Don’t be surprised to get a blank stare if you tell someone that you are or want to be a content writer. After all, it’s not exactly a very descriptive job title. However, the fact is that the title is not descriptive for a good reason – content writing as a profession is very open and flexible. Content writers tackle a lot of topics and do their job differently.
Despite the open-ended nature of the job, there are a bunch of things you need to keep in mind if you want to be a topnotch content writer, such as:
Understand What Plagiarism Is, and Don’t Do It
You will be surprised to know that there are many writers who think that taking another writer’s work and changing every single word (to the point that they will no longer be a match word for word) does not constitute plagiarism. This is a mistake that will eventually bite them in the you-know-what later on. Learn how to source properly, how to provide credit, and how to write a new piece based on an existing one without simply plagiarizing the content.
Learn How to Research
As a content writer, you’re going to encounter different projects with vastly different topics. If you try to limit your projects to topics or fields that you have an expertise in, you’re not going to make enough to earn a living so you have to go out of your comfort zone. But how do you write about things that you know very little about? Easy – you research. As a content writer, you have to ensure that the articles you write are factually accurate and verifiable. So you need to be a good researcher.
Practice Writing for the Web and for Print
Writing for the World Wide Web is different from writing for print, but there are employers or clients who would ask you to adopt one’s requirements for the other, so you need to know both styles. One example of this is with the structure – articles written for the web are generally formatted for easier reading, divided into smaller paragraphs, using bullet points, etc. Articles in print, on the other hand, need to make full use of a limited amount of space, so there is a tendency to cram as many words as possible into a single paragraph.
Study Search Engines and How They Treat Web Content
One key difference between web content and print media is that readers usually reach your articles through search engines. You need to understand how these search engines work so that you can write articles that are easy to find through online search. These search engines also have algorithms that penalize those who try to cheat their system, so you need to learn about those things as well so you can avoid doing things that will get you penalized.
Last, But Not the Least: Learn How to Be a Proofreader and Editor
More often than not, you’ll be working with an editor or a proofreader when doing work for clients, but it’s going to make both of your jobs easier if you can catch most of your mistakes before sending your work in. Additionally, if you can learn how to look at your work from their perspective, you will have an easier time accepting corrections and criticism when (not if) they come.
Image credit: 10ch on flickr and reproduced under Creative Commons 2.0[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://writingtipsoasis.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/hv1.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Hiten Vyas is the Founder and Managing Editor of eBooks India. He is also a prolific eBook writer with over 25 titles to his name.[/author_info] [/author]