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Tuesday, 3 March 2015

How to start a career in content writing?

When I left my job in Infy I was not very sure of joining a new company in Cochin. At that time my brother asked me, 'can you write content for my websites?'. I was not sure of saying yes to him either. For my only experience in writing was updating my personal blog whenever I felt like it. And writing for websites should be a bigger responsibility. All I have is a B.Tech degree! Had it been a BA in English it would have been easier I felt.

Yet I took it up as a challenge. 'My brother is offering me something means he feels I can do it :-). So I should not worry.' That is exactly what I felt at that time, And slowly I started working on one article after another.

It wasn't as easy as updating my blog. For an article has a proper skeleton without which it will not be interesting to read.


How to write a good article?


The skeleton of a good article has:

1. Title
The title has to be very catchy, so that the reader feels like reading the rest of the article by reading the title. The title should convey what the article is all about in a single line.

2.  Intro
There has to be good introduction para, that arouses the curiosity of the reader further to read. This could be story or a question or your own experience. People like to peep into other's lives. So I feel personal stories are the best intro ever. This article also owns one of them :-).

3. The Content
Then comes the actual content that is really informative. This part has to be engaging well. Asking questions, sharing examples and pictures keeps the reader hooked to the article.

4. Subheadings and Styling
Web content are mostly scanned by eyes than reading word by word. So I have to emphasis the main points with the help of subheading and stylings like bold, italics or underlines. Using lists and bullets can give the article more crisp and clear feel.

5. Sound grammar
Each and every grammatical mistake can actually diminish the credibility of the author. So I have to ensure that the sentences are all grammatically correct and readable. Thanks to the review tool on MS word.

6. Conclusion
Reading an article is a feeling in itself. So the article has to be ended properly. This can be done by summarising the keypoints, and making the reader to take a step ahead.

Of course, most of the skeleton of the article except for 'the content' is actually writer's creation or talent. The content has to be the real juicy stuff of the article. And content cannot be written from air. Thorough research on the topic gives you a fair idea of what all you have to cover and convey.

How to come up with 'the content' for an article?


I and my brother used to brainstorm for what all content to be put in. We used to first list out the keywords and do google on those. The best articles on them were our references. I read those articles one or two times and create a draft of my new article from the information I gained. The draft then went through many self edits and enhancements to be a final draft. This was then reviewed and uploaded. And that is how an article originates on the web.

So this is what a content writer does?


Yes a content writer basically does the same. Some jobs will provide you with the title, keywords and references where as for a few you have to do all the research on your own.

How to get content writing jobs?


As a content writer, you can look for work from any known person who has many ideas but desperate for a writer to give it life, Also freelancing works are available at craigslist, textbroker etc.(Honestly, I have not worked for any unknown person yet due to the fear of not getting any money) But I do know of a few friends who have received payments from unknown clients. You can also look for content writing jobs on job sites like monster.com.

Well it is true that I as a content writer do basically this. But there is one more thing that makes each article read by many. It is something called SEO - 'on-page SEO' to be specific.

Why should a content writer know about SEO?


SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is all about optimising your content so that it is liked by Google uncle. Before I jump onto more of SEO, let me tell you why SEO.

Have you ever wondered what happens to the article that you just wrote? Well, it will get published as a content for some website or blog. I had this idiotic feeling that if I search for that keyword on Google, my article will come up. But it hardly does!

There are thousands of webpages written on the same keyword (few of which were my reference links).  And for my article to come above them all requires it to have that unique content which is not available anywhere else. Well, this is not something that you learn overnight, but takes good amount of time to master, And let me admit, I have not mastered it yet. For me, some comes up where as some obscures into void.

As a content writer, having the basic knowledge of SEO like, using the right keywords, adding the relevant keyword phrases and referring to relevant outgoing links can be an added benefit, These are the basic stuff to start off your content writing career.

So how much money can one expect to earn from content writing career?


You can expect a payment of 30 paise to 1 Rupee per word as a beginner depending on the quality of your writing. For example, I just checked - If I had written this article for somebody it is around 1000 words and would fetch me 500 rupees :-). And one such article per day will give me 15k per month. That too with a time of two to three hours!

Good way to earn money from home right? What are you waiting for? Go ahead and get started!