Content writing is a great catch-all term when someone asks me what I do, but sometimes I’m met with blank stares and I have to elaborate: “I write content for online companies and other small businesses – website copy, blog posts, that kind of stuff.” The truth is, content writing isn’t limited to articles and blog posts. Content writing itself is a far-reaching job, simply because different projects have different needs. So if you’ve ever wondered, “what the heck is a content writer?” good news. I’m writing allllll about it right here, right now.

content writing, explained

Content writers are alike in that they write for web-based platforms. But because there are endless websites – those focused on health, parenting, medicine, company websites of all shapes and sizes, business blogs and personal blogs and on and on and on – the work varies tremendously. Some of us specialize in, ahem, small businesses, while others prefer chasing medical or government work. Content writers may be independent contractors, SEO specialists, coding champs, full-time employees, or run their own small biz. But across the board, a good content writer will help you effectively reach your audience, whoever they may be.

Because content writing can having different meanings for different people, it’s a hard thing to define. Still, we tend to share a few characteristics:

  • We know our way around the internet. Why? Because research is a critical first step whenever a new project comes along. I write for a chiropractor, a medical website, a boutique industrial real estate brokerage, and an interior designer, among others. I’m no expert in any of these topics, but between extensive research and some direction from the client, I can write interesting posts that make the right people stop, read and act.
  • We know the difference between your and you’re. Why? Because sometimes content writing is less writing and more heavy-handed editing. When inspiration strikes, and your client proudly sends a lengthy, drawn-out post that meanders around for 800-plus words, it’s a content writer’s job to find the thread and rework that content.
  • We understand the importance of design. Why? Not because I’m a Photoshop whiz, but because I know that white space and bolded text and headings make my content easier to read. It’s important that the copy itself shines, but it’s equally important that everything displays beautifully.
  • We know the value of SEO. Why? Because search engine optimization makes a difference, so staying abreast of the latest best practices is part of the deal.

one more thing

A content writer fills a special niche, whether you’re hiring a freelancer or bringing on a full-time employee. The goal of your content writer should be online visibility of the very best kind. That’s the kind of success both you and your writer are chasing. A content writer on staff is an ally, someone dedicating time and effort to your website’s growth and visibility. Because when you hire a content writer, you’re not just getting a writer. You’re getting a researcher, an editor, a designer and an SEO pro, all in one awesome little package.