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The freelance content writer is one of the most sought after employees on the web. Those that need to have content readily available to engage their consumers look to these content writers to know what to deliver once their tasks are in hand.
There is one thing to do research on a subject and put it out there for the world to read, then there is the type of content that you not only want to put out for the world to see, but the type you want the world to pay attention to.
Because some people prefer to buy a research paper written by professional writers, instead of writing it themselves, and whether they use it for content sharing, or for educational purposes, the content writer does good to follow some important rules for writing content to keep business coming back.
The rule that has to do with your audience is first and foremost, because if the content isn’t relevant to who you are trying to reach you are wasting your time. Content writers with the most success research their audience per the tasks at hand. Take in consideration the following:
- Age: you would not write content about senior living options and submit it to a children’s site, and you wouldn’t write about freshman college dorm horror stories for a senior citizen’s website.
- Culture: Although there are times when one culture may be curious about what is happening in another, and will enlist articles about changes in different cultures, when writing about specific cultures keep in mind specifics so as not to offend by not being properly informed.
- Relevance: When you as the writer must research what your audience would like to know, make sure that it is up to date material. Many writers make the mistake of not looking at the date of the material that they are researching and that is a time waster when your editor must have you re-submit ideas.
Unlike traditional marketing, which is the in your face type of marketing such as a billboard or funny television commercial, content marketing is an engaging personalized type of marketing that tends to develop ongoing relationships with your target audiences.
Today’s audiences are surfing the internet looking for information that is just for them, so to get personal with them you must:
- Plan on producing great content: Do not attempt to write one line of content until you have a plan of action. Many websites falter in this step and lose valuable return visitors. Professional content writers know that this rule is a must.
Some tips to place in an outline of your plan include:
- What is this company about? What are their content needs?
- Who is the target market?
- Develop a journey map the website.
- Know what SEO (search engine optimization) techniques you need for this specific site. Although it is good to know them all, they are not all useful for each project.
- Keyword list. Be mindful that keyword repetition is frowned on upon by Google, so you must place them with care throughout your article.
- Word count. (have this agreed upon, you may go over, get that approved also)
- List of power words that suit the content. (yes there is such a list, Google: power words)
- Deadline. This is very important. Some editors are in time constraints one week and some weeks they may not be rushed at all.
- List of links/URLS. Using links is one of the best networking tool online. As a content writer, you can build a tremendous following by following others.
Your planning begins the instant you get your clients tasks in your hand. Keep your mind in research mode and you will never have to rev up to write. Make sure you are clear on all directions.
Communication with your editor will keep your plan running smooth. The journey map is not yours it is your customer’s.
Although content writing tips can get you started, you also need to pay attention to form and function of the site. Layout is just as important as the actual writing.
Today’s surfers are scanning as they surf, they are not going to stop and read a lot of content.
To keep them engaged, try developing these rules in your content writing style:
- Structure your articles to be scan able.
- Paragraph size is important. Over 4 sentences per paragraph is going over the limit. If this is a lecture type article where students are looking to read lots of content, then it is acceptable. That is why audience is so important.
- Skip unnecessary words. Although some freelancers get paid by the word, it is never a good practice to word stuff an article. It produces sloppy to read work.
- Bullet points are loved by scanners. If you are looking for how to avoid grammar mistakes, when you get to a website that talks about grammar, you are instinctively going to scan down to the word “mistakes” if it is bulleted.
- To Do lists are what scanners are looking for. You can develop them in your planning stage. Your readers will like being able to copy and paste information into their notes. These are what content writers call their call to action for their readers.
If diligent, freelancers can make a good living off content writing. It is an art to write in any genre, and if you practice your writing and researching skills every day you will be successful, but like any skill there is homework for the content writer.
Your homework is to study other writers. You have your favorites out there in this big World Wide Web. Go find at least 3 of your favorites. Read them out loud and pay attention to what they are saying, and then ask these questions:
- How did they open their content to pull their audience in?
- How was the article formatted, was is nice to the eyes? Did it make you want to keep reading?
- What was the tone in the voice that you heard between the lines?
- Was it relevant?
- Did it give a call to action?
This is what writers do, they start of imitating other writers until they develop their own style of writing. Now start clicking those keys and come up with some good copy!