May 19, 2023 1.2K Reads
Content writing is often mistaken as an easy job- just simply writing down what one knows. But as this quote encapsulates, effective content writing needs a careful blend of strategy and putting down what one knows, which helps to add value to the readers’ lives. Whether it be content written for the web, a blog you like or an adscript, content writing needs careful planning, engaging writing and information that is useful to the reader.
Are you seeking to start your own journey of content writing or a professional looking to grow your area of expertise? If so, you’ve landed at just the right spot! Continue reading, as we guide you through all you need to know about content writing and tips to improve your writing.
When it comes to what exactly is meant by “content”, there can be a lot of confusion- is it the news article you read this morning while scrolling down the headlines? Or is it this blog that you are reading right now? Was it the social media story you swiped up on yesterday? Well, all of these, and many more forms of writing, comprise content writing.
Content is any form of digital information meant for consumption by a user. Going by this definition, content can be in a variety of formats-written, visual, audio or audio-video. When it comes to written content, it includes any written information packaged in a digital format to provide valuable knowledge to a reader. Often, content is prepared with a marketing aim in mind, while at the same time conveying useful information to readers.
Therefore, content in the modern world is:
The job of a content writer is, most obviously, to write and create content pieces, usually for the internet and having a business or marketing purpose. Content writers write content, proofread content, edit it as well as effectively strategize and plan the creation of content and assist in the creation of multimedia aids.
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Content writing, sometimes confused with creative writing, and sometimes with only writing blogs, moves much beyond these areas. Content writing is involved in virtually all domains of marketing a service or providing information to readers. It can be the social media content you write for a post, the script for an advertisement, the keynote speeches or newsletters, marketing emails sent out periodically to readers, or more conventionally, a blog or an article about a topic.
There can be a very large number of forms in which content is prepared. Here are some of the most common forms of content which you are likely to encounter when writing/reading:
Blogs are one of the oldest and currently prevalent forms of content writing, and they can be in a variety of forms as well-
In a marketing or professional setting, you might come most commonly across marketing, business, news, informative and educational blogs. Blogs usually have a free-flowing format, which can be tweaked as per need and preferences of the writer. They can have varying lengths, but should ideally be at least 1000 to 2000 words long.
Blogs that garner sufficient attention and readership today are often concise and to the point, with accurate and well-researched information.
Articles, closely related to blogs but more formally structured, are also pieces of writing aiming to provide useful information and perspectives to readers. They are also typically 500 to 1500 words long, although longer articles, approximately 1000 to 3000 words, are often written to provide more comprehensive information and rank higher for greater generation of traffic on websites.
Common types of articles written include:
Articles are typically written in a more impersonal and formal format, with less space for providing personal information and opinions except in a few cases. Learn more about writing articles effectively here (insert link for article writing).
The scripts written for advertisements, podcasts, explainer videos etc. are also some of the common forms of content written from a marketing perspective. Script-writing requires deft skills in putting down words in the written format, but capturing the essence of information that can be conveyed through audio-video formats.
Ad scripts are engaging and can have a formal and professional or informal and creative format depending upon the nature of the ad or podcast. One of the key features of script-writing is that it is written to engage not a reader but a viewer/listener since the output is finally delivered in a audio-video format and not written words.
Product descriptions are specifically designed with a marketing purpose. Product descriptions are written to describe a product or a service to a customer, as well as provide information about its price, characteristics etc., explaining elaborately why it is worth choosing.
Product descriptions can be short and crisp, as seen in social media posts, or can be relatively more detailed-as seen in catalogues and user manuals. Product descriptions, being specifically for marketing purposes, must be engaging, persuasive and informative from a customer’s perspective.
With the shift of businesses to the digital and online realm, professional emails and marketing emails are a key aspect of handling businesses, and a major strategic tool for advertising and marketing. Writing professional and marketing emails requires skills such as engaging and hooking the mail recipient, as in a fast-paced business world, emails are most likely to get lost in a sea of spam messages or junk mails. Thus, marketing emails and professional mails need to be written such that they articulate the central message quickly, in an engaging and concise manner.
