/photographer at our beck and call, and that’s because we have to do all of that ourselves.
Doesn’t that make our jobs a lot more difficult than it sounds?
BY THE WAY…
Not knowing everything is not a disaster. I’ve recently had to face one of the most difficult challenges I’ve had to in my career and I am not taking it lightly. There’s always room to grow and I am ready.
If you agree, dive into some of the topics that I’ve found interesting this week/month.
My list of top 5 further reads!
- The Rise of AI-Enabled Customer Experiences (IndustryDrive)
- The Perks Of Being A 100% Remote CEO? Cycling, Yoga, And Gardening (Forbes)
- 10 Places to Find Online Transcription Jobs, Plus How Much Each Company Pays (TheWriteLife)
- Meet The Woman Who Poisoned Makeup To Help Over 600 Women Murder Their Husbands (Genevieve Carlton on Medium) Comment: OMG!
- This is what it was like to perform abortions before Roe (Anna North on Vox)
It’s a Sunday and we’re going back into the coal mine after today so, I hope you’re making the most out of the remainder of your weekend!
Happy writing and rock on!
All the best from me,