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online content writer

Why Today is the Era of the Online Content Writer

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.

online content writer

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.

So you think you can write julia mccoy

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.

Conclusion

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.

copywriting topics

Copywriting Basics for Unique Industries: 14 Ways to Come Up With Topics

Niche industries or unique industries have it made — they just don’t realize it. The competition isn’t as fierce in unique industries, such as high technological products. If you’re in a unique industry, it’s likely it’s just you and perhaps a handful (if that) of competitors. People are still searching for your niche, which means you have the potential to become a superstar overnight. See what we mean about having it made?

Unfortunately, finding compelling copywriting ideas in such a tight niche can be difficult. You need something fresh and something that catches the reader’s attention at the same time. As you sit there in front of the computer screen watching the cursor blink and taunt, your mind just draws a blank.

 

Turning a Boring Topic into Brilliant Copywriting

 

How do you come up with something brilliant in a topic that is, well, boring? The most difficult part of copywriting is just getting an idea and getting it on paper (or screen). There are ways to overcome this challenge, however, even for the tightest niche category.

To help get your creative juices flowing, consider these copywriting tips for coming up with topics on the fly for your niche.

 

1) Befriend Social Media

Social media is one of the best ways to come up with topics — especially for tight or boring niches. In fact, social media is a topic gold mine.

 

2) Look to Twitter for Trends

Twitter gets over 500 million tweets per day, according to ABC News. That means there are a plethora of ideas just waiting to be plucked from this social media giant. Start by using the search feature on Twitter. You can look for keywords or hashtags — depending on the type of content you’re looking for. Add or eliminate spaces to refine your search. We recommend going into Twitter’s search first using your targeted keywords in your niche. See what pops up.

Then, it’s time to see what is trending. Copywriting your content around what is trending, as long as it is relevant, is a great way to build your site’s traffic faster. Also, trending topics are fresh and what people are looking for right now — double score! Once you’ve found keywords and hashtags that are relevant to your niche, it’s time to see if any of these are relevant to what is trending right now.

When you log in you should see the “Trending” feature box in your Twitter profile. Here you will see the topics people are most often tweeting about right now. While these trends come and go, they will usually stick around for at least a week — giving you plenty of time to write a blog about something trending.

 

3) StumbleUpon Ideas

StumbleUpon covers trending topics and unique niches that you might not find on Twitter. It features a collection of the most popular Internet pages, and you can even find recommendations based on what you like. Use StumbleUpon to see what is trending in your industry or expand your search by clicking on the “Discover” tab.

 

4) Scan Facebook

Facebook is similar to Twitter and has trending topics. There are tons of industry and niche-specific groups and pages on Facebook. You can even find guest blogging groups on Facebook that you can team up with to brainstorm ideas. While there might not be a lot of pages in your particular niche, there may be some that are just outside of it where you can get ideas and make them more relevant to your own.

 

5) Look Through YouTube

YouTube is considered the second largest search engine out there — and it’s not just about someone’s crazy home videos. According to YouTube statistics there are over 1 billion users on the site everyday — which means this is a great way to find some content ideas. Check out the videos posted in your niche categories, and you’ll get the idea juices flowing instantly.

 

6) Turn to LinkedIn Groups

There are niche groups on LinkedIn — even for those small, difficult niches. Joining these groups’ gives you access to a plethora of ideas and industry professionals who are ready to let you pick their mind for ideas. Set up a discussion thread in one of your LinkedIn groups to populate ideas.

 

7) Use Keyword Tools

Sure, Google’s free keyword tool has disappeared, but there are other keyword tools out there. Ubersuggest.org, for example, is a free tool that lets you look up relevant keywords from search queries posed by real Internet users. Just enter your industry niche or topic and see what people are searching for. Use these ideas to create your blogs, content and even guest posts. These long lists should instantly trigger some ideas and give you inspiration.

SearchEngineWatch.com discusses optimizing keywords within your specific niche. While keywords aren’t the most important, they can help drive your content creation.

 

8) Just Ask

There’s no need to be shy with your readers. If you’re struggling to find a good topic or a new topic, post a question to your audience. You can get stellar ideas from the people who read your blog or website. Create a request line where readers can request topics or ask questions. Then cover them on your blog. We recommend posting your questions on social media, such as a Facebook fan page, for higher visibility.

 

9) Use Your Experience as Inspiration

You’re an industry professional. You’ve been there, done that and know everything in between. Take inspiration from the daily activities in your industry and the people you meet within that industry. Think beyond the walls of your office and take on the perspective of your readers. The more pride you have in your work and in your industry, the easier it is to come up with relevant topics.