Newsletters are periodical content pieces written to inform and update readers about a company or venture, its recent activities and events, and so on, in the form of short news pieces. Newsletters are shared commonly with the regular customers, subscribers or clients of a company, and are mainly written from a marketing and relationship-building aim with the customers.
Newsletters are written in a more formal, concise and informative manner- much like a news report. They are often similar in format to narrative news articles, but can be relatively shorter since they are often shared over emails or other digital platforms, thus needing to engage readers in a shorter span of time and attention.
Social media content includes all types of content created to be shared over social media, ranging from post content, content for stories, tweets, longer posts on platforms like Quora, Reddit, Tumblr etc. In this regard, some content can be solely for reading, as in the case of social media threads, tweets, posts on Quora, Tumblr etc. or can be created as scripts to be finally delivered in the audio-video formats as per the requirement.
Social media content can have both formal and informal tones depending on the purpose of the post, and often requires the content writer to come up with creative, engaging and innovative content that is interesting and hooking to the viewer/reader on an online social media platform. In this regard, tweaking one’s content to be entertaining and informative at the same time, and most importantly conveying useful information in a short span of time is needed.
Copywriting is a wide umbrella domain of content writing that requires written content for advertising and marketing purposes, and can be in a wide variety of formats such as short product descriptions, social media content, content for advertisements, websites, newsletters about the company, catalogues, scriptwriting, writing slogans and brand taglines etc.
Copywriting requires flexibility, creativity and ability to adapt one’s content to convey the brand image and message while making the content interesting, entertaining and informative for the viewer/reader.
Webpages are one of the most common formats in which content writers today are required to write. Since content writing is majorly concerned with the online and digital formats, a large amount of content may be created for websites, usually in the form of webpages. Content written for web pages can be of various types- ranging from website landing pages, testimonials, website guidelines and policies, product (or service) descriptions, homepage, contact information pages, About Us page etc. Depending upon the type of content being produced, the tone, format, length and content of the pieces would vary.
Although it may not be seen as content writing in conventional terms, writing description and testimonials for Youtube videos is another format in which content is written these days. Often, writing testimonials and Youtube descriptions for videos can be done by copywriters or content writers who work with other forms of writing as well. Youtube descriptions need to be informative and concise, and so the content writer should be able to articulate the information in a short word limit concisely.
This is a longer form of content writing, in which pieces are usually written with over 4000+ words, and they are helpful when the writer needs to present elaborate and comprehensive information to the reader. They can be written for informational and educational purposes, for detailed company descriptions and brand stories, user manuals, customer stories etc.
These forms of writing need to be detailed, informative, well-researched as well as able to hold the reader’s attention in an interesting and engaging way, since the format is long for the pieces. Depending upon the purpose of writing the ebook, the tone and style of writing can be formal and structured, but even in cases of more informal pieces, a basic structure is needed to make the content readable and more comprehensible.
Technical writing can involve various forms such as UX writing, writing researched pieces about a particular product or technical guides, press releases, business proposals and white papers etc. Technical writing requires the use of simple and concise language to make the content easily understandable and to-the-point. The tone, format and length of the pieces would accordingly vary as per whether one is writing a user manual, a technical guide, a press release or a UX piece.
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Unique and engaging content is central to growing one’s online presence today, and this is especially true in the case of businesses and professional ventures, whether at the personal or the organizational level. Content in various forms and formats are virtually required by all companies and organisations to convey their brand story, describe the company products and services as well as effectively engage with clients and customers through providing informative content.
Writing effective, unique and informative content for a variety of reasons such as:
Thus, content writing, especially informative and uniquely written content, is very helpful for growing businesses online and helping in customer engagement.
Here we have summarised some of the most important aspects to keep in mind while writing content for the web or business purposes. Keep these tips in mind while writing the next time for the internet or marketing purposes, to make your content a stronger contender for ranking and business growth.
The very first sermon to always follow while writing any form of content, be it the shorter or longer forms, is to ensure original and unique writing. One of the key reasons as to why many writers are not able to successfully write for the internet is the lack of original ideas.
Content writing for marketing and the internet needs to be unique and plagiarism free, i.e. it should not be copied or taken from any uncited source. Copied content, when scanned by the bots of search engines, is identified as plagiarised, and inevitably falls on the ranking of pages. So, the key to writing efficiently is ensuring your articles are original and not plagiarised from any source.
