Let’s get this out of the way: content writing is and will never be easy.
If you think it is as simple as you posting three-paragraph thoughts on Facebook or constructing a thread on Twitter, you have yet to experience writing as a way of making a living.
The thing about writing is that every blank page is a new beginning. There’s no blog post, no essay, no listicle that is exactly the same. There are many moving parts to being a writer: synchronizing thought and articulation, a firm grasp of language, the ability to organize thoughts and present them. Just because you read a lot doesn’t mean you’ll be good on the other side of the process.
However, writing is also rewarding. It is liberating. It enriches one’s thought process. It can also make one know oneself better. And it can also be very lucrative.
Go online and look around: every brand, every product, and every service has a website that houses content. It is estimated that by 2021, spending on content marketing will be worth more than $ 412.88 million worldwide.
Even though this may sound discouraging, if you’re an aspiring writer, don’t be fazed.
If you truly enjoy writing and want to make it your profession, we have some tips to help you strive through the challenges of being a writer.
Being a professional content writer – especially if you are doing it freelance – you never really know what assignment may come your way. A technique to lessen your research load whenever you have a project is to always be on research mode.
This doesn’t mean burdening yourself to be all academic every day of the week. We just mean always keep yourself open to new information, inspiration, and ideas.
Build a habit by constantly visiting your favorite sites. Bookmark interesting articles you come across. It’s also a huge help to have an ideas notebook (or a digital counterpart) with you at all times.
When it’s time for you to write, you’ll be amazed at how many bits you’ll get to pull out from your memory banks and these, in turn, will lead you to more paths when you do need to conduct additional research.
Speaking from experience, many content writers fall into the trap of stringing thoughts too long in one sentence. At times, this can result in readers getting lost in the flow – not understanding what the writer intends to articulate.
For content marketing, try to keep things sweet and concise. Not only will it help the readers appreciate your voice better, it will also serve as training for you as a writer in organizing your thoughts and articulating your message minus the clutter.
Titles are the written equivalent of an elevator pitch.
What leads a reader to click your work is a title that piques their interest. According to Copyblogger, only 2 out of 10 will go actually beyond your headline. So you have to hook them then and there to read what you wrote.
What you can do is create a “badly put” version first. Just write a sentence that summarizes what you want to say in your article. It doesn’t matter if it’s long or compounded.
From there, work at perfecting your title. Make it shorter, more powerful. Hubspot says that 8 to 12-word headlines get the most shares on Twitter, and headlines between 12 and 14 words are liked most often on Facebook.
Keeping your sentences short does not only help in search engine optimization (SEO) it also gives you the right amount of restraint – the kind that could help boost your creativity.
Writing with search engine optimization (SEO) in mind is a tool to attract traffic to your work. However, it also works as being a good idea-starter.
Learning SEO helps you get an idea of what kind of content people look for online. It also teaches you in what formats readers may get to better appreciate your work.
So where do you start? Try visiting Google Trends and study what readers are searching online.
Next, once you have a topic or keyword in mind, try doing a simple search online. See what phrases are being used to search for your topic. Are they questions? Are they how-to’s? Are they tips?
Seeing how people consume content guides you to write content that addresses needs. Remember, writing is not just for yourself, but for your audience.
The purpose of a first draft is just getting your ideas out. Don’t expect to churn out a masterpiece on your first try.
This doesn’t mean that you half-bake your work. Try your best to present your thoughts and arguments as articulate and as cohesive as possible.
Once you get everything out, it’s time to edit, edit, and edit. Besides grammar, spelling, and punctuation don’t be afraid to edit deep. Revise your flow and take out redundant points and unnecessary sections.
As Stephen King put it, “kill your darlings.” Sometimes a writer’s favorite parts are those unneeded.
Writing takes a good deal of inspiration, and we would be lying if we said “writer’s block” does not exist.
At times, creating a good piece of work takes days, weeks, of percolation. However, we can’t always just say “I’m waiting for inspiration.”
The key here is learning your process. If it takes a long time for you to write – requiring multiple rounds of self-editing – then start your assignment earlier.
Working with clients is a give-and-take process, and if you get to provide your service on time and professionally, you train yourself to be adaptable in this industry.
However, you really can’t cut it, then reach out. Let your client know your hurdles. But don’t abuse their kindness. See if you can push back the deadline a day or two.
Still, don’t pressure yourself that much. Your work doesn’t have to be perfect, but it doesn’t have to be forced either. Find your middle.
Like any muscle, and like any skill, the old adage will always be true. Practice makes perfect.
Whether through any challenge and continue writing. The best way of learning is by doing, and when it comes to writing, take whatever tip you can, and just keep going.
If you want to be better equipped as a content writer, join us at our Manila Creators Meetup on Wednesday, September 25 for our Content Writing Bootcamp! Our panel of seasoned content writers will help you muddle through the hows and learn to build your first portfolio. Learn how to undertake client briefs, ideate, and most importantly, write professional-level online copy for social media content, EDMs, newsletters, and blogs/articles.
For more articles about freelancing, visit the Crafters.
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