I want to be a content writer. How do I start?
Some of the most fundamental questions one should ask themselves if they are trying to launch their career in the content writing industry are –
1. Do I have an extensive vocabulary, impeccable grammar and turn of phrase?
2. Am I an avid reader and have the ability to research?
3. Can I be open to feedback and learning new skills?
If you’ve answered every question with a resounding ‘yes’, you are well on your way to becoming a content writer.
I was clueless when I got started because there aren’t exactly guides on this subject that caters to inexperienced writers. You get a ton of jargon thrown at you like SEO, target audience, B2C writing and it is quite easy to feel overwhelmed by it all. Even when I did become a content writer, it was quite difficult to make people around me understand what I do for a living.
Coming from a middle-class family, I always wanted financial independence to be able to get out of the obnoxious monetary restriction I had. Irrespective of the field you are in, you can become a content writer if you have the necessary skills. If you have a background on literature studies or its associated degrees, it smoothens the process.
I have realized that presence of mind along with good literary skills can suffice the primary requisite of being a content writer. Freelancing can be your way of dipping your toe in the larger pool. You can take up projects on websites like Upwork, Freelancers or Fiverr.
For fresh graduates that want to launch a full-fledged career, you could start with Internshala or LinkedIn to start with smaller internships where you can learn the tricks of the trade. I remember interning for a video game blog where I would beta test video games before it was sent out to major websites.
What do you mean by content writing?
Content writing is a broader term used to describe a variety of formats such as blogs, articles, website, product descriptions among others.
According to SEMrush, India has shown a whopping share of 73.87 percent for content writing vacancies with an overall daily search volume of 26,309.
What skills does a content writer need?
A quick online search will tell you that it’s not just proficiency in grammar that can propel your content writing career forward. It is merely the starting point.
Here are the top 8 skills you need to have to make it as a content writer
- Research Skills
- Basic SEO
- Organizational Skills
- Delivering Quality
- Deadline Management
- Editing Skills
Content writing is only 40% writing and 60% SEO, research and editing.
Here’s a simple structure that can help any novice writer get started:
How to upgrade your skills as a content writer
Reading more and getting the right experience will definitely help you skill up. However, there are tons of online and offline courses on copywriting, SEO and blogging today that can help you get started.
- IIEDM in Mumbai.
- Digital Academy 360 in Bangalore.
- Udemy Content Writing Online Course.
- The Brand Salon in Mumbai.
Some of the best websites to learn from are Skillshare, Udemy, Coursera, and EdX. You can even start with some free online courses on YouTube.
As far as the actual planning and organization is concerned, there are also dozens of tools to help:
- Grammarly Premium – for grammar
- CopyScape – to check plagiarism
- Hemingway – for better readability
- Trello – for project management
- CoSchedule – Headline analyzer
- Hubspot – Blog Topic Generator
- SEMRush – Keyword research
- Keywords Anywhere – Chrome extension for search volume
Do I find a niche or just write what I am told to?
If you want to go down the blogger route, then it is absolutely vital for you to identify your strengths and stick to a particular niche. However, if you are just getting started, you might want to try your hand at different niches before you settle on something that you really like.
Growing your personal brand
- Create a portfolio and know where your strengths lie.
- Advertise your services through your LinkedIn profile
- Become active on social media
- Consider sharing your work on platforms like Medium
- Network with other writers and potential clients.
After achieving some success as a content writer, you could probably look at becoming a content marketer. A content marketer comes up with strategies to grow traffic, increase sales and brand awareness. Not only do they have to create content from scratch but they also have to ensure that there is a consistent brand voice across all platforms.
The entire content creation process – from keyword research to the finished piece complete with design – is the responsibility of a content marketer. You also have to think about how different content works for different platforms, the target audience and stay up to date with the latest SEO strategies.