If writing copy was a super power, the content writer is certainly the superhero of the online realm. They use their creativity and killer communication skills to earn a fruitful living. They’re highly motivational and they can literally convince consumers to buy products… right from their computer screens.
What goes on in their day? What motivates the content writer, and how hard do they work? Check out the infographic we wrote and put together below for the answer!
Feel free to share! Have something you’d add to a “day in the life?” Let us know in the comments!
Infographic: A Day in the Life of a Content Writer: Masters of the Written Online Word
The day in the life of a content writer is dynamic, fast-paced, filled with research, and honing their natural writing talents. Here’s an inside glimpse into their lives!
3 Facts About Content Writers
FACT: 24% of full-time freelancer writers work at least 25 hours per week. Content writers work morning, noon, and night. They have very flexible schedules as long as they meet deadlines.
FACT: A content writer practically lives in their email inbox. 205 billion emails are sent per day, and some days it feels like 203 billion emails hit your inbox. Then you’ll have days where you receive no emails at all.
The Content Writer’s Workload: An Inside Look
What is their workload like?
The most skilled content writers are booked months in advance—and some even have a waiting list.
Content writers can be assigned specific topics by clients, or they’re left to strategize topic ideas on their own. A savvy content writer will use many resources to discover useful and interesting topic ideas. A content calendar helps keep many professional content writers on track. The content calendar includes client names, blog topics, due dates, publishing dates, and more.
When it’s time to write, a content writer can write very high or very low word counts per day. An ad copywriter may only write 100 words for a commercial, while a blogger can write 2,000 words to whip up a blog post.
Productivity tip #1: Content writing assignments should be tackled by order of due date. The highest priority items are worked on first.
Productivity tip #2: If due dates aren’t looming, a content writer may choose to tackle the toughest task first. This will help easier tasks fly by the rest of the day.
Different content writing styles will activate different parts of the writer’s brain.
Did you miss #ContentWritingChat this week? You’re in the right spot, because I’ve put together a recap of some of the best tweets from Tuesday’s chat all about How to Level Up Your Content Writing Career. Ready to learn? Let’s dive in!
#ContentWritingChat March 1 2016 Recap: How to Level Up Your Content Writing Career
This week, our guest host was Tara Clapper. Tara is the Blog Editor over at SEMrush and the Senior Editor at The Geek Initiative. (She’s also a moderator on Julia’s Facebook group: Learn Online Writing.) She joined us to talk about building your career as a content writer. Our chat this week was amazing. We had lots of new participants and a ton of energy going during the chat. It was hard to keep up with all the participation! Some of the fun kudos shared:
Tara gave some great advice for anyone looking to switch to a freelance career. Don’t rely on just one employer. You never know how things will go and you want to make sure you have other options. As Kathleen said, you should get started NOW. Don’t quit your 9-5 job before you’ve established yourself in your freelancing career.
A1 I waited 1-2 months to ramp up writing gigs + income to replace my min.wage job, then I quit everything to write. #ContentWritingChat — Julia McCoy (@JuliaEMcCoy) March 1, 2016
Julia, our CEO, didn’t quit her minimum wage job for writing cold turkey either. Build up your portfolio and start connecting with contacts first before you make the leap.
A1: Learn how to negotiate. Don’t undervalue your work. Be willing to walk away if not getting fairly compensated. #ContentWritingChat — Laura Powell (@dailysuitcase) March 1, 2016
Laura gave some sound advice on staying firm to your rates, too.
A2: If you <3 side gigs, you don’t mind managing the business end of things, and writing is all you do, it’s destiny. #ContentWritingChat — Tara M. Clapper (@irishtara) March 1, 2016
Q2: you don’t know Content Writing COULD be your career, you know it MUST BE your calling, your obsession! #ContentWritingChat — Michael Stricker (@RadioMS) March 1, 2016
A2. Simple: if you LOVE to write. Passion is #1, skills can be taught. Why I’m in content marketing = love for writing #ContentWritingChat — Julia McCoy (@JuliaEMcCoy) March 1, 2016
If you’re wondering if content writing is the career for you, here’s how to tell: Make sure you’re fine with managing the business side of things. You are going to be responsible for finding clients and landing jobs. It’s all on you! And as Michael said, content writing needs to be your calling. You must have a passion for it in order to succeed!
We got some great tips from people in the chat about what skills content writers need to have! As Tara pointed out, you need to know the basics of SEO. Taking the time to optimize your posts for search engines is so important if you want to make sure your content gets seen. (And you do!) Grenae said you also need to know how to research and be able to meet deadlines. And as Ashby said, a good content writer needs to be able to engage his/her audience through storytelling. Storytelling is key to great writing to keep your audience interested and reading until the very end.
