What Does a Content Writer Do and How Do They Make Money?

This article answers the question: What does a content writer do, and how does someone improve their skills in content writing?

If you are having problems contracting work in your freelance writing business, consider becoming a content writer. Freelancers who develop the skills necessary for content writing can make a very good income.

What is a Content Writer?

What Does a Content Writer Do and How Do They Make Money

Content writing describes the art of producing high-quality, informational articles about a particular topic. 

For example, a content writer can be hired to write blog posts that tell a story about how to transform a room in your home.

Another example of a content writer is someone who can write copy for specific web pages such as a landing page, an “About Us” page, or specific product pages. They may also spend time on website visitor tracking.

The focus of a content writer is to engage your target audience with your topic through the information you write. 

What Types of Writing Does a Content Writer Job include?

Content writers develop writing skills for several types of writing that include:

  • web content
  • social media posts
  • blog posts
  • ebooks
  • white papers
  • press releases
  • books
  • guides
  • product descriptions
  • podcast outlines & scripts

Each of these types requires a specific approach to writing. As a content writer, you can grow your skills in each of these areas, or you can specialize in two or three types to become an expert writer in those particular areas.

How Is a Copywriter Different from a Content Writer?

Copywriting is similar to content writing, but copywriters have a more specific skill set.

  • The purpose of copywriting is to sell a product or a service (whether tangible or intellectual).
  • The purpose of content writing is to inform the reader.

You can read more about what a copywriter does here.

The purpose of this article is to help you understand the skill set a quality content writer has and the types of content he or she creates.

How Are Content Writing and Content Marketing Related?

What does a content writer do
Content writers write engaging articles, guides and more that speaks to a problem or need of a target audience

The goal of content marketing is to increase interest in a product or service without explicitly telling your target audience they need to purchase that product or service. 

Freelancers or professional content writers can walk the line of providing just the right words for growing that interest without saying outright, “You should go buy this now!” In other words, they write engaging content that implicitly speaks to a problem or need the target audience has.

This style of content creation eventually leads the reader toward purchasing a product or service; however, your writing job is to cultivate interest and share information about the subject matter.

Now that you understand the important role of a content writer and the types of writing a content writer composes, the next step is to develop specific skills related to this particular craft. 

The Skillsets of Content Writers 

Obviously, content writers need to do more than be good writers. Not only do you need to understand SEO writing, you also need to know the following:

1. Outlining

Every type of writing requires a map, and an outline provides the way to get from the beginning to the end of your article.

Outlining will place your ideas in a sequential order that enables you to move logically from one important thought to the next.

2. Developing SEO Writing

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Search engines like Google create algorithms that tag certain elements in writing such as keywords, how the content is laid out, and the style used within the content. 

When you use these elements as part of a marketing strategy, your placement on search engine pages increases. The goal is to be placed on the coveted first page, and even then, the higher the placement, the more likely your website will attract visitors. 

How important is SEO Writing? One researcher notes that as many as 90% of searches never go beyond page one. 

Have in-depth conversations with the marketing team to better understand those keywords that need to be emphasized in marketing campaigns. 

3. Creating SEO-Grabbing Headlines

Titles, or headlines, of your writing should be attention-getting, definitely. But headlines should also contain keywords. Search engines pay attention to the keywords in your headlines as much as they do in your writing.

Study the headlines about similar topics on Google. What keywords stand out? Try incorporating these keywords into your own headlines.

Write several headlines before choosing the best that’s both attention-grabbing and full of useful keywords. Here are three examples:

  • 10 Easy Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Website
  • How to Create a Website in A Single Day
  • Try This One Simple Strategy to Lose Weight Quickly

These examples build curiosity, use keywords that relate to the article, and simplify the reader’s life.

4. Becoming Empathetic

Empathy is the ability to understand what another person is thinking or what that person needs. 

Content writers need to know how to place themselves in the shoes of their audience. One way of communicating empathy is by using the Problem-Agitate-Solution framework.

Basically, introduce a problem, talk about why the problem matters, and then provide a solution. This framework provides a great way for introducing your articles, blogs, and podcast or video scripts.

5. Content Repurposing

Good content writers can take one piece of writing, revise it, and present that same information in different ways. Doing so saves time as they aren’t writing new, longer content daily. 

At the same time, repurposing content attracts a wider audience. For example, turning a blog post topic into a podcast will reach someone who will listen to that topic rather than read about it.

Another example is using data from a white paper and creating an infographic that’s more visual. A third possibility is to repurpose a press release into several social media posts.

Maximize the value of your all-important information on a topic by keeping it in front of as many people as possible.

6. Editing and Proofreading

To be taken seriously as a writer, your work should be free from errors. 

Editing is the ability to see your writing in a different light. You imagine how sentences and paragraphs can be made better.

Then proofread your work for mechanical errors. Use a style guide to help, or subscribe to a digital writing assistance tool such as Grammarly.

The Final Word on What Does a Content Writer Do

Business owners and marketing managers don’t want to spend time creating written content. They need someone who can represent the company and at the same time engage readers through the written word. 

A content writer does these things with excellence. In offering the skills with clear understanding and excellent work, this type of writer becomes an invaluable asset to any company. That value translates into income. 

Want more? Check out our guide to content writing practice exercises.

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  • Tammy Tilley has taught Language Arts and college writing courses for over 35 years. She has written for almost as many years, primarily human interest stories for newspapers, magazines, online sources, and for the tourism industry. She makes her home in the Midwest.