Content Writing FAQs

Conent ng (1)By: Pam Rossow

What is content writing?

Content writing is a form of online writing linked closely to the web. It targets a specific audience by providing specialized content unique to a particular site. It can be used to promote, sell a product or service or educate.

What does a content writer do?

Content writers help businesses increase their ROI, Return on Investment, by writing compelling content on relevant topics, often using keywords to boost SEO, and getting audiences to convert and buy services or products.

What are the benefits of hiring a content writer?

The following are five benefits of hiring a content writer:

Publish regular content – A content writer will produce consistent content for your website like blog posts on an ongoing basis.

Free up your time – Since you do not have to spend time creating content for your website, you will have more time to devote to running and expanding your business.

Provide a different perspective – When you hire a freelance content writer, you can receive a unique perspective regarding your business you may not have thought of before.

Improve readership – A content writer can boost your site’s readership and retain your audience by providing valuable content.

Increase your search ranking – Google crawls sites on a regular basis and analyzes back links, headers, and webpages. By incorporating keywords into your site’s blog and maintaining high quality content, content writers can improve the Google ranking of your website.

What should I consider before hiring a freelance content writer?

There are numerous factors to weigh before you hire a content writer. The following are 11 important things to consider:

  • Determine your budget.
  • Know why you need to hire a content writer.
  • Decide how much content you need and for how long.
  • Professional writers will typically charge more per word or project than cut rates.
  • While you may pay more, assess the value you will receive with an experienced writer compared to content mills.
  • If you want ghostwritten content, an experienced writer will usually charge more than if the writer receives a byline with their name.
  • Unlike face-to-face interviews conducted in your business locale, you can hire freelance content workers living anywhere in the world.
  • If you are planning on sharing sensitive content with a content writer, ensure you have a written, signed contract specifying confidentiality and project terms.
  • Communicate clearly with your writer what your timetable is, how you want content delivered, and what your expectations are for the project.
  • When hiring a professional writer, remember they are usually not brand strategists, coding experts or logo creators. However, they can create engaging written content for your website.
  • Seasoned content writers have areas of expertise. This doesn’t mean a writer who specializes in one or two areas cannot write well in another niche. Discuss this subject with your potential writer to ensure it’s a good match.

Remember, outsourcing your content creation can be a positive experience for you and your business because it allows you to focus on what you do best. This could mean growing your business, spending more time with your loved ones or spending less time stressing about your blog site.

Hiring a freelance content writer does not have to feel like a daunting task. Remember to ask for work samples, communicate your writing needs and find a writer who is comfortable writing in your niche.

 

3 Things Miley Cyrus’ Malibu Teaches You About Copywriting

3 WaysBy: Pamela Rossow

Not just about Miley Cyrus’ and Liam Hemsworth’s love life, Miley’s new single, Malibu, gives a fresh perspective on copywriting that you can use to liven up your content, along with an over-sized sweater or skipping through flowers.

Say whaaa? Hear me out.

Okay, so you don’t like Miley or at least haven’t liked her since Hannah Montana. Meh.

Wait, you do like her and thought her Bangerz album was bangin’. Doesn’t matter.

I don’t care if you’re diggin the boho vibes or grossed out by her latest hit.

The only thing that’s relevant is how Malibu dishes the inspo:

She reinvents herself. Only an album ago, Miley was repping a totally different persona with her 2015’s album, Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz.

Then, she flipped it and sealed the new acoustics with a twang while prancing around the California coast in a white, frilly outfit. Yep, Miley is targeting a new audience.

Same with copywriting. You must know who you’re writing to.

Whether you’re penning copy for a hip hop or legal site, you’ve got to factor in your audience’s age, gender, occupation, and interests to convert.

Then, you tailor your writing to your audience and even give evergreen articles a little spice.

She takes risks. Some people considered the foam finger, tongue out, twerking Miley obnoxious.

Other people thought she was a brilliant marketer, causing a stir and getting people to talk about her for months. Years even.

Either way, she has taken risks with her music, her stage presence, and her social media persona and she’s doing it again with her Malibu image.

Whether or not her new album is a success, she’s played by her rules and fueled her work in the direction she wanted it to go.

Haven’t you taken risks with your writing?

Maybe you needed a sexy call to action and wanted to create urgency so your copy would convert.

So you added a CTA that was bossy and it worked. Go you. You took a risk and it paid off in ROIs.

You probably take risks every time you grab your laptop to write. And, if you’re not, maybe it’s time to rethink your writing strategy.

She makes you feel. Malibu makes you feel something. Whether it’s disgust, amusement, or romantic longing, it evokes a response.

Heck, just seeing the Pacific Ocean in Malibu can cause sentimental feelings if you love the beach.

Or the balloons! All those bright colors floating around, reminding you of your best childhood birthday. The one where you got to invite the whole class?

Come on, you know you felt something when you saw the balloon stick!

Copy should do the same. Not talking about balloons but the feeling.

Bad copy will repulse you. Awesome copy will make you want to stand up and slow clap. Or dance. Or cause your fingers to tap out your email address in the subscription box.

So, next time you’re battling a major case of writer’s block, check out Malibu. You’ll be sure to feel something.