A3 First, good writing skills (grammar, nuance, flow). Secondly, online & audience optimization (ie, SEO vs social) #ContentWritingChat — Julia McCoy (@JuliaEMcCoy) March 1, 2016
A3 Writing a good headline is essential! Practice makes perfect. I’ve written 500+ and still learning best phrasing #ContentWritingChat — Julia McCoy (@JuliaEMcCoy) March 1, 2016
Julia points out that great headline creation skills are important here, too.
A4: Keyword stuffing is an outdated ‘skill.’ Most of your clients probably won’t know that and will ask you to do it. #ContentWritingChat — Tara M. Clapper (@irishtara) March 1, 2016
For the most part, everyone in Tuesday’s chat said keyword stuffing is OUT. Content shouldn’t be filled with keywords. They should be worked into the content in a way that sounds natural. Your readers don’t like articles stuffed with keywords and neither does Google.
We received a ton of recommendations for great tools to use in content writing. If you haven’t already, check out a few of these suggestions: CoSchedule’s headline analyzer, SEMrush, and Grammarly. But as Kristen said, you can’t rule out the good ol’ Thesaurus. It’s always helpful!
If you want to establish a good reputation as a content writer, take Tara’s advice: Go the extra mile. Clients will appreciate when you go one step further to create great content and build a relationship with them. Don’t forget to network with others in the community too.
A6. Respect deadlines, stay true to your craft, and participate in chats to network with others in the community. #Contentwritingchat
To land repeat work, both Tara and our CEO, Julia, agree: sign up with an agency. (Like ours! We’re hiring writers and editors!) An agency can provide you with regular clients so you get more work. Tara shared a great tip about keeping in touch with past clients. Stay top of mind so they’ll come to you when they need more work.
Where is content writing headed in the future? Tara encourages you to answer the questions people ask Google through your content. And Pat reminds us that long-form content wins – Julia confirms that we create it constantly for clients!
We look forward to seeing you at the next #ContentWritingChat! Be sure to join us on Tuesday, March 8th, 2016 at 10 AM CST!
Anyone who has ever studied English or writing knows just how hilarious people think they’re being when they ask “What in the world are you ever going to do with that?”
It’s long been considered a source of fun and frivolity to pick on writers for their delicate sensibilities and their seemingly useless talents and training…until now.
Right now, you and I are living in the era of the copywriter as the online content writer, or SEO copywriter… and it’s arguable that there are few other skills that are in such high demand right now.
That’s right: high demand.
Copywriting is a broad profession that embodies many things and, now more than ever, people need copywriters to make their online businesses go around, to help their pages show up in search results, to execute good SEO, and to master the written word in order to provide value and excitement for readers.
The Evolution of the Copywriter To The Online Content Writer
The role of the copywriter as it is today, with many jobs in online content writing specifically, has metamorphosed hugely since the inception of advertising.
Back in the ‘30s and ‘40s, copywriters were charged with developing ad copy people would love, which typically meant it was full of puns, over-explaining, and outrageous exaggerations (like the 1937 Camel Cigarette ad whose headline was “for digestion’s sake – smoke Camels!”).
In the ‘60s and ‘70s, the job of copywriting began to change when Bill Bernbach, the first man to put copywriters and art directors together on projects, created a new-age copy creation team that was dedicated to producing ads that were more honest, stark, and open. Throughout the ‘80s and the ‘90s, copywriting continued to change: long copy dominated advertising and visuals became more important but in the year 2000, it all began to change.
Suddenly, visual gags were all the rage and body copy all but died altogether. Throughout the next several years, copywriting became a spammy profession that was focused on cramming as many keywords into a piece of content as possible or building sneaky, unethical links. Thanks to the pressures of the market and the overwhelming trend of copy in general, copywriting became an environment in which crappy content was king and black hats were in vogue.
Today, however, copywriting is a high-brow practice that requires extensive knowledge of SEO, marketing, and a wide variety of writing tactics that can help businesses put their best face forward.
The Changing Tides of Copywriting: Google, Value, and Other Factors
The reason for the evolution of online content writing that has taken place over the last decade has to do in large part with Google. Over the years, Google has released a series of updates aimed at targeting so-called “black-hat SEO” practices, such as keyword stuffing, doorway pages, invisible text, or page swapping, and rewarding sites that feature high-quality, original, valuable content.