What about you? Are there questions you ever ask yourself that are relevant to your niche? Instead of searching Google for the answer, create your own answer in your posts. Use research to fill in the gaps of what you don’t know and discuss with your readers what you have found in your own research. Don’t wait for some other competitor to get the idea and answer the question — do it yourself in your blog first.

 

10) Look for Answers to Audience Questions

You’re in a ridiculously narrow niche, but that doesn’t mean your readers don’t have questions. In fact, readers probably have more questions because your niche is so small. There aren’t thousands of websites out there that help readers in your particular area, so you are the go-to source for everything related to your industry.

For example, your industry covers umbilical cord clamping. That’s one heck of a small window. But, think of all of the questions and concerns people investigating that niche would have. For example:

  • When you should clamp the umbilical cord
  • The effects of clamping the cord
  • Steps you take to clamp a cord
  • Is there a risk when clamping a cord?

Each of these ideas could be spun into their own post — that’s four ideas right there for a tight niche. Address every concern and question your readers would have about your particular niche. The more you address your readers, the more ideas that will flow.

Never dismiss the ordinary or very basic questions either. Browse forums related to your industry and see what people are asking. By providing these answers on your site, no matter how simple they are, you can become the expert in your niche instantly.

 

11) Hijack the News

Newsjacking is a very popular method for getting ideas. There is always some sort of industry news buzzing around. See if you can relate the news’s top stories and spin them into content related to your niche. Using the example above, you could use a top story about births in your country, etc. and then go more in-depth about cord clamping.

Another example, you own a radio company. Capitalize on the music industry news and releases — there’s tons weekly– and connect them to your own products and services.

There’s a right way and a wrong way to news jack though. If you see a news topic related to your niche, you need to act fast…like really fast. Same day posting is likely to get you more traffic than posting a week later. You also need to choose your topics wisely. News happens by the minute, so you have to decide what topics are worth taking the time to write about and what topics are not.

You can also take non-industry related topics and make them industry-related. For example, a celebrity is in the news for his or her latest drama, we will refer to them as Celebrity X. Sure, it has nothing to do with your niche, yet. But, when you take that drama and trending story and say something like “10 Things Radio Professionals Can Learn from the Latest Celebrity X Fumble” you’ve just made it related.

The content you write from news stories still needs to be unique, interesting and share-worthy. It’s not as easy as it sounds. Just because you tail on the popularity of a news story doesn’t necessarily mean your post will automatically be popular. It’s all about taking your unique approach on the story, but keeping it relevant to your brand’s style.

 

12) Expand the Niche Through Connections

As an industry expert, you probably have plenty of connections — both on and offline. Reach out to those experts in your field or a related field for ideas. Brainstorm with one another and perhaps set up a guest blogging schedule with one another where you can share and branch off either others ideas on your sites.

 

13) Think About What People Will Disagree With You On

This is not only a great way to come up with posts, but also a great way to come up with world-changing ideas. It doesn’t matter what your niche is, you are going to have someone who tells you you’re doing it the wrong way. Think about how someone might disagree with your advice or any doubts they might have. Don’t be afraid to take a stance, no matter how controversial it might appear to be. Recite research and personal experience to back up your method and discuss why the other methods are wrong. It is a great way to come up with topics and also establish your credibility in this tight niche.

Just keep in mind the more controversial the topic, the more of a heated debate you might have in your comments section. Monitor the comments to see what ideas people share so you can expand in a follow-up post, but also moderate the comments to make sure it doesn’t get out of hand.

 

14) When In Doubt, Search the Competition

Everyone has a competitor. If you don’t, then you really have it made. Browse what your competitors are writing about to get some ideas. We’re not saying copy your competitors. We’re saying draw on what they are writing about for inspiration. Put in your own expertise or spin off of that idea in your own direction. This is also a great opportunity to come up with more engaging topics and better titles than your competition has — giving you an edge when it comes time for a reader to choose between one blog or the other.

 

Tips for Implementing Your Ideas

You have some great starting ground here. You know how to come up with ideas even in a tight niche, but you still have to write some compelling content from those ideas. To achieve that kind of copywriting, you need to take your idea and brainstorm how you can make it better. While you have the advantage in a tight market — limited competition, a higher chance of visibility, etc. — you still need to make your content unique.

Coming up with great titles is only half the battle. The goal is to create a post or web copy piece that people are compelled to act on, comment and share. Consider some great content strategy ideas to get started. Once you’ve written your post, ask yourself if it is unique and helpful enough. Would you share it on social media with friends? Would you consider it unique compared to the competition? If so, then you are on the right track.