Before you start to write content in any form, it is important to conduct thorough research on the topic. Having an in-depth understanding of the topic and knowing its basics is very important for being able to write effectively on the topic.
Initial research is also essential for providing correct information in your pieces. Providing incorrect factual information can lead to a significant loss of readers, as incorrect information creates a very negative impression about the brand/company or source of the information. This is also associated with loss of brand authority. So, researching about the topic before writing about it is extremely important.
Understanding the need and intent of search for the reader is key to having ranking content pieces. So, understanding the purpose of the search on a particular topic can help you to write a piece that answers all the questions of the reader.
So, while writing a content piece, you should ensure it provides answers to the readers’ questions in a concise and factually accurate way. Moreover, understanding your target audience for a piece (e.g. a business group in case of a business proposal vs a seeker of infotainment in the case of social media audience) will help you write more effectively to meet the readers’ requirements, mindsets and accordingly describe your brand and business to the target audience.
Researching about the trending keywords for a given topic is essential from a search-engine optimisation perspective. Including the trending keywords and phrases in your piece of writing helps in increasing its search engine value as it is more likely to rank higher and get identified by the search engine bots as having relevant information sought by readers.
Identifying the relevant and trending keywords, phrases and terms related to a particular topic can be quite helpful in writing a ranking blog/article/webpage.
The digital sphere and consumers of digital media are extremely fast-paced, leading to a lowered attention span. The average attention span of a reader on the internet is no more than 8 seconds! So, if you wish to have a good readership and engagement of customers with your content, you need to grab their attention right away from the beginning.
For this, you can use an innovative and curiosity-provoking hook at the beginning of your piece. This can be a thought-provoking quote, a line from a famous piece of media (with due citation), a question etc. A hook that ties the attention of the readers to the piece is helpful for increasing engagement with your content. Greater reader engagement translates to greater brand and website authority in the longer run.
This is a basic aspect to keep in mind when writing for any format, but especially more so for content writing for business and marketing purposes, as the writer needs to capture the reader’s attention about their brand and product in the limited period of attention of an average digital consumer.
So, a basic need to always meet is that your content is interesting and engaging to read, and not be unnecessarily elaborate but rather concise, to-the-point and informative. The linguistic tone should be comprehensible and not beyond the level of understanding of the intended target audience. So, if you are writing content aimed at targeting high school students, the language should not be as sophisticated as the level of comprehension of a professional teacher.
If your content piece can have an informal tone (for example, content for an advertisement, social media etc.) then you can use humorous, innovative and witty ways of writing to pique the curiosity of viewers/readers as well as create an impression on your target audience. Creating a brand impression in a sea of numerous companies and brands can help you set your venture apart from others, helping a viewer/reader recognise your brand and increase brand engagement.
Whenever you are writing content for the internet, making it quickly scannable and comprehensible helps the readers to find relevant answers to their questions quickly and effortlessly. With multiple sources of information available on the internet at the click of a mouse, having scannable and organised content helps to engage the reader with your piece without them exiting the page right away.
Some of the important strategies that can be used in this regard include:
Have you ever read a textbook extensively written with text but without a single graphical or schematic diagram? Or trying to scan through a blog without any graphics? The chances are that while going through such pieces, you experienced a loss of interest midway.
Similar is the case with readers when you try to put in extensively researched material solely through text. Effectively written content does not only include text but can also convey information through images, tabulations, graphs, diagrams and audio-video representations. These make your content piece interesting and provide a good chance to readers from simply reading to developing understanding through images and audio-visual aids. With the digital sphere shifting more and more towards multimedia, interspersing written content with multimedia aids helps in the better ranking of your pages on search engines as well as readers tend to engage with content having diverse media cues.
One cannot emphasise the importance of editing enough. The very first draft you prepare for any piece of content, be it a brief ad script or a longer blog or article, is often crude and exemplifies your initial ideas. It is advisable to read the piece at least twice thoroughly.
With thorough editing and proofreading, you can not only identify mistakes and errors to correct in your piece, you can also develop new and unique ideas along the way which you can include in your piece. Rereading and editing your pieces helps in recognising your voice and tone, seeing if it fits your main message of the content and adjusting it accordingly.