These changes have made it nearly impossible for crappy sites to scrape by and, as such, the algorithm updates have created a brand new demand for talented, knowledgeable copywriters that know how to produce great site rankings through skill and technique rather than spammy, dark-side practices. As Google’s algorithm updates have only continued to press forward, this need has become more and more pronounced and, nowadays, it’s impossible for a site to rank or survive without a team of talented copywriters and other marketing professionals on staff.
4 Important Things Copywriters Need to Know
Despite its great demand right now, very few people know what copywriters actually do. We’re confused with journalists and, when the profession comes up at a dinner party, are often regarded with raised eyebrows and a deer-in-the-headlights sort of “Ohhhh” from the person who mistakenly asked what it is that we do. Nobody knows what copywriters do and that’s because we operate largely behind the scenes.
Despite this reality, copywriters play a large part in making the digital world go around and there are dozens of things copywriters need to know in order to do their jobs well. Here are just a few:
1. How to Write Electrifying Headlines
What makes you decide to read an article as you scroll through your Facebook feed? If you’re like most social media users, it’s the headline or the featured image or some combination of both. Little did you know that copywriters have a hand in both of those things, but specifically the headline. One of the most important jobs a copywriter has is to create magnetic headlines that draw audiences in and make them want to click on an article. This requires a little bit of a magic, a little bit of technical skill, and a whole lot of technique.
2. How to Use SEO Components in Writing
Copywriters are asked to create great content that wants to go viral and, aside from writing clearly and providing value to readers, there’s only one way to do this: SEO. SEO stands for “search engine optimization” and is the practice by which writers make content easy to read for both people and search engines. SEO entails everything from keyword usage to meta titles and descriptions and is an important part of making sure you can find exactly what you’re looking for online. Additionally, good SEO helps sites get their content out there in front of consumers and makes sure that google users can always find what they’re looking for when they enter a search queries in the search box.
3. How to Provide Value to Readers
People use search engines to ask and answer questions and one of the most important jobs of a copywriter is to ensure that the content that pops up in response to search queries is valuable, useful, and helpful. This means that copywriters must be able to anticipate reader questions and answer them from an empathetic and informative standpoint. They must also be able to cite sources, provide trustworthy research, include visuals for reference, and do everything in their power to ensure that the reader’s questions are answered and that he or she genuinely enjoys the content that presents itself.
4. How to use multi-media content to grab reader interest
Today, content is king but content is also a broad, broad term. Content entails everything, including but not limited to blog posts, articles, eBooks, white papers, social media posts, podcasts, Tweets, videos, images, memes, infographics, and video casts. In order to be effective in today’s content creation climate, copywriters need to know how to use all of these things and use them well. That means that it’s no longer enough for a copywriter to be good with a pen and paper – they also need to be part graphic designer, part marketer, part SEO, part visual artist, part documentary filmmaker and part research analyst in order to pull all these things together into one cohesive package. What’s more, copywriters need to know how to work with dozens of different blogging, content and image creation, and social media platforms in order to distribute content to a wide variety of readers effectively. How’s that for a laundry list of qualifications?
5. How to Write Well!
Last but not least, copywriters need to know how to write well! Nobody wants to slog through textbook-ish jargon online and that sort of junk only drives people away. Similarly, nobody wants to struggle through typo-heavy crap written by someone in a hurry. As businesses get busier and busier with all the aspects of marketing, promotion, and product development that they deal with on a daily basis, copywriters become more and more in demand. Content creation is a serious responsibility and a time-consuming obligation and often, there isn’t anyone on a business team who knows how to (or has the time to) do it well. This is one of the main reasons that copywriters are in such high demand right now – because they write clear, concise content that readers can understand, interact with, and enjoy. Tell that to all those people who made fun of you for being a writer.
Right now, copywriters are the magicians behind a significant portion of the web and, as web-based marketing continues to boom in the coming years, talented copywriters will only continue to become more and more popular. Whether we’re working on articles, eBooks, blogs or white papers, there is a huge amount of opportunity for copywriters right. We work in marketing, tech companies, brick-and-mortar businesses, and e-commerce settings.
Copywriting is hot right now and there is truly no shortage of places to use that wonderful talent of yours – writing!
We’re hiring at Express Writers! Apply as a writer or editor.
Over the past decade, the incontestable power of the Internet has brought millions of business owners from all parts of the globe together in investing their time and money in cutting-edge websites and suitable web content, elaborated according to their needs, specifications and expectations, with the pen of a content writer making their content happen. When it comes to articles that actually draw visitors and serve a higher purpose, most company owners spare no expenses and do everything in their power to identify the best content writer or team of writers available. Here are 5 important things that you should know about talented, active, sociable, Internet-savvy and creative freelancers who have what it takes to guide you towards business success.
