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11 Secrets To Be A Successful Content Writer in 2018

One of the most sought-after professions in this digital age, content writing offers a promising career. Wondering what you are doing wrong as a content writer? Read through to know the secrets to expert level content writing.

  1. How To Start Content Writing

Having a passion for writing is most important, but not enough to be a content writer in 2018. Unlike what we think, content writing is very different from writing a story or novel. It takes multiple skills, proper planning, sincerity, hard work and time. Whether you are considering a change in career or willing to establish yourself in content writing, you must know the basic rules to start content writing. Once you follow these strategies diligently and improvise them with your creative genius, you will be creating great content in no time. We have enlisted important information, tips and strategies to help you become a successful content writer.

woman's hands typing on a laptop
How To Start Content Writing
  1. Content Writing Courses

If you are a beginner to writing for the web, you may opt for content writing courses online. Several cloud learning platforms offer a wide spectrum of content writing courses; it is wiser to choose authorized ones like Udemy, Skillshare, Coursera, WizIQ, Learnworlds, etc.

Check out this cool article 15 Best Content Marketing & Writing Certification, Courses & Training Online [2018]

Perks are you get to have hands-on knowledge on how to start content writing and the certificates increase your chances of landing a great opportunity. In fact, if technical writing is your forte, a certificate course is a must.

Tip: Try choosing well-reviewed paid courses rather than wasting your time on not-so-popular free content writing courses.

woman with pen in hand learning on her laptop in the living room
Learning
  1. Brushing up your skills

Aside from out of the box ideas, a great writing style and being a grammar nazi, digital media in 2018 demands more from you as a content writer. A few must-have skills for content writing starter pack include:

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) (& Search Engine Marketing, SEM, if possible)
  • Digital Marketing including Social Media Marketing (SMM)
  • Basic HTML, CSS
  • WordPress

You might be seeing these terms for the first time, but they are quite easy to grasp. A few video lectures, WikiHow and Buzzfeed articles and a little online research will be enough to start creating great content.

Some articles that might help you to publicise your content, check them out:

20 Skills You Need To Become A Successful Content Writer!

5 Essential SEO Content Writing Tips for 2018

Search Engine Marketing (SEM): What It Is & How to Do It Right

Note: Do not flood your writing with keywords (keyword stuffing) so much so that it loses its human factor to connect with the readers. Use a keyword density checker to avoid this.

man's hand holding a magnifying glass to focus on smoke rising from a distance
Search Engine Optimization
  1. Identify Your Niche

Anything & everything you read on the internet constitutes online content. Content writing in 2018 today is not just limited to information or news or online marketing, rather it is an umbrella term covering:

  • Writing for the web (Web content writing)
  • Creative Writing
  • Product Description
  • Technical Writing
  • Health Blogging
  • Academic Writing
  • Scientific research-based writing
  • Travel Writing
  • News Article Writing
  • Video Script Writing, and so on.

To be a successful content writer, it is essential to find a niche that you are comfortable working in. Suppose if you are Literature Major and technical writing is not your cup of tea, do not force yourself to do it just because someone said the pay is better.

Then again, sticking strictly to a single form of content may make you bored and lead to creative stagnation. Remember to be flexible and never shy away from exploring inter-related domains.

Stack of books on different subjects
Choose Your Niche

       5. Writing Style

Though this is something that differs entirely from person to person, here are a few pointers you should take note while writing for the web.

  • Research thoroughly before you jump to start content writing on a topic. If you do sufficient research and planning, writing will be a cakewalk.
  • Be inclusive with your readers. For example, choose to write “we” more than “you” in case of “How To” articles or Listicles
  • Write in active voice and simple sentences. Avoid making your writing verbose with novel words
  • As a content writer, write from a reader’s perspective
  • Try using catchy headlines and subheadings. You may try out Content Idea Generator Tools for this purpose
  • Consider whether your writing addresses people’s needs and queries. Do not write in an abstract way filled with your personal opinion
  • A simple trick is to look up Quora to find common questions on your topic and include the answers in your content
  • ALWAYS give citations and references. Otherwise, you may find yourself in copyright trouble
  • Include anchor texts for better content marketing
Infographic with icons showing the main Dos & Don'ts of Content Writing
Content Writing Dos & Don’ts
  1. Visual Appeal

In this fast-paced age, no reader has the time to read lengthy, text-heavy content. Try to increase the visual appeal of your content by adding relevant images, GIFs or infographics. It is especially helpful if you choose to publicise your content on microblogging platforms like Twitter and Instagram.