Since content writing is primarily concerned with writing for the internet and for marketing and business purposes, making it SEO-friendly is very important to ensure ranking and engagement in search engines. SEO or search engine optimization, includes making content appropriately adjusted and modified to yield a higher engagement with users on search engines like Google, Yahoo etc. In essence, the tips that we have been discussing so far help to make your content SEO-friendly. We have listed some more aspects to make your content appropriate for higher ranking on search engines.
SEO-friendly content writing:
While content writing abilities can be effectively improved through practice, there are certain basic skills that a content writer needs to have and work on further. Here we have listed some of the key skills needed to excel in career domains related to content writing.
Since researching and developing a sufficient understanding of the topic of concern is preliminary to content writing, a content writer should possess good research skills, which includes studying multiple sources of information, understanding and identifying key aspects of the problem and further using this understanding to write the content in an informative, factually well-researched and engaging manner.
Since content writing requires writing original content consistently and in an engaging manner, creativity is very important for this domain. Moreover, for copywriting and script writing, one needs to develop content that is catchy, appealing, unique, informative and entertaining simultaneously. Thus, creativity is central to writing innovatively and increasing the reader's engagement with your content.
This is a central aspect of content writing, since writing effectively requires that the piece is error-free, both grammatically and spelling-wise. For this, a thorough and strong base in grammar and diction is needed. Hence, grammatical knowledge and a vast vocabulary is a mandatory skill area that a content writer must possess.
Since content writing often has a marketing and business growth objective, a content writer should be able to convince and persuade the reader/viewer about the usefulness of their product/service without sounding compelling. This is especially needed for copywriting, ad script writing, business proposals, marketing emails etc. So, the ability to write persuasively without sounding biased, is a skill a content writer must possess to write impactful pieces.
Being original in your writing is an irreplaceable skill that can take you places in the field of content writing. While adapting your tone and writing style as per the purpose of writing is needed, maintaining an originality in your way of writing, whether it's about your vocabulary, style of articulation or overall appeal of a piece, being original and having unique ideas of writing are central to increasing the impact of a piece you write. Moreover, maintaining originality in writing is also important to avoid any plagiarism threats. Writing original and unique content that provides meaningful and concise answers to reader queries is the key to top ranking pieces published on the internet.
One could write extensively but be unable to convey the exact intended message to the reader. As a content writer, you should be able to provide answers to the readers’ questions while also conveying the intended message of your piece (i.e. the business appeal or the marketing pitch) effectively. Being able to articulate your ideas and messages through your reading is even more essential for copywriting, ad script writing or white papers and marketing mails. For such types of content, the writer should be able to create an impact and articulate the message of the brand or advertisement through limited words. Hence articulation capabilities become central to the impact that the piece has on the minds of its readers and viewers.
This skill can improve further with more practice. The practice of editing and carefully proofreading the pieces you write is especially important in the case of longer pieces such as blogs and articles. Whether it is identifying the errors or areas needing improvement, proofreading and editing can help produce a final piece free of language errors, aligned with your initial message and intended purpose of writing. Editing and proofreading does not only involve skimming through a document/written piece for grammar or spelling error, it also includes:
So effective proofreading and editing is not simply a task but also a skill you should actively develop and practise while writing content of all types.
The last skill we mention here on a concluding note is being adaptable. As a professional or freelancing content writer, you may not have the chance to specialise in only one type of content throughout your career or even in your current job (e.g only writing blogs or only writing ad scripts). The field requires a diverse set of skills for writing in various formats and hence one of the skills needed to thrive in this field is being adaptable and flexible. One should be able to effectively shift one’s focus and perspective of writing, set the tone of the piece and adjust the sophistication level of the language of the piece as per the requirement and purpose of writing that particular piece. Hence being adaptable and flexible is extremely essential for excelling as a content writer.
While content writing skills and developing them depends on practice to a large extent, you can also take up some basic or advanced courses in content writing to improve your skills of content writing. If you want to start content writing or learn more about professional content writing, there are a number of courses in the online (or offline) mode that can be taken up.
