Content writers provide text for websites and digital media.
The internet relies heavily on text to provide context for imagery, convey valuable information, and make things easier to find. Content writers cover all sorts of topics, depending on their client's needs, but their work must be consistent, engaging, and clear. Audiences and consumers respond well to targeted web content, and search engines respond well to precise, optimized writing (or is it the other way around?), which means that content is a valuable tool that can help all kinds of pages and businesses connect with their intended markets.
There's no limit to the type of work a content writer may be asked to do - the primary goal of most content clients is creating pages that are friendly for both search engines and potential readers. The range of potential content is unfathomably enormous - a content writer could be explaining the origins of a local business one week and expounding upon the benefits of a certain lifestyle the next. It pays to be versatile, and curious content writers with a sizable knowledge base may quickly find they are well suited to this type of work.
Content writing work may include...
- Using common terminology and SEO to make a page easy to find
- Writing in accessible voices and tones for different audiences
- Following style guides and tonal branding
- Collaborating with editors and other professionals
- Incorporating feedback into future projects
Many content writers are freelancers who work with an array of clients, although it's just as common to find full-time content writers on corporate marketing teams. On the whole, content writing is independent work with minimal intervention; this can be great for writers who prefer alone time to team building. However, client interaction is essential, and writers must be able to advocate for themselves and the value of their work. It takes time, skill, focus, and energy to turn complex concepts into concise content!
While content writing doesn't necessarily require a degree, it does require the capacity to synthesize new information and turn it into clear, structured work. This type of research and synthesis is often taught in some capacity at the undergraduate level, and as a result, most working content writers have at least a Bachelor's degree. Having knowledge of particular subjects can influence the project one works on, though there is no overall requirement for certain majors. Some sites and organizations require highly specialized written content, and they may hire writers who hold Master's degrees or PhDs in a relevant subject at a higher rate. However, content writers without graduate credentials occasionally prove themselves to be such competent researchers that their clients and employers entrust these projects to them regardless.
If you're a master of taking complex information and boiling it down into its easy-to-digest essential components, content writing may be the career for you.
The National Association of Independent Writers and Editors is a professional association for all publishing professionals, helping members succeed by creating multiple streams of income.
The Editorial Freelancers Association is a national nonprofit organization by and for freelancers in publishing, which serves as a resource for the freelance community.
Writers Guild of America West is a labor union composed of those who write the content that keeps audiences constantly entertained and informed.