Maybe a jig on the beach or a bit of field frolicking in white cutoffs is all you need to spark an idea. Or an espresso.

What’s your go-to inspiration when it comes to copy? I’m talking outside the realm of copywriting like a certain movie, song, TV show, kayaking, whatever. 

For me, it’s anything Disney related or spending time in nature.

Leave a comment below and how it inspires.

 

33 Tips to Avoid Crappy Writing

33 Ways to Avoid Crappy Writing

By: Pam Rossow

There’s tons of writing advice in cyberspace that spells out how you must write, what you need to do to write well, when you should write it, and why you should write that way. If you ignore the subjective mandates, you will suffer harsh penalties and existential chaos.

While this blog will periodically focus on strategies to jump-start your writing, it will not be a tyranny where you must use these tools or suffer abject misery.

It will be a place free from authoritarianism where techniques will be suggested and you can accept or reject them. Cool?

I’ve learned a few things while writing. I’ve also seen some crazy stuff online. Some of the following tips are garbage and some of them are spot on. You decide. The underlined tips are hacks I think are most valuable.

Here are 33 writing dos and don’ts:

  1. Create a designated writing space.
  2. Ensure your writing space is comfortable but not so comfortable you’ll fall asleep.
  3. Copywriting should be boring and full of mundane facts.
  4. Use spellcheck but don’t rely on it.
  5. Use proper grammar (refer to Strunk’s The Elements of Style).
  6. Write without editing so you don’t interrupt your flow.
  7. Tune out distractions by muting your phone.
  8. Tell everyone on the planet you’ll be writing at x, y, z time and not to interrupt.
  9. Tell your dog not to interrupt you when he needs to go to the bathroom (kidding).
  10. Write at the same time each day.
  11. Write at the same time within your daily routine.
  12. Don’t write in your pajamas because you’ll look like a loser.
  13. Write in your pajamas.
  14. Drink gallons of coffee while writing otherwise you’re not a real writer.
  15. Optimize your content by stuffing as many keywords as you can into a 500 word article.
  16. 500 word articles are not real articles so don’t write them.
  17. 300 word articles are not real articles so don’t write them.
  18. Only approximately 1,500 word articles are real articles so write them.
  19. DON’T WRITE IN ALL CAPS BECAUSE IT LOOKS LIKE YOU’RE YELLING. IT’S ALSO ANNOYING.
  20. Write while riding a unicorn.
  21. Write while sipping a glass of wine.
  22. Never switch tenses.
  23. Write while you are in emotional turmoil.
  24. Don’t write while you’re in emotional turmoil.
  25. Write in a coffee shop if you’re bored with your home writing space.
  26. Write with ambient background noise.
  27. Write while sitting in an aerodynamic chair while sitting at an aerodynamic desk.
  28. Write in a journal every day.
  29. If you don’t write in a journal every day, you’re a loser.
  30. If you don’t LOVE writing every day, you’re a big loser.
  31. If you don’t follow all of these writing mandates, you’re a loser.
  32. And, if you use adverbs, start sentences with conjunctions, and occasionally write in fragments, you’re the loser of losers.
  33. If you don’t love grammar so much you want to marry it, you’re a dumb writer.

While some of the above tips are practical like #20 and 27, other tips like #12 and #30 are plain ridiculous and were probably written by the author of 100 Writing Tips You Must Follow NOW or Your Writing Will DIE a Tortuous Death. Just kidding. I have no idea if there is a book out there with that title. But there probably is.

The Irony (warning, tense switch)

As a kid, I was crazy about writing. I wrote every moment I could and didn’t overthink the process. I was prolific. Even though the content quality corresponded with my age, I wrote more than I do now with less stress because I wasn’t analyzing every word, sending it to its untimely death.

You know what else? I used adverbs without guilt, the Oxford comma was not debated, and I didn’t have a little devil on my shoulder whispering in my ear that my writing sucked or that I shouldn’t pitch that site because I was just a little ant that wouldn’t be seen by the ginormous dragonfly.

It was a blissful time in my writing life and I miss every minute of it. Okay, well, most of it. Just not the content quality corresponding to my age part. Writing was fun!!! Oh, and I secretly pine for the days when I could exclamate without guilt. Also, I didn’t know what a content mill was. Such a blithe little girl!

What You Should Do, What I Should Do, What We Should Do

How many of you, freelance copywriters, wake up, grab your cup of coffee, and bound towards your computer hyped to write about 7 Ways You Can Die from Snow and Ice? Maybe 5 Defective Ways Your Car Was Built gets you going. I’ll take a chance and say these types of articles probably do not thrill you even if they pay (or paid) your bills.

What should you do? This is only a suggestion, remember? Write when you feel like it (unless you’re getting paid and you have a deadline).

Write when you’re in emotional turmoil. Write when you’re not in emotional turmoil. Write at a cozy desk or at a standing desk or at a desk that is really a TV tray table. Write in your PJs. Write in your dress clothes. Write naked.

Write from your heart or a deep conviction or because you’re sick and tired of reading another article telling you when or how or why you should write. Just write.

Am I right? Tell me what your favorite worst piece of writing advice you’ve received in the comment section. I’m dying to hear it… in the meantime, I’ll keep breathing.

Oh, btw, this article is exactly 919 words.