There are professional content writing courses as well as content writing courses for beginners which are available across a large number of online learning platforms. There are short-term certification courses which can be pursued comfortably from home or any location of your choice. Some of these courses can be free of cost whereas some courses may be paid.
Here we have listed some of the top popular and well-regarded courses on content writing available to pursue through the online mode.
|The Content Writing Course||Udemy||INR 649||16 Hours|
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|Content is King: Writing Killer Content for Web & Marketing||Udemy||INR 649||3 Hours|
|The Strategy of Content Marketing||Coursera||INR 2152||20 Hours|
|Content Marketing Basics||Great Learning||Free of Cost||2 Hours|
|Copywriting for Digital Marketing||edX Learning||–||6 Weeks|
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|Content Writing Course||Henry Harvin||–||36 Hours|
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If you are a beginner in content writing, there are certain key requirements that you must consider to start learning about content writing:
If you want to start content writing from home, then you need to first develop your basic skills of content writing. Here we have provided a list of the basic ways in which you can start your content writing journey from home:
Writing for the internet and web may be new to many writers and as a result, one may not be aware of the nuances of the field of web optimisation. However, making your content optimised for the internet is very important if one wants their piece to rank higher in search engines and generate reader engagement. This is needed for gathering more leads for one’s business or marketing venture, and eventually converting those leads to grow the business.
For this, effective SEO editing is needed on the content before it is uploaded on the internet. There are a few practices to engage in to ensure that your content is SEO-friendly. Doing this will be helpful in garnering more readers and leads to your page. Here are a few useful tips for optimising your content for the web
Additionally, keep the tips for effective content writing in mind for better performing pages and pieces, with enhanced user engagement.
Content writing for the internet or for business purposes can be aided by a number of tools that can be helpful in making your content better-suited for performing efficiently on internet platforms. Some of these tools are free to use, while some can be subscribed to.
Here we have mentioned some of the applications and tools that can be used by novice to expert content writers for optimising and improving the quality of the content they write.
Grammarly is a writing assistance tool with a diverse number of features, and being free to use (with a subscription-based version available for advanced features), it is one of the most useful tools available to improve the quality of your content. Grammarly is an easy-to-use AI-supported tool that provides suggestions for improving the content simultaneously as you write. Some of its top features include:
The thesaurus tool can be very helpful in developing a strong vocabulary and diction to use in content writing. This tool provides a number of synonyms, antonyms, and grammar suggestions as well as writing suggestions to the readers for making the content more impactful and engaging for readers. Thesaurus tool is available to use free of cost on the internet at https://www.thesaurus.com/
Chat GPT is a free to use AI chatbot that has been developed by Open AI that can be effectively and strategically used for developing content ideas, finding unique niche topics to write about as well as use as a grammar and linguistic suggestions tool. However, the tool also has potential to be misused, and there are a number of aspects to keep in mind while using Chat GPT for supporting your content writing.
Some of the best uses of Chat GPT for a content writer include:
There are some aspects while using Chat GPT for content writing that should be strictly avoided:
Is Chat GPT a Boon or a Bane? Due to the extreme power and rapidly evolving capabilities of Chat GPT, many content writers are worried that their job and occupation of writing is soon to be replaced by automation and AI-driven writing tools. In this regard, it is important to remember that Chat GPT cannot completely develop the human ability to write irrespective of how advanced it becomes. The human understanding of writing content tweaked specifically to meet the demands of the reader, with nuanced refinements of tone, business appeal, creativity and uniqueness is hard to emulate by an AI software.
Rather, Chat GPT is a highly useful assistive tool for content writing, as it can become your one-stop assistant for planning out your content, structuring it, checking grammar and spelling errors, suggesting corrections and giving new ideas for writing when you run out of them!! Find out detailed guidelines and information about how you can use Chat GPT here.
Copyscape is a tool for checking the plagiarism of any written piece published on the internet. The tool is available to use over the internet free of cost and with a subscription as well. The tool’s main features include:
Hubspot’s Blog Ideas Generator can be your saviour when going through writer’s block. This free-to-use tool suggests blog ideas and ideas about catchy and appealing titles of blogs to drive traffic to your piece and generate leads. This tool is helpful for developing detailed ideas about pieces you want to write when you only have a preliminary idea about the topic or domain of your choice. The premium version of the app also provides features such as blog editing, SEO and keyword analysis, suggestions etc.
