If you’re thinking of becoming a content writer, there is no single path you need to take to achieve your goals. Have you ever wondered what a content writer does? Content writers come from all kinds of backgrounds and utilize their various experiences to write articles, blog posts and other types of digital content. Regardless of your writing experience, content writing is an accessible and open field to those willing to give it a try.
As you begin writing, figuring out how to effectively write digital content can be intimidating. However, there are a few principles that can make the learning curve easier to manage. Below are six beginner content writing tips that you can keep in your back pocket as you learn the ropes.
Content Writers Grab Their Audience’s Attention
According to a study done in 2018 by the Neilsen Norman Group, 57% of a user’s viewing time is dedicated to the top of the page. That’s why your title and introduction paragraphs are crucial. Creating a keyword-rich and attention-grabbing title and introduction paragraph not only helps you rank higher on the search engine results page (SERP) – it also helps retain your audience’s attention and encourages them to continue reading.
Knowing your audience also plays a significant role in the way you present information. There are a few questions you may ask yourself to start to learn your audience: are they made of business professionals? Beginners? Or are they a younger demographic? Write a title and introduction paragraph that your audience will respond to.
Content Writers are Ready for Research
Writers are problem solvers. As a creative content writer, your job, no matter what genre you write in, is to find the most accessible and effective way to present information. And you can’t do this unless you understand the subject.
Content writing is research – while you may be lucky enough to write content on a subject you are well-versed in, that might not always be the case. Regardless of whether you need to research or not, you will often need to supply sources and backlinks in your content writing. As a content writer, you must ensure your writing is informative. Before you begin writing, take the time to research your subject, take notes and compile a list of references to help you write.
Adopt a Content Writer Style
Writing is one part substance and one part style. While the information you present must be accurate and relevant, content writing should also feel personal, even when it’s not. That’s where style comes in. According to Masterclass, writing style is comprised of two elements: voice and tone. Voice is personality, and tone is attitude. While voice is something you develop through practice, tone is something you can build through your sentence structure and language. For beginning writers – especially beginning content writers – developing your tone is a solid place to start when you’re trying to learn a writing style.
When writing content, adopting a friendly and personable tone can make the driest material fascinating. A conversational tone can go a long way, especially if you’re writing an overview of a complex subject. And the best way to understand voice and tone is to read. By reading other content writing, you will eventually train your ear to pick up on style as you write.
Content Writers Keep It Simple
Despite the importance of style, when it comes to writing, it is more important that it is accessible. Content writing should be neat and concise – for those used to academic or creative writing styles, learning to shed the descriptors for simplicity can feel awkward at first, especially if it differs from your personal style. However, it’s vital to keep your writing simple. That’s because accessible writing reaches a larger audience. You never know who will be reading your work, and the last thing you want is to alienate your audience. While certain topics and audiences call for an academic or creative flair, it is a good rule of thumb to keep your sentence structure and style clean.
Every word counts; as the content writer, your challenge is to find the best way to describe things in the simplest way possible. Start by keeping your paragraphs short, your structure and language simple and break up your writing with keyword-filled headers. Over time, you will uncover your voice.
The Content Writer Mantra: Write, Edit, Repeat
It doesn’t take much for a reader to click away from a page, so don’t give your audience another reason to by leaving spelling errors and grammatical mistakes in your writing. When you’re editing, think of it as a process rather than a step.
It is best to edit more than once. Once you finish writing your piece, take some time away from it before you start editing. If you edit too soon after writing, the material will be too fresh and you will read mistakes as what they should be, not what they are.
Whenever possible, edit your work the next day so you can assess your writing refreshed. It helps to have another set of eyes read your writing as well. They may catch the mistakes you missed.
Content Writers Aren’t Afraid of Feedback
Criticism is often one of the hardest things to process; however, especially as you begin writing, criticism is one of the most valuable things someone with more experience than you can offer.
Content writing is a different style of writing altogether. There is a lot to learn, and, most often, you learn on the job. The trick to taking criticism well is learning how to be critical of it, so consider where it is coming from. Is it an anonymous comment on a blog post? Or is it from a respected individual in the field?
When you receive feedback, try to find the root of what the person is saying. Valuable, constructive criticism reveals blind spots to us, so constructive criticism can be invaluable to beginning writers. Remember, though, that you are not required to take and employ every piece of feedback you are given. Granted, if it comes from a client, remember you do want the client to be happy.
As a creative content writer, don’t be afraid to experiment and push yourself with style and substance. As you begin writing, the fastest way to learn is to step out of your comfort zone. Don’t be afraid of feedback and take everything in stride!
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