Have you ever wondered where the text that you read on websites comes from? I must admit that before I started working as a content writer it never really occurred to me to even question how websites were put together, or in fact how crucial the text that I would frequently glance over was. Now that I work in the field I have a new found respect for the importance of text on a website and the people that create it.
The idea of writing for a website may seem simple on the outset – but creating text for a very defined audience is far different to writing a school essay or even this blog. You have to research your target audience, work out who you are writing to and then you have to develop and understand the style and voice that you need to write in. When you are writing for a range of clients you need to be able to change from serious, formal, informal and fun at the flick of a switch – to target your audience.
Content writing is a complete package – you need to be able to create a wide range of different content options from website homepages to information pages, specialised content and any additional content required for Search Engine Optimisation pages. You need to be flexible in your approach and be able to enjoy your writing at the same time.
I think there are several key elements that you need to be a good content writer and although I am sure there are many more, here are a few that I consider to be important:
- Efficiency – You need to be efficient. Content writing is about being able to produce text at a good rate. You could easily find yourself producing tens of articles each day and you need to be able to produce them in a timely manner
- Accuracy – Of absolute importance, accuracy in your spelling and grammar is crucial when dealing with clients. A spelling or grammatical error on a website can be embarrassing and it can have a negative impact on potential clients who may be browsing your website
- Research – You need to understand who you are writing for and their values, you need to be in touch with their target audience and the style of writing that they have become accustomed to
- Focus – In an office environment it can be easy to get distracted. When it comes to writing you need to focus solely on the task at hand, I find that music helps me to focus and to block out any background noise
- Patience - I think this is perhaps the most important attribute – you have to remember that everyone has their own style of writing and not everyone will like what you write – take it with a pinch of salt and build on the feedback that you receive.
As websites continue to become more prevalent in society, content writing will become increasingly important. Most companies outsource their material to content writers, but in hindsight I find that working in-house helps me to develop a good rapport with the clients, and in return I can give their websites a very personal touch as I understand both the company and the clients that I am writing for.
“A copywriter should have ‘an understanding of people, an insight into them, a sympathy toward them.”