Your Ideal Content Writer Candidate Should:
1) Write On a Daily Basis
We’ve all heard this lesson a thousand times: practice makes perfect. A content writer who spends more than a couple of hours a day writing informative, educational, entertaining materials for different clients with different needs and requests will always respond better to new challenges, unlike novices or other freelancers who only write every once in a while.
2) Be well-organized, do a lot of research and always Google before they tweet.
Extensive research is part of the job and professional content writer always take this important phase very seriously. The worst mistake one could ever make is writing and distributing inaccurate, outdated, ambiguous content. In such cases, readers flag low-quality web material and start looking for trustworthy sources of information, so make sure you count on content writers who check and double-check the information before making it public.
3) Have an amazing, writing style which is audience-friendly and engaging
Your content writers should make the most of their unique set of skills and their inexhaustible talent and creativity to promote your brand, services and products in an engaging manner, while embracing a truly accessible writing style.
4) Be great at social media.
Would you really trust a freelancer who refuses to profit from amazing opportunities available on social media platforms? Would you hire a writer who doesn’t spend at least an hour a day on major social networking sites, like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and LinkedIn, where all the important elements go viral and all the most relevant trends are anticipated and widely commented? Make sure you hire a social savvy writer.
5) Is proud of their masterpieces, charges the right price
Reputable content writers won’t hesitate to link their most relevant content pieces for you and promote their professional services in an effective manner. Perhaps in the near future business owners will be able to count on different ranking systems allowing them to determine the real value of a particular writer. Until then, Google Authorship will enable you to identify some of the most active, talented freelancers who might have what it takes to complete your writing assignments in a more than satisfactory manner.
Make sure you pay the right price for unique content writer to create your pieces; an insignificant fee could trick you into opting for low-quality writing services – a big mistake which could impact the profitability and popularity of your online business for a long period of time.
Neil Patel, a top Internet marketer, says that you should expect to spend $100-200 per post.
A content writer could be the biggest boon for your business this year and beyond. It’s the era of the Internet; and the Internet thrives on content. Don’t just throw this job on anyone. Make sure your writer meets the criteria above, and you’ll find yourself a good one.
If you’re like many small business owners, you may believe that hiring a professional content writer to create the content for your Web, blog, e-news, or any other advertising pieces you’ll be using is an unnecessary expense. Money’s tight, you have to cut expenses as much as you can, and unsurprisingly, many businesses are braving the great frontier of the Web without so much as a proofreader on staff, opting to take care of all content writing in house. It saves money, to be sure – but is it really the best choice for your business?
We Web content writers are a pretty fun bunch, if I do say so myself. When you consider the amount of time we spend researching new topics, fretting over the latest SEO techniques, and obsessing over our content writing projects, it goes without saying that a content writer eats, breathes, and sleeps Web content. We know that many of our readers are business owners or marketing professionals looking to do some of their own content writing, and as you can see, we always try to provide you only the best tricks and tips to help you be the best content writer you can be. Let’s take a moment to have a little fun, though, and see just how good a job you’re doing. We’ve put together a little checklist that you can use as a reference guide as your content writing skills consume you – er, I mean develop. Yeah, develop.
So, you’re a new content writer. You’ve spent a few hours perfecting your latest blog post, and you finally hit the publish button, thinking to yourself, “This is a good one!” Satisfied with your efforts, you go out and have yourself a nice dinner, and when you come home several hours later, a depressingly barren inbox awaits you. No comments, no likes, no re-tweets, no shares? What happened? You may even sleep on it, only to discover the next morning that your results are still abysmal. What have you done wrong? Why are other bloggers doing so well, while your arguably superior work sits unnoticed in the annals of the Web? Well, let’s take a look at some of the secrets every content writer should know about getting the most out of every post.
Running a business in today’s market with any kind of success is impossible without some form of advertising on the Internet with a content writer. Whether you have a brick-and-mortar establishment in your neighborhood or own an online business, advertising and other kinds of written content that is visible on the Web is vital for your success.
So, how do you get what you need? What are the secrets to hiring a content writer?
How do you avoid the pitfalls of making a bad hire, which can result in poor writing, lackluster content, and zero returns on investment?
We’re here to tell you what you might be doing wrong when it comes to hiring – and how you can make a small change to hire writers who are exactly right for your business.
Don’t Commit These 4 Mistakes When Hiring a Content Writer
These mistakes are easy to make if you’re crunched for time and money.
1. Failing to Review Their Samples
You can’t understand a writer’s qualifications unless you ask for – and review – samples of their work.
