You know the types – they sit in quiet corners of coffee shops, MacBooks open, coffees primed and fingers tapping at lightning pace. Content writers can be found everywhere these days.
Ok, that might be an exaggeration, but it’s hard to underestimate the speed with which content has become the cornerstone of nearly every marketing campaign.
But what makes a great content writer? If, like most businesses, this is an element of your marketing strategy you need to outsource, what sort of individual should you be spending your money on?
Let’s take a look below the surface at the anatomy of a content writer.
A story always at the ready
Storytelling has always played a huge role in marketing, but there are only a chosen few who can tell a brilliant story about any company.
A manufacturer of ball bearings, for instance, might not sound like the perfect breeding ground for a script and character arc Tarantino would be proud of, but great content writers will find engaging stories within the mundane.
To sell a product, you need to tell a story, and a content writer will help you do just that.
An appreciation for SEO
Content writing and search engine optimisation (SEO) are two very different skills, but they’re intrinsically linked.
In fact, one would argue that they can’t exist without each other.
A well-written blog post won’t be of much use if it hasn’t had a dusting of SEO magic sprinkled across it, and while the writer needn’t concern themselves too much with alt image tags or meta descriptions, an appreciation for the work required in that area separates the average from the brilliant.
Keeping keywords in mind while writing and knowing where and when to place internal and external links are examples of important content writing tasks that link to SEO.
The ability to write with the user in mind
Content writing is all about creating a piece of content with which people want to engage.
If said piece of content is 1,200 words long and consists of four paragraphs, that isn’t keeping the user in mind. Because they simply won’t bother interacting with the page.
An appreciation of site usability defines a great content writer. Succinct paragraphs, bullet points and consideration for imagery ensures blog posts and landing pages are written in a way that makes people want to use them.
Influence – but not entirely – by copywriting basics
Copywriting has been around since the earliest days of commerce. As such, it’s an incredibly old art form, but there are some copywriting basics that absolutely ring true today.
The best content writers are those who have those basics in mind while going about their work, but who aren’t entirely influenced by them.
Old-fashioned copywriting doesn’t really have a place in the modern world. It can appear too mechanical and sales-led, and while that might work for hard-and-fast retail businesses, it’ll quickly turn off would-be customers in other industries.
The ability to tell a story in a way that leads a prospective client to take action once they’ve finished reading is modern content writing at its best, but it’s a tricky balancing act for the inexperienced.
The best news about the abundance of content writers is that you no longer have to worry about attempting to do this stuff yourself, but it does require the ability to sort the wheat from the chaff.
Use the anatomy above to sniff out the best writers for your website – and keep hold of them, because they’re a rare breed.