A few pointers though:

  • Tip 1: Use royalty free images from stock image sites. Pixabay, Pexels, Unsplash are my personal favourites. Always mention the source of your images or GIFs.
  • Tip 2: Make sure you include Alt text and a small description of any image you use. Why? It helps a lot with the SEO.
pile of travelling photos lying on a table beside a potted plant and a pair of glasses
Include Pictures
  1. Check, Check, Check!

Remember the three MOST IMPORTANT tasks after you finish writing. Editing, proofreading and checking your content for plagiarism.

  • Editing & Proofreading: When we get into the flow of writing, we tend to have grammatical oversights very often. So, sit down, focus and start the rigorous process of proofreading and editing your content as many times as possible. Installing the Grammarly app can come in very handy here.
  • Plagiarism: Perhaps the main mantra of content writing is originality. A good content writer never copies. However, a little unintentional similarity may pop up here and there in your content which can lead to rejection. To avoid that, do a plagiarism check. Copyscape is a standard software for this; the Grammarly Plagiarism Checker is equally good.
photo of a document being proofread and edited with red ink
Proofreading & Editing
  1. Time to Look for Job Openings

Now it’s time to decide whether you wish to pursue content writing as a freelancer or a full-timer.  Both have its pros and cons.

If you are a beginner, create a LinkedIn profile and expand your network. Alongside, develop a professional portfolio and resume. Register yourself on job portals like Naukri and keep applying regularly. Remember to keep a cover letter and your best work samples ready as most recruiters ask for them.

Freelancing as a content writer can be equally successful today. Freelancing platforms like Upwork, PeoplePerHour, Fiverr can introduce you to international clients and you can work on a variety of projects of your choice. Some Facebook groups are also there to land writing projects.

woman working from home on a laptop
Freelancing

Note: Never miss deadlines. It is the primary responsibility of a content writer to submit the work within the deadline. Do not take up a project if you feel the time limit is too short.

      9. Don’t sweat about payment

When you learn how to start content writing, remember that the payment might be less in entry-level projects. However, never compromise on the quality of content. Avoid writing sub-standard content for ridiculously low rates. If you keep creating great content, it will not take you much time to get noticed.

Once you know the market, fix a rate for yourself on per word basis.

Internships are a great way to start as a full-time content writer as they help you master a lot of skills.

a man holding some cash in hand
Payment
  1. Practice makes perfect

Use your free time to promote your own blog. Content writers always need to market themselves so learning a few self-promotion tips and strategies would always be helpful.

Another great way to analyze your content is to write answers on Quora on your niche topics and see what responses your answers are getting.

a man climbing a rock
Working hard
  1. Never Give Up

Allow comments from readers and be open to criticism. Do not lose heart over a negative review, instead identify your drawbacks and work on them.

There will be times when you might find yourself without any project in hand. Or maybe a writer’s block gets you down in the middle of the week.

Never give up or doubt your abilities as a writer. Once you get past the struggles, your content might even go viral unexpectedly, trust me.

Infographic on steps to be a successful content writer in 2018
How To Be A Content Writer

Follow these simple rules, tips, and strategies, and soon you will find yourself mentoring others on how to become a successful content writer.

 

References:

  1. The 5 Skills You Need to Become a Successful Content Writer, Entrepreneur India
  2. (Even More!) Web Content Writing Tips, The Content Factory
  3. How to Be a Professional Content Writer, WikiHow

 

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