This means looking at a few different examples of what they’ve done in the past, and evaluating the depth and breadth of their skills. They should show you variety, flexibility, research chops, and, most of all, competent, engaging writing.
If you don’t do this step, or if you ask for samples but don’t bother to review them, you really won’t know what you’ll be getting into.
Since the written content for your business is so important, gambling with your writing talent this way is not a good idea.
2. Hiring a Content Writer with the Lowest Rates
Writers who ask for low rates may not have the skills to earn higher pay for their work.
You know the saying: you get what you pay for. If it seems like a writer is offering their services too cheaply, nine times out of ten, you can be sure they’ll turn in sub-par work. This means writing that’s riddled with errors, that aims for nothing more than a word count.
In the end, you’ll have to edit everything they send you, which will eat up your time. Soon you’ll be thinking, “Wait a minute, didn’t I hire a writer so I wouldn’t have to do this myself?”
Good writers may cost more, but in return, you get somebody who knows their stuff. You’ll get SEO content that’s formatted well, thoroughly researched, error-free, and engaging to read.
You’ll get valuable content for your readers, and that’s worth every penny.
3. Not Asking for References
You may want to hire a writer quickly and call it done, but speeding your way through the process without vetting candidates is asking for trouble.
Unless they’re an ultra-talented newbie, professional writers will have references from past work experiences. If you don’t ask to see them, you won’t know which candidate has the clout you want.
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4. Ignoring Grammar or Spelling Mistakes
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when hiring a content writer is overlooking spelling and grammar errors in their work and communication with you.
In fact, these errors, along with strange-sounding wording and poor sentence structure, can be a red flag that you’re dealing with a foreign writer. This is someone whose first language isn’t English. Hire this person, and your content will just end up confusing people – unless you also hire a very good editor.
A good writer knows that every word they write is under evaluation. They will do their best to edit their work before you ever read it. This applies to seemingly mundane things, too, like emails.
If you gloss over bad punctuation, poor spelling, and awkward syntax, then you shouldn’t be surprised when your content is peppered with the same issues.
So, How Do You Go About Hiring a Good Content Writer?
If the whole writer-hiring process seems like a big headache to you, don’t worry – we get it.
At the end of the day, wouldn’t it be easier if you didn’t have to vet your content writers yourself?
They personally guide your written content full-circle: from ideation to hand-picking the right writer for the job, to editing, to delivery.
It took months to put this winning team together, but, through trial-and-error, we figured out a formula that works.
This trial-by-fire is all part of the story of how Express Writers was born. View that very personal tale here:
Now that we’re on the other side, we’re moving full steam ahead. Our team can carry your writing needs from the hatching of an idea to fully-fledged content that soars.
But what about our writers themselves? How are they chosen?
How Express Writers Vets Expert Content Writers
Not just anybody works with us.
Instead, we’re dedicated to building a team of writers who can write.
We spend the necessary time to hire the right people. We work hard not to fall prey to those infamous hiring mistakes, and we pay special attention to samples, references, and great grammar and spelling.
On top of all that, we provide ongoing mentoring for our writers. We stay on the cutting-edge of trends and are constantly brushing up our skills as professionals in the content creation industry.
This means one big bonus for you and your business: when you work with us, you don’t have to worry about quality.
And, make no mistake: quality matters, especially when it comes to valuable content.
According to Yoast, quality content is accessible, easy for people to connect with, inspires trust in your brand, and keeps people on your site longer. All of these aspects help boost your ROI.
When you go with us, that’s exactly what you get.
What Types of Writers Will Be Working on Your Content?
At Express Writers, we hire writers at various levels to suit your budget and your needs. This handy table lays out the differences between what you get with general, expert, and authority content writers.
This flexibility is great for choosing the right type of writer for exactly what you need. However, no matter which level you choose, you can rest assured that the quality will be top-notch.
Dodge the Pitfalls of Hiring a Content Writer and Get the Expertise You Need
It’s crystal-clear: your written content is a major component of your business presence online.
It can say all the right things and lead customers straight to your door. It can make them want to invest in your brand.
Or, it can do the opposite: drive people away, scratching their heads. Five minutes later, they’ll forget you exist.
When you get great writers on your side, you can be on the winning end of this example.
How do you get great writers? You take the time to vet them. You pay attention to their written samples, their references, and their basic writing chops.
It’s true: hiring a content writer takes a lot of effort.
If you don’t have time to go through the headache of the hiring process, however, there’s an easier way. Count on us to do the vetting for you and provide awesome content to boot.
For a team of great writers at your fingertips, plus a management team that will nurture your content from hatchling to soaring eagle, work with us at Express Writers.