This is a holistic and all-round SEO tool that will be helpful in creating an SEO-friendly piece for the internet. The tool is available to use for subscribers of SEO Ranking and has features such as suggesting ideas and trending topics for your pieces to provide higher reader engagement, SEO-optimising your content, checking the overall quality of a content piece, guiding keyword usage, evaluation of written content against competitors etc. This tool is suitable for intermediate to advanced content writers.
There are a considerably large number of career options one can choose to pursue in the field of content writing in India. One of the added advantages of pursuing a career in the field of content writing is that one can start very early on-while pursuing one’s study and alongside full-time jobs as well.
Content writing is currently one of the most accessible job domains in the professional spheres, and simultaneously one of the most demanded ones, since all types of business ventures require some form of online presence and hence unique content to create an impression in the minds of readers and viewers.
Here we have listed some of the appealing job roles in the field of content writing along with the average salaries offered in India for the same.
|Job Roles||Average Salary in India (per annum)|
|News Writer||INR 4,00,000|
|Social Media Writer||INR 3,00,000|
|Research Writer||INR 2,50,000|
|Script Writer||INR 12,00,000|
|Technical Writer||INR 6,50,000|
The salaries mentioned above are average salaries offered at entry level to mid-level positions. With increasing experience and specialisation, the salaries are subject to substantial rise. Another advantage of this field is that you can start working remotely or in the physical mode as a content writer from college years itself. There are a number of institutions and companies that hire students as intern content writers as well, and can hence serve as a good source of side income.
As automation and AI takes over the major job sectors, reducing the need for human efforts in performing job tasks, many content writers are worried about the future scope of the field. Many fear that the sector will be taken over by automated text generators and AI driven writing robots that can effectively produce unique pieces of writing like humans.
However, it is not to be feared that AI systems will completely take over human efforts of writing. If that were to be the case, then the need for humans to write would have declined with the advent of the computer itself. The style of human writing can only be mimicked to an extent, but not exhaustively emulated to replace human writers with robots.
Rather, with the growing shift of businesses from the physical to digital environment, the need for content writers to effectively describe businesses as well as indulge in marketing products and businesses is only to rise further.
So the scope of this field is growing and prosperous. In the future, the scope of content writing is to grow through
The career options in the industry are rising, and by integrating the use of machine-driven technologies like AI tools, content writers can write pieces that are tailored to the unique needs of the readers and grow a successful, high-paying and satisfying career.
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Content writing is writing any form of written content in the short and long forms for the digital media with usually a marketing or business purpose. Content writing can also be for informative purposes without any specific business or marketing purpose. Content writing examples include blogging, social media content writing, script writing, news writing, research writing etc.
No, content writing is not exactly the same as copywriting, copywriting includes specifically creating written pieces for marketing and business purposes. Copywriting includes short to moderately long pieces. Content writing on the other hand can include short, moderate and longer forms of writing as well, and can or cannot serve a business or marketing purpose. Content writing can be for simply informative purposes or for sharing personal purposes as well. Copywriting always has a business purpose.
The average salary for various domains of content writing in India range from INR 3,00,000 to INR 6,50,000 per annum. Top paying areas include research writing, technical writing etc.
Yes, if you are a college student or pursuing another full-time job, you can take up content writing as a freelancer or an intern in companies. With salaries from INR 4 LPA to INR 6 LPA, content writing can serve as a good source of extra income alongside a full-time job.
The work of a content writer ranges from writing blogs, articles to emails, newsletters, writing scripts for advertisements, slogans and taglines for brands etc. The field of content writing is vast and varied and depending upon the area you choose to work in, the work areas will be further defined.
Content writing is not a very easy task since it requires creativity, extensive research, writing skills with knowledge of appropriate diction and grammar as well as writing unique and search engine optimised content. However, with practice, it is possible to grow one’s skills of writing, especially content writing for the web. Hence, with some experience of writing for the web, one can easily write unique and ranking pieces.
Some of the important skills for content writing include grammar and diction skills, research skills, creativity, innovation, ability to understand reader intent and write concise and unique pieces etc.