In the content writer trade, words that fit are problem-solving products. They support innovative thinking and offer new perspectives in an easily digestible form. Words that fit expand usage rather than restrict. Below are two examples that roam outside the range of dogma but remain in the realm of reason. They use words wisely.
Do you have time for the extra steps it takes be a good content writer?
I think writing for the web requires more discipline than writing for print. First of all, website visitors don’t read, they scan, and you have only seconds to capture their interest. You need to make your point quickly. At the same time search engines aren’t all that forgiving. If you don’t include the right keywords, or use the right code, your content may as well be invisible. Being a good content writer means you take that all into account. You take the extra steps to ensure high quality content that will drive online results.
Step 1. Research
Effective content writing requires putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. A content writer shouldn’t guess at topic areas to cover, they should research them. They should interview sales and service people to find out what questions people ask. A good content writer checks Google adwords and asks to review website analytics to see what problems your customers and prospects are trying to solve.
Step 2: Originality
The Internet has made it incredibly easy to see what your competitor’s are writing about. But if you want to stand out online your B2B brand needs its own voice. Seek originality in both content and content delivery. A good content writer asks, ‘What hasn’t been done before?’ and ‘What’s the best way to deliver the information? ‘
Step 3. Editing
On a small computer screen or phone, even the shortest of paragraphs can seem long. Rather than read it, your customers and prospects will move on. A good content writer is diligent in keeping sentences and paragraphs short. They weed out unnecessary words and break up long lists with bullet points. A good content writer reads copy aloud to identify awkward text that doesn’t flow.
Step 4. Keyword and Word Selection
A good content writer understands the importance of keywords and using the language of the audience. They start with a specific keyword and then write copy to support it. To do otherwise is to invite awkwardness. Words are chosen carefully. Industry jargon is avoided to satisfy the needs of both humans and search engines.
Step 5. Proofreading
A typo or misspelling is embarrassing. It is easy to see the mistakes of others, but more difficult to spot your own. Good content writers have a system for proofreading their work to catch grammatical errors, omissions and misspellings.
These extra steps inspire and ensure quality content. It’s one more interview, one more read through the copy, one more ounce of effort that separates a good content writer from a mediocre one. It takes time that you might not have.
How do you find the best writers?
At first, a content writer may not know a whole lot about your industry, products or services. How is it then that a good content writer can engage your audience? Within a short time, after some research and discussions, a content writer learns something big - what your customers care about.
More than eighty million results. That’s what turned up on Bing when I entered the term content writer. No wonder you feel overwhelmed looking for a content writer. When you work in publishing, writers come to you, but for business marketers and business owners it isn’t easy to find the right person. How do you find someone who knows your business or is willing to invest the time to learn? How do you find a content writer who understands what you want to accomplish? How do you find someone who can deliver web content that will raise your company’s search engine rankings, increase your traffic and generate leads?
Here are five ways you can separate the good content writers from the bad.
1) A content writer should have credentials.
Look at where a content writer’s work has been published. Are the publications or websites familiar to you? Is the content writer focused on the needs of consumers or business? Who are their clients? I would also look for some professional affiliations that identify their areas of interest such as the Construction Writers Association or the International Foodservice Editorial Council .
2) Writing should be clear, concise and understandable.
Check out the content writer’s examples of web writing. Is the copy clear, concise and understandable? Does the writer offer a benefit, answer the visitor’s questions and include a call to action? Is the writing free of spelling and grammatical errors? Can the writer provide examples of blog posts, email newsletters and other online marketing initiatives?
3) A content writer should be creative.
Evaluate web writing samples, and ask for the submitted Word files for the project. You want to find out how much editing was required. Does the content writer make an effort to draw the reader in with a creative headline or lead? Does the content writer offer a unique or unusual perspective? Is the website content unique, or does it look very similar to other competitors in the space?
4) A content writer needs to understand SEO.
Does the content writer have experience in writing copy that is optimized for search engines? Does the content writer research keywords and key phrases for your business? Ask what traffic results the writer achieved? What does the writer’s own website look like? Is it well written and easy to navigate?
5) A content writer should be easy to work with.
Good content writers become invaluable when they are responsive, timely, and take the initiative to develop original content ideas. They welcome your feedback and suggestions. A good writer makes a concerted effort to accommodate your schedule and meet tight deadlines. Ask other businesses, agencies, web developers, marketing and PR professionals in your industry for recommendations. Talk with prospective writers and their clients. For a long-term assignment or if you have ongoing writing projects, I think it’s fair to ask for a small writing sample geared towards your specific needs. Do your due diligence and you will find a writer you like to work with.
And don’t forget to call Content for Biz to discuss your content writing needs.