How To Become A Content Writer | Skills, Roles & More

Here’s the deal:

Almost every word that you read on the internet is content created by someone.

Be it an article, product review, blog, service description, user manual or social media post, content is everywhere (and so are the content writing opportunities!)

But before you plan a career in content writing, you need to be aware of the various roles and opportunities available; and the skills necessary to make your mark.

If you’re wondering how to become a content writer, the good news is that there are various types of content writing roles. What differentiates them from one another is the objective and intent.

Understanding this is essential to chart out your career path:

Marketing and Communications Writing

Writing content from a sales perspective involves not only attracting the reader to the content, but also compelling them to take action – be it buying a product or service, or signing up for a course. 

Marketing and communications writing involves writing content for emails, sales copies, brochures, flyers, press releases, etc. The intent of the written word is to build a narrative and to nudge the reader into taking the next step. 

While sales writing is not as glamorous as marketing content, they are equally important. Business proposals and sales decks are good examples of this.

Social Media, Promotional and Branding Content

No marketing strategy is complete without social media. A well-executed social media campaign increases brand awareness and creates brand value, thus increasing sales and revenue. 

The objectives and returns you seek from a social media campaign can be quite different from the rest of your marketing investments. While brand awareness and engagement is often the primary focus, some industries (such as fashion and apparel) use social media copywriting to generate sales for their product.

SEO Writing

The internet is fuelled by search engines. The first thing anyone does when looking to buy a product or look for advice is to search for that information through Google or Bing.

This is the reason why SEO writing is perhaps the most sought-after field in content writing. 

SEO writing involves making the content more search engine friendly, thus ensuring that it ranks higher in search engine results. There are various approaches to SEO like keyword embedding, landing page optimization, backlinking through blogs and articles, and various other techniques.

Content marketing is a broader term used to refer to the impact such content has on the overall objectives. Here, the role of a content writer does not stop just with producing search-friendly content, but also reaching out to other blogs and producing guest content.

This is a big differentiator. If you are a freelance writer targeting this industry, you could potentially earn much more when compared to other job categories.

And the reason?

Unlike other categories where writers are typically paid on a per-word basis, content marketing projects are paid based on results. Better results being higher income; although it also involves more effort.

Technical and Academic Writing

Technical writing is a slightly more advanced form of content writing. It is popular in certain areas of academics like engineering, biosciences, robotics, etc, where a deep understanding of the subject matter is required.

Technical writing involves producing content for documents like technical user guides, help files, standard operating process (SOPs), instruction manuals, etc. The intent of such writing is to provide technical information to readers, with the intention of solving a specific problem. 

Content produced for such projects is also used in producing technical manuals, software documentation, and knowledge bases.

Academic writings tend to be very detailed and are used in producing research papers, textbooks, reports, etc. A content writer working on such a project needs to focus less on creativity, and more on comprehensive research and citation.

Feature Writing

Feature writing is an industry with tons of career opportunities.

Editorials, newspaper columns, advertorials, are some of the various forms of feature writing. The purpose of feature writing is informational and everyday topics that are of interest to the general reader. With digital media gaining more prominence in recent years, feature writing has turned out to be a very lucrative career opportunity.

Roles and Opportunities

Content writing is a vast field with a multitude of opportunities. The internet is the biggest medium, with a constant need for new content. Therein lies the opportunity for content writers! 

There are a variety of roles you could pursue in the content writing field. Given below is a list of roles that you can choose from to chart out your career in content writing:

  • Blogger
  • Website content writer
  • Content writer for marketing/promotion
  • Email writer 
  • Social media writer
  • Technical writer
  • Academic writer
  • Copywriter
  • Ghostwriter
  • Scriptwriter
  • Brand journalist

Skills Required To Be A Successful Content Writer

Richard Bach once said:

“A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit”

That probably sums up the best skill you can have for a content writing job:

A passion to tell your story, an engaging way to convey your idea and an impactful way to influence your audience – that’s the essence of a content writer.

To be a successful content writer, you need to be excellent with words. You should also have an innate curiosity that drives you to research more on topics. Once the research is done, you need to be able to use your creativity and originality to convert it into great content. Editing your work to create high quality and error-free content is another great asset for your content writing career. 

Having said that, technical skills cannot be discounted. To efficiently navigate your career in content writing, you need to be tech-savvy in terms of basic computer skills, social media skills, and other necessary skills like writing SEO-friendly articles. 

Reading is the best teacher for writing and to hone your content writing skills, you should read, read, and read some more! Also, be sure to practice writing at every opportunity you get. You can find numerous freelancing opportunities to build your credibility as a preferred content writer. You can also supplement your experience by learning through content writing courses.

What’s Next?

So, there you have it! A complete breakdown of how to become a content writer.

Content writing is a highly lucrative career opportunity for freelancers. Twine has a ton of openings crop up every week for copywriting and other content writing projects. Be sure to sign up to be notified.

Anand Srinivasan

Anand Srinivasan

Anand Srinivasan is a marketing consultant and the founder of Hubbion, a free to use task management tool for startups, small and medium businesses.