How to be a web content writer

by Dawn Ouedraogo

So, you’ve decided you’d like to make a living by writing content for the internet but are wondering exactly how you go about getting hired as a web content writer. Professional content writers are very often self-employed and can make a good living from writing. Some people would even say freelance content writers possess an enviable lifestyle.

Many freelance web content writers work from home and can choose their working hours and opt to write as often as they wish. Of course, if you only choose to write a little every day, you’re unlikely to make a very good living from the role, so it makes sense to try to maintain regular, scheduled hours.

It is also possible to find web content writer jobs in business and industry, these will often be within marketing departments and some of them may require additional IT or content management software skills. You don’t always need a university degree to become a content writer, although it can prove helpful for entry-level roles and is often specified as an essential requirement. You will need to enjoy writing if you plan to work as a web content writer, though, and you’ll be required to adapt your writing style to suit the content requirements of your complete range of clients.

Skills and qualifications you need to become a web content writer

Contrary to most views, you don’t actually need an undergraduate degree to become a successful web content writer. However, you will need to enjoy writing and be able to evidence skills in writing to styles and formats specified by clients. It’s possible to find entry-level roles within businesses or marketing agencies, or move up to a content writing role from a job as a marketing assistant or similar.

Having a university degree in English, Journalism or Communications can prove helpful for new web content writers looking for their first roles. Although it has to be said that many successful content writers launched their careers on the back of roles in marketing or business, where elements of the job entailed a requirement to illustrate writing ability on a regular basis. As this article from Bamboo Nine points out, “in many cases employers are more considered about writing and grammar skills than they are about education”.

When you start applying for job roles, it’s a good idea to take a portfolio of your written work along to interviews or add links to your web portfolio when you apply to online job roles. CV Library suggests that your portfolio should include some of the best examples of your written work, illustrating your abilities to write in a coherent and creative manner.

How to be a web content writer

It’s entirely possible to be hired as a freelance writer by online agencies, usually following submission of a short sample of writing. Once you start writing online, you will need to be able to master the use of different “voices” for a variety of clients, ranging from formal articles to more accessible blog posts targeting a younger or more digitally savvy market. Persuasive and sales-oriented writing skills are also in demand, as you will discover most online agencies offer opportunities to write product descriptions and sales copy.

In order to become a good web content writer, it’s important to develop an understanding of the specific audience that’s being targeted with the written content. This way you learn to write the type of content the audience wants to read. For example, if you were contracted to write a financial news piece for a firm of brokers, it would be critical that you wrote financial news aimed at educating the audience about potential stocks and shares worthwhile of investment and you can assume they already have a good knowledge of the economic climate and financial terminology. Simply writing a financial news article about banking legislation would probably not appeal to your target audience.

Working as a web content writer

Great content writers have a solid understanding of grammar and spelling, so, if you have any concerns about your abilities, it’s important to keep practising your writing skills and look up grammatical errors online. Everybody makes mistakes, but professional copywriters will rarely make boobs when preparing copy for clients. Installing a simple add-on like Grammarly can help enormously.

You will find your writing skills develop and perfect over the period of time you work as a web content writer. Take every available opportunity to continue the learning process, as this will help prepare you for greater responsibilities and an enhanced career path.

Once you’ve been taken on as a web content writer, it’s important to ensure all the content you produce is 100% original. Submitting plagiarised content can create problems for clients and affect your career and reputation. You can scan all your content through a free online plagiarism checker to be safe, as it can be quite easy to duplicate the writing of others by accident.

Networking and social media marketing are valuable considerations for web content writers, as your online blog or website can become a valuable marketing tool which can be used to attract clients.

As a web content writer, you will be writing on a range of topics and some of these could be quite technical or sales-oriented. The role of the SEO content writer has become increasingly popular, as many employers value skills in market research and analytics. Many successful web content writers will need to spend a proportion of their working time conducting keyword research and researching competitor websites and information. If your role does involve marketing and SEO skills, you might want to consider the benefits of registering for an online content writing course with a provider like the Content Marketing Institute, to help hone your writing skills and develop a more successful career path. The Content Marketing University is operated by the Content Marketing Institute and offers a variety of courses geared towards more effective content marketing writing.

As the role of the internet becomes increasingly more prominent in everyone’s daily life, the importance of the role of web content is enhanced. Brands recognise that great web content is a valuable commodity and there is increasing demand for web content writers. As your writing career develops, you will receive more opportunities to write web content targeted to different audiences and sectors.

Main image credit: Startup Stock Photos
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Dawn Ouedraogo

A qualified journalist and former features writer, Dawn works full time as a freelance writer. With a background in history and journalism, she joined Copify in 2017 and has written on a number of topics including marketing, health, travel, business and finance, and home and garden.