Nowadays, websites are filled with information and articles. People can go and read about whatever subject they need information for educational purposes or just for fun. The internet gives them the opportunity, to find everything. But who is behind all that information? Now, it is true that all that information is not being created out of thin air like it is magic. But, since the internet is a vast hole filled with information about whatever thing somebody's soul may well desire. Order of some sort needs to be established. Content writers (Figure 1) are the ones who shape the internet, this chaotic sea of information into well-organized and pleasant articles. Businesses and other companies have noticed a pattern. It might come as a surprise to some of you, but people enjoy reading pleasant articles. Therefore, they started hiring these content writers to produce engaging content for their websites and social media. How do they write these compelling pieces? Do they have a routine? How do they know what to write? These questions will get an answer below.
Individuals working as content writers have a similar routine. The day always starts with coffee. It is the only thing that jumpstarts their brain and prepares them for the day ahead. Although, how they take their coffee, it's different from one content writer to another. One might prefer it black with no sugar, others with three ice cubes and milk, and some just a shot of espresso. Then they get to work.
A crucial part is doing their research on the topic that they have picked. This phase is important as it allows them to brainstorm; note down any idea that comes to them, and create a list of keywords that they want to target in their content.
What are some questions they take into consideration during this phase?
Who are they writing for?
What are they writing about?
What keywords are gonna be in focus?
The second phase is organizing all that research. Many content writers have a large selection of topics that are categorized into different themes. Organizing their research in a spreadsheet helps them save time and be more efficient. Content writers tend to have several columns, one about the topic, one about the goal of the piece that will be written, one about the number of words, and one that explains whether it can be divided into smaller blog posts.
The third round, but not less important, is the first draft. The first draft can be just bullet points or subheaders addressing what you will cover in the piece. This aids them in the practical sense, as they think about the value that they will provide. Each point written here is also accompanied by how they will be addressed and how much detail will be given about them. Content writers in this important step consider the following:
What will their message convey to their audience?
What will be the value given to their audience, that somebody else can not provide?
What are the key points of this topic?
As they work from the comfort of their own home most of the time, they can take a break. This is the fourth step of the process of content writing. Since the creative process is draining, it is recommended to take a break. After the first draft is finished, they usually let it sit for a little while. Half an hour recharges the chemical battery called the brain and helps them to be productive. This helps as the brain continues to run in the background as programs do on their computers. And that allows them to have a new insight regarding their work.
The fifth step is more towards large pieces that go beyond 1,500 words. It is the second draft, and it is aimed to blog posts that go beyond that amount of words, as smaller blog posts can easily be edited and fleshed out. Content writers here, usually let their piece chill for 24 hours. This helps to keep their content fresh and improve it each time. But they do not leave it for more than that, as then they start to forget what the topic was about. Which in return impairs them, and pushes them to reread again, making them lose more time. What do they take into consideration during this phase:
What can they save from their first draft?
To not be afraid to cut off or even change pieces of information with new information.
Can they find new sources to strengthen the validity of their piece?
The faithful ye old question, of being too technical or not being technical at all?
Editing (Figure 2), the sixth stage. In itself, editing requires a lot of attention to detail. They, also need to be able to accept the fact that some ideas do not fit inside their story. This process may take from one to several hours depending on the length of the content. Content writers take into consideration in the editing process:
Is the length proper for the purpose this piece of content carries?
Are the proportions of the content correctly?
Can any idea that does not fit be removed?
Is the tone consistent?
Are the paragraphs too long?
The seventh step, structuring the content (Figure 3). Usually, when they write a piece for the web, content writers focus on having a beginning, a middle, and an end. What they aim to, is write an introduction appealing to the audience, so they carry on reading. The middle part of it should have a lot of paragraphs and points that they make. For the end part, they mostly strive to summarize the article or even call for action regarding the topic chosen. Here, the focus is mostly on:
Points flowing from one another.
Is the title intriguing enough for people to read it?
Does the article have a chronological sense?
Is the writing too vague?
What images can they use to illustrate each point?
The last step consists of the final overview. The final overview gives them a chance for last touch-ups and some small fixes. Although it is best to have a professional proofreader take a look at your writing, most content writers do not have that luxury. They use applications such as Grammarly, Spellchecker, and Hemingway App, to have an extra pair of eyes. Content writers in this part look for these three things:
The sentences being well structured.
Is the final work polished?
The absence of any typing or grammatical error.
The information above summarizes the concrete part of a content writer's job. Most of it at least. Besides that, what are some other characteristics of their works? According to a 2019 statistic, 24 percent of full-time freelance writers work at least 25 hours a week. Although, there are content writers who work much more or less. Those, who work more hours a week, might have adapted to a more demanding schedule. As per those who work less, they can even do it as a hobby, while they keep working another job. Though, one thing is certain. They practically live in their inbox. Their job requires them to. One missed email, or being seen too late might spell doom, and no it is not a pun for the game, where you kill demons. Another thing that differentiates content writers is their workload. Some are booked in advance, while others might have to go knocking on doors to be let inside the world of content writing. Also, they can write a high volume or a low volume depending on their profile. It shows that they are adaptable, to different requirements. But, their preference is to be notified at least two to three days before the task is due.
What are some productivity tips?
Assignments should be tackled by order of due date. This helps them to not get backlogged and have a mental breakdown. If there are not any due dates closing in on them, they should focus on their hardest task. After finishing those excruciatingly painful tasks, the easier tasks will fly by. Also, content writers have a lot of niches. So, depending on the content writing style, it activates different parts of the brain. The right side is activated by creative writing, while the left side is by technical writing.
A lot of people might think, well content writers do not carry the same importance as an author or a journalist. In most cases, they would be right, but what about the exception? Despite, the content writer part being a job title, many of them take it seriously. Some of them pour a part of their soul into their pieces. Of course, they get paid for it, it would be a lie to not admit that. But, that is life, and what better than to work as something they enjoy doing. So, some content writers try their best to educate people and to also lighten up their day, with a hidden joke here and a pun there. After all, they are people, like the rest. They have their needs and whatnot, they are not perfect. But there is no need for them to be perfect. In my opinion, as long as they carry upon themselves the hard mission of trying to make a living and to educate people at the same time, we can all learn a few things from them.
Source of the featured image:
Creative Content Writing. (2021, June 30). [Photograph]. https://goodmanlantern.com/blog/must-have-ingredients-for-creative-content-writing/
Milton, W., Woodhead, W., Woodhead, W., & Jenkins, K. (2019, January 11). What is a content writer and what do they do? Copify Blog. https://blog.copify.com/post/what-is-a-content-writer-and-what-do-they-do
K. (2021, August 20). How to Create a Content Writing Schedule [Download Checklist]. Dreamgrow. https://www.dreamgrow.com/writing-schedule/
Express Writers. (2020, December 31). A Day in the Life of a Content Writer: Masters of the Written Online Word (Infographic). https://expresswriters.com/day-in-the-life-of-a-content-writer-infographic/
Cain, E. (2019, November 9). 10 Things You Do As a Content Writer. Elna Cain. https://elnacain.com/blog/things-you-content-writer/
BackLinko. (n.d.). BackLinko. Retrieved August 22, 2021, from https://backlinko.com/hub/content/writing