This is the second part of our series on how to kick-start your content writing journey. While Part One dealt with the fundamentals of content writing, this instalment focuses on how to sharpen your writing skills and make yourself more employable.
8. Showcase yourself better
It is always better to start applying to content writing gigs after you have a few content pieces under your belt. This way, you will be able to showcase yourself better and convey to potential clients or recruiters that you can actually do the job, and do it well.
Here’s a 6-step plan that you can follow to ensure you go about it in the right manner:
a. Create an online writing portfolio
Use online portfolio builders for the same. Having a fully fleshed-out content writing portfolio can significantly improve your chances of getting hired/selected for the gig. It builds credibility, establishes trust, and gives them a glimpse of your capabilities.
b. Optimise your professional profiles
People will review your profiles on platforms such as LinkedIn and TapChief before the selection process starts. So, have a professional-looking display picture, fill out all the necessary details (summary, experience, contact details), add links to your work, add recommendations, and so on.
c. Learn how to write project proposals
If you are planning to become a freelance content writer, you will have to write these documents. Ideally, a project proposal should provide an outline of the problems you have identified and the proposed solutions, a plan of action, a timeline, your budget requirements, and much more.
d. Gain work experience
Reach out to local businesses and NGOs, find out if they have content writing requirements. Work with them for free, but in return, ask for referrals and testimonials.
e. Contribute guest posts
No matter which domain you are in, there are a lot of online publications which accept guest posts. All you have to do is search for your area + “write for us”. Guest posts will help you build credibility and gain visibility.
f. Start applying to content writing jobs
Firstly, sign up to various online job boards such as Monster, Naukri, Angellist, Internshala, and freelance platforms like TapChief. Then, search for relevant content writing jobs or projects, and start applying for them.
9. Be kind and gentle to yourself
As a content writer, you will have to meet deadlines, ensure your tone and voice matches clients’ target audience, write helpful and unique content, and impress your clients too. Moreover, you will have your own standards to meet. Due to this, it is very easy to feel pressured.
Pressure is good; it keeps you focused. But, when it becomes too much, it shackles your creativity and productivity. You start overthinking and overanalysing. Often, you will end up being too hard on yourself and questioning your own abilities. It reduces your effectiveness.
So, be gentle with yourself. For instance, if you are facing a writer’s block and unable to get into the flow, you need to accept it first. Every good content writer goes through such patches. Take a step back, analyse your mental state, find out what triggered it, and what you can do in the meantime. Cursing yourself will do you no good.
Content writing is a creative task and not a mechanical one. So, instead of putting yourself under more pressure, be kind and understanding, and work your way out of it.
10. Seek help from content writing pros
You can share your final draft with your friends and family, but is that enough? Not really.
Although they may be kind enough to read through and offer you their opinion, it could be biased and sometimes, uninformed.
This is not a great idea when you are learning on the job. Your editor will surely find more mistakes or errors than all of them put together. And you will end up getting an earful.
So, get help from the pros. There are many online and offline support groups for content writers where you can get informed feedback on your work. You can also use networks like Twitter, LinkedIn and Reddit to interact with experienced content writers. Make sure you establish a rapport before you seek help.
Also, you can sign up on TapChief. We enable you to reach out to experienced content writers and editors and get them to mentor you.
11. Become a better reader
All the best content writers out there are voracious readers. The more you read, the more you’re exposed to high-quality writing.
Soon, without realising it yourself, you will start internalising the elements of the text, and you’ll slowly find yourself implementing them in your writing.
More importantly, it will help you learn and understand different angles in which you can approach a topic, how to frame your story, how to maintain your flow, how to develop new ideas, and so much more.
12. Pickup allied skills
As a content writer, if you know image editing, SEO, content marketing, and social media marketing, you will boost your employability. It means you will be able to handle content end-to-end and not just the writing part.
Companies will be able to reduce the amount of time, effort, or money invested. Moreover, social, design and SEO are the three teams you will have to collaborate with. So, having a basic understanding of these areas will help you collaborate more meaningfully.
Here are the things that you should be learning:
- SEO — Learn about keyword optimisation, image optimisation, and internal linking.
- Social media marketing and content marketing — Learn more on content distribution websites, social copywriting, social media content consumption trends.
- Design — Master tools such as Canva, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Premiere Pro, among others.
The bottom line is that you don’t need to be literature or communications graduate to make a career out of content writing. Hard work, smart strategy, and consistency will take you all the way.
For starters, be brave enough to put your work out there. Yes, people will judge your writing. Some may not like it. Some may find flaws in it. But, that doesn’t mean you should quit writing. Instead, keep working at it. Keep learning from the feedback you receive, keep picking up new techniques and tools, and keep pushing yourself.