Let’s traverse through the waves of Content Writing!
This blog post is inspired by my last four months of work as a Content Writer in an I.T. firm. I came across the job profile and never knew that there is such a profession called as being a “Content Writer” Ain’t that cool! I come from the most mundane profession; I am an engineer who spends hours in front of the screen designing a circuit. The job advertisement of content writer immediately caught my interest. Creative writing in the form of personal blogs is something that I have been doing regularly. Hoping that it would open a whole new avenue for me I decided to give it a try as a profession.
While in the job, I wrote different kinds of content during the initial on-boarding phase. There’s where I learnt that as a content writer you write a Press Release- for public relations, email campaigns, website content, case studies, manuscripts for videos and webinars, blogs, posts for social media like facebook and twitter. As exciting and challenging it was, it left me with a lot of unanswered questions, to be pondered upon. Some of them definitely made to this blog post.
Does content writing require a team?
Most definitely yes. It is difficult for an individual to be able to produce all aspects of a good content within the limited time frame. Say as an example a blog post, it’s not only the article itself, it usually begins with the required research and unless it is a technical or a product description there is a step that precedes it, which is what should the blog topic be? In today’s digital age, it has become imperative to optimize your content so that it has larger visibility online. You need to implement what is called as search engine optimization (SEO). Use of publishing tools and techniques will make your content more readable.
It’s a well-known fact that “A picture is worth a 1000 words”. Picture helps convey the story behind the act easily, not just that, it helps retain your audience’s attention. Aside from that, what’s worth the content that has not bounced off from several brains in a room, imagining, arguing & discussing on a messy white board and coming to congruency!
Should the content change as per the reader?
Let’s call this as recycling. Once for a assigned task I wrote an email at least 4 times, with having different receivers and senders. Though the primary idea remains the same, the structure and language changes significantly. To quote Josh Bernoff’s iron imperative from his book “Writing without Bullshit”,
“Treat your reader’s time as more valuable than your own”.
You don’t just want to write something and send it across, you want be assured that your readers or followers look forward to email/articles from you. It is beneficial to know your readers beforehand, treating them all as same is usually not a good practice.
Should content have intent and a set goal?
In engineering, when a product takes shape it is designed to meet specific requirements and then tested to some measures. Sometimes even customer feedback is sought. This leads to improvement, like a closed loop system. Similarly, writing content without an intent and goal does not guarantee improvement, growth and maturity in the writing.
Having either of them alone does not suffice, if you have set an intent you want to know what went wrong that did not produce results as you had expected. You want to have performance measurement criteria, have some stats and do the analysis for working towards betterment.
Do content need to have references or validation?
Content writing is less stringent due to the social and moral responsibility it carries as opposed to journalism. It leaves more leeway for presenting thought to the readers. Tweaking of the content is possible when you are content writing where the sole liability is either of the writers or the company that the writer is representative of. Though if use of quotations, research data, and previously published article is used it is best to reference it. It protects you from infringement and let’s the reader know how well researched and proven the published content is.
With such methodical writing, as content writer does creativity gets lost?
That’s where the challenging nature of job portrays itself. Like any other job, writing assignments will see a decline in the outcome unless you pay attention to the creativity factor. Good thing about content writing is you are not merely stating the facts but creating a story around the main idea. Though you cannot digress much from the central theme you can creatively nurture and develop the content. Based on my past experience, if as a content writer you are adamant to not loose creativity, I think Sean Connery’s saying “There’s always a challenge to keep you motivated” will be the mantra where your challenge will be “sustaining creativity”
Why this blog post?
The idea behind the post is to spread my learning and may be bring the beginner drenched content writers to the shore again, and see the vastness before they decide to dive in deeper.
"Step into the scene, and let it drip from your fingertips" - M. J. Bush