The Secret Of Content Writing

I was training a couple of new writers last week. They are not new to writing but are new to the concept of writing as a job. I am sure of their technical and creative abilities, yet they really floundered with their first assignment.

My patience for writers through their first several assignments is almost infinite because it has to be. Most writers who are new to this genre struggle at first. It is a process they are not used to, and they tend to over think and over create. I have to reassure them that their writing skills will carry them through, and they usually do, eventually.

These talented writers I was working with last week sent me crap for their first assignments. No one was more shocked than they were, and some pride got bruised that day. These are published writers who are sought after in certain industries and praised by casual readers.

Although they did not exactly volunteer for these assignments, (welcome to a family of writers) I took their acquiescence as a good faith effort to meet a new challenge. The assignments I gave were very easy from a writing perspective. A sample was sent to show the desired outcome and parameters were explained.

This is almost too much information for a seasoned writer. They were poised to write in the only sense they have ever known, as a creative, collaborative, communicative endeavor that fills the world with value and meaning. Instead, I was asking them to follow a basic formula, and they balked at the notion.

They practically ignored the samples I sent and defied the process I suggested. The result was devoid of the keywords and word count that makes content writing technically valuable. One of the comments these new writers made was that they don’t like to write about topics that don’t interest them.

For the Love of Writing

Before you think I set out to torture and embarrass distinguished members of our senior community, let me reveal that these writers are dear relations of mine. We have shared a love of writing for many years, supported each others’ craft, and even collaborated on creative projects.

I have great respect for the language skills of these two writers, and I saw an opportunity to briefly bring them into my current writing circle. I expected it would be a mutually beneficial, and temporary, arrangement that minimally punctuates our relationships.

We all laughed and loved and learned that day!

Content Writing is Not Writing

Content writing is not the same as writing writing — you know, the creative stuff traditional writers do. Writing actually comes in various genres, similar to law practice. A successful corporate attorney is not likely to excel in a divorce proceeding because these are two different types of law. From the cheap seats, all we see are lawyers (or writers).

While this distinction might make writers uncomfortable, after all, no one likes to be shown where their talents come up short, it is a positive omen for business owners who need to write content but don’t consider themselves writers. Really, if you know the formula, anyone can write content. The key is to include relevant keywords and provide useful information to your readers.

My new writers are over the hump in their learning curve. There was a point at which I thought they might quit, but they persevered. They understand the job of writing now and how different it is from what they were used to. As one of them put it, I had to stop caring about the outcome so much.

I care about the quality of the content my team and I produce, but I also understand that the measure of that quality is very different. In content writing, we are not giving out any prizes for unique creative musings. Our prize goes to the client in the form of improved web traffic and increased revenue. That goal is achieved by sticking to the parameters as prescribed by a digital marketing strategy…and they will all live happily ever after!

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