What’s Content Writing?

content-writing

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Content writing is a discipline that encompasses the various activities mandatory for producing high-quality web content. There’s a process of research, planning, writing, and editing synonymous with effective content piece creation. While the finished product can be used in various contexts, digital marketing is chief among them. 

Video scripts, podcast outlines, articles, whitepapers, and blog posts are examples of pieces generated from the comprehensive content writing workflow. You may even find that the content is intended for use on a designated platform, such as YouTube or Reddit. 

The perception of content writing as nothing more than the act of writing articles is quite antiquated. In fact, that was never a complete definition, to begin with. Writing is no more than a single spoke on a turning wheel that requires many other functioning spokes to flow freely.

Undoubtedly, writing is a pillar upon which content writing stands, but one must consider and appreciate the methodical pace that is a part of the territory. The strategic aspects bear the same level of importance as the others.

You may even wish to consider the non-negotiable qualities of the individual who makes a good content writer. The talents are far-reaching, and they include competitor analysis, keyword research, mastery of multiple writing styles, keyword optimization, and even an understanding of the triggers that matter in the social media space.

When done right, well-composed content pieces can become the driving force behind your product or service. Outsourcing the requirement to a professional team compounds the potential effectiveness, thanks to the strategies, tools, and experiences that become part of the mix.

What’s the Difference Between UX Writing and Content Strategy?

Put in simple terms, UX writing is one of many components of the big picture of content strategy. Content strategy is comprehensive, and depending on the context, it may or may not include UX writing.

Its lack of inclusion in any scenario is not necessarily a problem, as different strategies require different elements of the preliminary process that fuels content writing. On the flip side, there is no UX writing without a content strategy. If attempted, the result of ineffective content is all but guaranteed.

Now for a more in-depth contrasting of these two often-confused terms.

UX writing is primarily concerned with the various facets of language and how they are used to create an alternative reading experience. The focus lies on words the user may see or hear in using a service or enjoying a product. 

The design of this language flow is meant to be anything but intrusive. Good UX writing can achieve its objective without the person on the receiving end even realizing how the language is used or the words present. The product or service design seems to almost create a uniform blend with well-done UX writing, such that the active reading becomes an unconscious phenomenon. 

It’s all about creating a positive, unintrusive experience for a user, and it requires stylish, concise, consistent, masterful, and crystal clear writing.

On the other hand, content strategy includes a variety of different subsections that are all related to content creation and management. It’s not impossible for the discipline to be concerned with the language used, and there are typically multiple SEO considerations made in the planning phase.

As opposed to getting the act of reading to feel like an integrated part of another experience, content strategy aims to plan, oversee, create, and publish content in a way that achieves one or more predetermined outcomes. 

You usually find that several goals are at play with content strategy, and they walk a similar line to those of a sales or marketing strategy. Such an objective requires an immense amount of analysis, as the target readers have needs, wants, and even perceptions that the content is intended to appeal to. 

Content strategy must consider the readers on all levels, as failure to do so may result in all or a part of the message being lost in transmission. 

Copywriting Vs. Content Writing

Another common misconception is that copywriting and content writing are the same process. Believing this may lead you to hire a copywriter for content writing purposes or vice versa. Failure to make this distinction only constitutes a mistake in one direction. A content writer can be an excellent copywriter, but it rarely, if ever, works the other way around. 

So, where do the two differ? The answer to this question lies within the intended purpose of each discipline.

First, there is the matter of copywriting. There’s a sense of selling that’s associated with the purpose behind creating the copy. You could be selling a thought, an ideology, a brand, or even a pleasurable idea. When successful, copywriting should bring the brand identity across well by combining it with the desired feelings surrounding it. It has an advertorial nature aimed at turning over sales by successfully pitching products or services through mental appeal. 

It’s a much more indirect process than sales, as you are not selling the product through highlighting its advantages or features directly. Instead, you are evoking certain feelings and putting ideas in a positive light that motivate sales through introspection. The resulting copy tends to read very well and is intended as achieving a short term goal.

Content writing, as stated before, has the end goal of creating high-quality pieces. It has one or more objectives at play, but these are achieved through delivering educational, valuable information to the readers. There’s no advertorial style or intention here, as it aims to provide value through solid planning, monitoring, management, and eventual writing. 

The goals behind content of this nature tend to be much more long-term. It’s less about selling a persona or idea and more about communicating useful information with potential customers. Organizational and strategic objectives come into play here, as the writing style must seamlessly align with these. 

Think about generating interest through understanding, and you’ve thought about how content writing operates.  

There are also some other telltale signs that you can look for, which often indicate that one is at play. Since copywriting is meant to be persuasive, it must be as concise as possible.

If not, the target audience may lose interest, and the intended mental effect becomes lost in transition. Therefore, the techniques used are intended to command attention quickly and effectively. 

Since content writing lacks this objective and aims to be more informative, it’s most often the longer of the two. For a discipline that intends to get useful information to readers, the more that can be provided, the better. 

It stands to reason then that the amount and type of research that goes into each can also differ significantly. 

Both disciplines require a functional understanding of a target audience. However, since one uses a less substantial informational method in its style, there must be a greater understanding of how people think and the best way to “manipulate” that thought process. 

As far as content writing goes, the understanding of the audience only serves to indicate what may constitute a valuable read. Additionally, the concepts related to the topic, statistics, scientific evidence, etc., may be brought into the content writing equation for a more sound informational outcome. 

Content Writing Examples

So, where are you likely to see content writing in its purest form? Some of the more established alternatives are: 

  • Radio
  • Television
  • Social media
  • Books
  • Email
  • Magazine features
  • Blog posts
  • Newspaper articles
  • Films
  • Whitepapers
  • Newsletters
  • E-books
  • Print magazines
  • Podcasts 

This listing constitutes famous examples, and it is far from exhaustive. It’s meant to give you an understanding of the wide-reaching and diverse extent of content writing. A movie script can fall under the content writing umbrella, but so can the most well-researched and scholarly article.

Content Writing Courses

It’s impossible to deny or even ignore the importance of good content, primarily in a digital age, such as this one. There is so much that companies and private individuals can achieve through stellar content writing, but it does require a level of understanding, talent, and practice. 

Millennials have gravitated to content writing as a career, and it often requires distance learning. A passion for the discipline is not enough to pull it off, but a few fantastic learning experiences go a long way in filling the knowledge gap. 

Here are some online courses that have done a tremendous job in molding various content writers:

  • Skillshare’s Become a Better Blogger – This course, presented by Corgibytes’ CEO and co-founder Andrea Gaoulet, has amassed tremendous popularity for several reasons. Blogging is a popular content writing area, which requires consistently delivering compelling content to keep readers interested. The video learning package helps you to not only start your blog, but it also ensures you also learn the tools necessary to maintain attention from your followers. 
  • Udemy’s SEO training – Search Engine Optimization is all but a staple in reliable content. It’s best to wait until you have mastered other writing skills before taking this course, but you can create content that ranks highly in internet searches once you do. Meeting SEO requirements is non-negotiable for the best of content writers, and taking this course is one way to get to that level.

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