The content writing job role, in its simplest terms usually means a professional writer who is hired for written pieces as part of an ongoing marketing or sales strategy.
Businesses will use content writers (or hire their own) when they need ongoing content like:
- Blog posts
- Marketing materials
- Email newsletters
- Press releases
- Social media posts
In an era where Google ranks pages based on the quality of their content, a skilled content writer is the best investment a business can make. Content writers help businesses convey their message long term using strategies that connect to their audience, improve open rates and ultimately drive sales.
Sales are not always the initial goal, and that’s why content writers are often confused with copywriters.
Whilst you can be both a copywriter and content writer, a content writer is not necessarily a copywriter.
Content Writers Vs Copywriters: What is the Difference?
A copywriter writes ‘copy’.
Copy, in a marketing/sales/business sense, is a piece of writing with the sole aim to convince the reader to buy what is on offer.
A content writer writes ‘content’.
Content, in a marketing/sales/business sense, is a piece of writing that is part of a larger strategy. That could be to provide education to an audience and be informative (with the greater goal of showing your skills to your audience). Alternatively, it could just be to grab attention or create media hype, as you do with press releases.
Both are their own discipline, and whilst we here at Silhouette Creatives are London-based content writers for example, we are also copywriters as well and deal with direct sales copy etc.
Let’s look specifically at content writing for the purpose of this post, now we have that distinction out of the way.
What Does The Content Writing Job Include?
The content writing job role can differ depending on a clients’ or business’ need.
Some businesses hire content writers in-house and others hire freelance content writers if what they need is more ad hoc or in smaller amounts. As mentioned above, typical types of materials a content writer will create include:
- Blog posts
- Marketing materials
- Email newsletters
- Press releases
- Social media posts
Plus, they may often help with other specialised elements like:
- Staff training materials e.g. slideshows etc.
- Course content
- Business documentation and reports
But, writing well isn’t the only criteria for hiring a good content writer!
The Content Writing Job Role Includes Several Fields of Expertise
Opening a document and just typing away is not the right approach for producing quality content. If you’re hiring content writers and that’s all they are doing, stop.
Content specifically for businesses needs to be valuable, adaptive and fit in with the current strategy. Any good content writer will need multiple skills in their toolkit to get the content where it needs to be.
So, your content writing job wishlist should also include these things*:
* Not everyone is an expert at everything and often content writers will adapt to suit their clients. I have some clients who prefer to present specific research or research pools whilst others don’t know where to look. Some have their own SEO experts and provide keywords, others need it incorporated into the project. It’s not one-size fits all.Important to Note
Research is pretty much the bread and butter of every content writer. It helps expand knowledge and improve expertise in various areas. Even if you provide some research to your writers, you should still expect them to be able to fact check and do extra research to add depth to a piece.
There are several types of research that a content writer does while they are working on a new piece of content.
- Buyer/Audience Research – Even though a content writer is tasked to write by their client or boss, they are not writing an article for them. They are writing for the audience. Knowing the target audience, their pain points, values, and desires, allows a content writer to exert their written influence to meet the client’s goals.
- Topic Research – Writing for the audience is crucial, but displaying expertise offers the value and education that can influence readers to act. Writers need to actually write well about the topic they’ve been given as if they are experts, even if they are not, and this requires a range of research from fact-checking through to initial outlines.
- Competitive Content Research and Analysis – Remaining competitive in the same space whilst offering new value is incredibly important to stand out. A lot of research is done on articles and posts to ensure that it’s not ‘mirror content’ of a competitor. Also, looking at what others are doing helps content writers make sense of the current trends in a particular industry or niche and determine success rates of various strategies.
Tone of Voice
Being able to research content is irrelevant without the right writing style. Businesses should have a unique voice that they present to their target audience and that creates an internal culture too. This makes them recognisable and more trustworthy long-term with their audience. Writers need to embody this, even if they are creating technical pieces as well conversational newsletters.
A decent content writer should be flexible and adaptive to the tone of voice or styles you need. Before you hire a writer, think about the type of content you need long-term and then find the right fit with tone of voice for the content writing services you choose.
Search engine optimisation (SEO) relates to where your website/business ranks in search results.
Why are those rankings important?
Well, the higher up you are in search results, the more traffic, and potential leads you’ll get from your website, (and the less you’ll need to spend on other marketing efforts.)
Google emphasises quality content and will rank websites with quality content higher. Their best practices state that only unique and original content that is relevant to the website, industry, and the visitors will help a website rank higher.
Content writers with SEO experience will have their own best practices to ensure content is optimised. In simplest terms, they’ll produce content that is:
- Original – Not only should your content writer be coming up with new ideas that fit your message and narrative, but they shouldn’t appear anywhere else online. Content writers know better than to plagiarise. Plagiarised content actually damages SEO and your business’ reputation.
- Relevant – Content should, in some form or another, relate to the products/services you offer as well as the audience they are catered for. If it’s not educational, promotional, or influential, you’re missing a trick!
- Optimised – It should be rich in keywords that are organically placed throughout the text to help search engines rank them. Without compromising on quality! (can you spot the keywords we’re using here?!)
Although not essential, it’s helpful to have a content writer that can work with a variety of platforms for uploading content. This could be content management softwares (CMS) or websites like Wix or WordPress, as well as CRM tools for organisational purposes.
Plus, in many environments, they’ll need to work with editors and proofreaders and understand basic HTML tags. For example, as part of SEO best practices, heading (H) tags are used to differentiate content.
Other important tags include:
- <strong> – this will bold the important part of the sentence
- <em> – this will emphasise the important section
- <del> and <ins> – this shows text that was deleted after the initial publication with a strikethrough, while the additionally inserted text will often be in italics.
- <ul> – this helps build unordered lists (like this one)
- <ol> – this helps build ordered (numbered) lists
Written content is part of a bigger picture and content writers need to understand the marketing role it plays.
Blog posts, press releases, and brochures all have their place in the marketing funnel and underlying messages that need to be conveyed to work as part of a larger strategy.
Hire content writers that are able to make this distinction and not treat every piece as standalone, and be able to function as part of the marketing team.
Even if they’re a freelancer.
The content writing job role should fit neatly into your processes and provide pieces that complement ongoing marketing messages.
Ultimately, Content Writers Help You Boost Your Business
Essentially, the right content writing services can help you differentiate yourself and your business from the competition, even though you might be in a very competitive niche.
Your content doesn’t have to be just another dull version of regurgitated rubbish that everyone has read before!
Plus, it shouldn’t take up your time either.
If you want to take the hassle and confusion out of hiring a content writer, use our London content writing services to shine a light on your business, as part of your overall strategy!
Contact me directly by clicking here.