Each day, I begin with a goal to create fresh digital content for a variety of clients. By the time I call it a night, I’ll have made time for meetings, research, strategic development, SEO and content creation to do everything in my power to generate copy that will stand out in the crowded world of content marketing.
Content writing and strategy
There are days when writing for the web can feel like shouting into the void. I craft a story to be published and wonder who is actually reading it. The reality is that no writer wants to create copy that nobody reads.
We research what people are sharing on social media. We dive into organic search analytics to figure out how people are searching for the topics we’re covering and how search engines are providing them answers. We read content on similar topics to see what other writers are doing and make sure we can differentiate our content.
Every piece of content I create on a given day begins with strategy. Usually, it’s a combination of collaborative discussions with clients and independent research, but regardless of the methods, the goal is the same: Tell a story that’s engaging for the reader, valuable for the client and strategically designed to get noticed on the web.
In a lot of ways, a professional content writer is a well-rounded content specialist, with strengths in multiple content marketing disciplines. That’s how great content is born: mapping SEO, social media, technical research and more to the core task of putting pen to paper.
Relationship with SEO
Ultimately, as a web writer, my relationship with SEO is extremely practical. I’ve been trained to identify effective keywords and do some big-picture strategic thinking about how terms are best used in a content marketing strategy. However, it’s important to prioritize developing strategies to build content around those terms without overtly cramming in key terms or buzzwords.
Marrying SEO with content writing is very much like threading a needle. It requires a delicate, intentional touch. Plus, a content writer job doesn’t end when a piece is published. There’s also social media or email promotion to be factored in, as well as the larger marketing performance itself. A blog, for instance, can live on the internet forever and can be circulated through email and across social media. This means I have to consider how my work will be featured, optimized and talked about online.
Whereas a purely technical writer or a content mill operates in a vacuum, churning out content with little insight into end goals, I’m tasked with putting a lot of pieces together. I have to anticipate future blog performance, understand niche lingo, be proficient in distribution channels and optimize for search engines. The writing is but one part of being a digital content writer.
How do I Become a Web Content Writer?
To become a web writer, the first thing to do is to develop your writing skills. Then, work on building your experience and network before finding a position that pays well. The job of a content writer has evolved a lot in the past couple of years. As a professional writer, you should be competent and skilled at creating engaging articles. However, web writers are like specialists.
Aside from being able to write a variety of topics for various organizations, content writers should also understand how search engines work. That way, they can write articles that’ll rank on Google. Before we answer your question of how to become a professional content specialist, the following are some of the tools web writers use to be efficient in their jobs:
4 Tools that Every Web Content Writer Needs
The tools that content writers use include processing programs, web writer software, research tool, and content calendars, among others. But, there are several tools for content writers to use. As you may have guessed, these programs are essential for providing quality and useful content for websites.
1. Word Processing Program
The first tool is a word processing program for formatting the text in a way that would make it look neat and attractive. Tons of word processing programs already exist on the internet today. However, some of the most popular ones include Microsoft Word, WPS, Apache OpenOffice, etc. Note that Word Processing programs don’t have specialized features for web content development. So, you may want to consider a web writer software instead.
2. Web Writer Software
However, there are web writer applications, such as INK, that offers the best of both worlds. Along with optimizing your content for search engines, the INK editor combines automated grammar and readability checking features for an excellent writing experience.
3. Content Calendar
A content calendar allows the content developers to keep track of the date and schedule for the articles. The purpose of a content calendar is simple. It gives your whole team visibility on what you’re working on and allows you to plan ahead. Also, keeping track of deadlines becomes easier when you’re using a content calendar. One of the most popular content calendars to consider is CoSchedule.
4. Researching Tools
A fourth tool is a researching tool for finding what’s relevant to your readers. To show up in search results, it’s essential to understand your target market and how they’re searching for your content. That’s where keyword research comes in.
Each of these tools helps in creating a good quality website that’ll attract many visitors and increase conversion. But, these are just tools. While they can help create an engaging article that would rank on the search engine, they won’t make you a good writer. You have to do that all by yourself.
Tips and Tricks for Effective Web Content Writing
1. Explore Your Target Audience
Many small business owners begin writing website content without conducting a study of their desired readership. Content writing should provide value for your web visitors and social media followers by solving a problem or fulfilling a need.
Create personas that match your target market and conduct research to figure out what those individuals want from your business. Although this content writing tip is crucial for the growth of your business, it is even more so for the development of focused, effective content.
2. Build a Web Content Strategy
Your editorial calendar will serve as the cornerstone of your content marketing strategy. Many business owners find it helpful to develop a quarterly calendar. List your goals for that quarter, then brainstorm web content ideas that can support those goals.
For example, if a car dealership wants to drive new SUV sales, it may post content highlighting how certain vehicles can go off-road at local parks and trails. That dealership should use a web content writer or in-house writer to research these ideas and write blog posts that appeal to the needs and wants of its readership.
How To Create A Successful Web Content Strategy
Consistency is key to developing an online audience, especially if you are new to this type of marketing and still building your readership. Ideally, web content writing efforts should drive sales, cost and/or customer retention.
Additional Strategy Tips
Usually, it is better to have two or three solid, well-defined web content goals. When you have a long list of potential goals but have not assigned priority them, your content may come across as unfocused and is less likely to be effective.
A detailed editorial calendar with topics mapped to your goals will guide each successful content writing campaign. However, even the most granular plan should be flexible enough to accommodate current events and other fresh items that pop up throughout the year. A good web content writer can help you get the balance right.
3. Know the Value of Keyword Research in Content Writing
Ranking higher on Google and other search engines is one of many content marketing benefits. For this reason, you need a web content writer who is well-versed in search engine optimization, or SEO. Keyword research can help you target your writing efforts to the right potential audience for your products and services. You can illuminate the terms targeted by your competitors as a way to set yourself apart from similar businesses.
One common mistake? Cramming your web content with keywords that don’t make grammatical sense. Search engine algorithms penalize sites for this practice, called keyword stuffing, and prefer sites that use more natural keyword terms to display topical relevance.
Start your search with any of the plethora of free keyword research tools available online or opt for some of the more robust paid tools, such as SEMrush. Choose a program with an intuitive interface and review the terms that led users to your current site. You can then develop keyword ideas based on your goals, marketing budget and target audience as defined in step one.
4. Seek Out Writing Inspiration
Even the top web content writers experience writer’s block every now and then. In content marketing, coming up with a new angle for a tried-and-true topic can be challenging. Try free tools, such as Google Trends, to see what’s new with your target keywords.
Browse online forums and social groups relevant to your industry to learn about the topics important to your potential readers. You just might get an idea for new territory your competitors have yet to tackle.
How To Use Every Resource For Content Inspiration
Your existing readership can also be a valuable source of content ideas. Consider conducting a quick survey to find out what type of web content they need and value. You can offer an incentive such as a free white paper or ebook in exchange for this input. You need a web content writer who can repurpose the data into something fresh and illuminating.
When you have an idea for a great story, write it down. If you feel lacking in inspiration, flip through your notebook or scroll through your digital file to take advantage of those earlier musings. You’ll never know where you might have the seed of an engaging blog post.
5. Start With a Content Outline
When you sit down to write a blog post or web page, you want to make sure you clearly convey your ideas to the audience. Instead of meandering and failing to touch directly on your core ideas, structure your post with a simple list of the items you want to express. Then go back and fill in this outline with the meat of your content, including anecdotes, details and statistics.