What is a content writer, and why do you need one?

Whether you’re a small business owner or a solopreneur, creating content for your website is an essential part of your marketing strategy. If you’ve ever considered outsourcing content writing, you might have searched on LinkedIn and seen a wide range of content writing services.

But what is a content writer, and how can they help your business? And what skills should you look for in a content writer?

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What is a content writer?

Content creation is now essential to most businesses’ marketing strategies, so there’s a high demand for content writers.

A freelance content writer is an independent contractor who produces content for a website, generally for sales or marketing purposes. Small businesses can find freelance copywriters particularly useful, as they can benefit from the skills of a professional writer without needing to hire a permanent member of staff.

While many digital content writers focus on writing content like blog posts and press releases, long-form content writers produce ebooks and white papers, and other content writing service providers specialise in video and podcast scripts. 

Content writers are storytellers who take information about your brand, product or service and use it to build trust, improve engagement and generate sales opportunities. 

They create an insightful, inspiring message directed toward the needs of a specific audience. This could be your potential customers, new clients, employees, investors or other stakeholders. 

You might choose to work with a content writer on a contract basis for regular monthly content or work on a project-by-project basis, ordering content as needed. 

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What does a content writer do?

Online marketing is ever-changing, which means that the type of work a content writer produces is also evolving. 

Some content writers specialise in producing a variety of content forms for a particular sector, and others focus on a specific type of content, like product descriptions or social media copy. 

Some of the main content forms that you’re likely to find content writers working on include:

Blog posts

Blog posts are a central part of your content marketing strategy. They can help to strengthen your brand identity, build trust and improve Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).

Website Content 

Content writers can also help with web copy for other important web pages, such as your home page and About Us page.

Email and Sales Letters

Email marketing is a great way to build loyalty and convert customers. A content writer who offers email services can help with your sales funnel, landing pages, email campaigns and regular newsletters. 

Of course, not all sales are made online, and your content writer may also help you produce sales letters and marketing materials. 

Social Media

Social media content writing requires your copywriter to produce copy that communicates your message effectively while considering each platform’s best practices and text limitations. 

Online Sales Copy 

Writing product descriptions and category pages for an e-commerce website is a skill that balances sales techniques with SEO strategy. Some content writers choose specialise in this service.

Brand Communications

Content writers can help with PR news releases, intranet copy and customer or brand stories. 

​Online courses

Your content writer will be able to help you produce the written materials for an online course and scripts for video elements, as well as writing the landing page, email funnel and sales copy that help you promote it.

White papers, case studies and eBooks

Creating long-form technical and professional content can help establish and strengthen your brand’s authority within your niche. Your content writer can help to produce high-quality long-form content.

Video and Podcast content

Whether you focus entirely on video and podcast production or use them as part of your company’s content strategy, your content writer can assist with script production and editing. They can also help with YouTube video descriptions and podcast show notes.

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The role of a content writer in content production

Creating high-quality content combines research and marketing skills with creative writing skills. Content writers might work alone to produce engaging content or collaborate with other digital marketing staff including SEO experts and graphic designers.

Here are some of the stages of content production that a digital content writer can help.

Strategy

Content writers can help you develop a content strategy for your business. They might offer content audit services that identify areas of your web content that need improving or strengthening and suggest the types of blog posts and other content you should publish.

A content strategist might also help with other areas of your content strategy like social media, email marketing or video script creation.

Research

Research is a vital part of the content creation process, so every content writer you work with needs to have good research skills. These skills will ensure your content is accurate and tailored to suit your company’s current messaging.

Design

While other professionals will work on the design of your website, your content writer will need to ensure that the content is correctly formatted. Using subheadings, bullet points and white space will make the text easier to read and more engaging for your audience.

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SEO 

An experienced SEO content writer can carry out SEO research and advise on long-tail keywords and semantic keywords. They will understand how on-page SEO factors like the headline, keyword density and keyword placement can affect your post’s chances of ranking well on search engines. They may also advise on off-page SEO.

Some clients prefer to work with their own SEO expert, who will be responsible for keyword research, but many content writers can assist with this stage of the process. 

Editing

Any good copywriter will edit and polish your copy before they deliver it. Some may also offer a copyediting service for your existing content, helping to give it extra sparkle and improving its SEO optimisation. 

Publishing

Content writers may also offer additional services like uploading content to a WordPress site, adding meta descriptions and alt-tags or scheduling your post for publication according to your content calendar.

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What to look for in a content writer

Of course, it goes without saying that any content writer must have strong copywriting skills. However, the best freelance copywriters need to be versatile and have a wide range of additional skills. 

So, what skills should you look for in a good freelance copywriter? You should expect your content writer to have all of these essential skills: 

Good Research Skills

While some content writers specialise in particular niches or industries, your writer should be able to research any given topic quickly and effectively.

Excellent Spelling and Grammar

Errors in spelling and grammar look sloppy and present a poor brand image. You should expect your professional writer to produce text that has been thoroughly checked for errors.

(And yes, I’m just about to do another check on this post…)

Reliable Time Management

Of course, life sometimes gets in the way of meeting a deadline, especially when you’re running your own business. However, your writer should generally be able to produce content quickly and meet deadlines consistently.

Flexibility

Although some content specialists only operate in specific fields, your writer should be able to cover a range of subjects, using different tones of voice within a variety of content formats.

Creativity

As the internet gets ever more crowded, getting noticed becomes more difficult. Your content writer needs to work creatively and vary their writing style to help your copy standout against the volume of online content.

In certain circumstances, your content writer might also need these additional skills:

Industry Expertise

If your company operates within a complex niche that requires a high level of understanding, it’s best to look for a technical writer who specialises in that industry. This ensures they understand your topics easily and can create technical writing that appeals to your target audience.

Search Engine Optimisation knowledge

By now, all content writers should understand basic SEO principles well. However, an SEO copywriter specialising in Search Engine Optimised text will possess more in-depth knowledge of the subject.

Social Media skills

All social media platforms have specific requirements and best practices, which change frequently. A specialist Social Media content writer should be up-to-date on the latest trends, algorithm changes and best posting frequencies.

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FAQs

Is a Content Creator a Content Writer?

All content writers are content creators, but not all content creators are content writers. Some content creators produce different forms of content like graphic design, videos or podcasts. 

Some content writers may offer additional content creation services to their clients, such as photo editing or designing infographics for your website.

What is the role of a content writer?

Content writers research and write content such as blog posts, social media posts, articles and emails. They may decide to specialise in producing written material for marketing campaigns, or deliver scripts for podcasts and videos. 

How do I hire a good content writer?

Personal recommendations from other business owners are always preferable because you can learn what working with that particular freelance writer is like. 

If you can’t find a content writer through personal recommendations, try looking at the copywriter’s website and social media, or check out reviews and testimonials on sites like LinkedIn. 

Always discuss your requirements with the content writer before they start work, either in person, on the phone or over Zoom. It’s also a good idea to ask for writing samples if they don’t have a portfolio on their website. 

When should I hire a content writer?

When you’re planning a new website or refreshing an existing site, hiring a professional content writer will ensure you receive website copy that meets the needs of your business.

Your content writer can also help with blog posts on an ongoing basis so it’s easy to keep your website up to date and build authority.

As you can see, there are many ways that a freelance content writer can help you promote your business, increase your brand authority and attract new clients. 

Are you interested in seeing the benefits of a content writer for your own business? 

Take the next step and contact Style and Clarity to see how we can help!

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