Content writing is the creation of content specifically for internet channels, including blogs, social media, e-commerce sites, and more. In the context of the Web, “content” means information that is targeted towards the interests of a desired audience. Because good content writing can improve search engine optimization (SEO) rankings, reach famous influencers, and otherwise increase the prominence of a brand, content marketing has become an important part of marketing and communications strategy for many companies.
While writing for content marketing is similar to traditional copywriting in advertising, it is different in both form and function. Blogs and other pieces of content writing are often hundreds or thousands of words, and seek to deliver free, valuable content to your audience with a goal of attracting them and ultimately turning them into customers. Copywriting is typically focused on shorter advertisements, webpage design elements, and emails that aim to convince the audience to take a specific action like buying a product or signing up for a mailing list.
Despite these differences, content writing and copywriting both rely on many of the same types of good writing skills. Like copywriters, content writers must be able to write with both creativity and clarity, and they must possess excellent editing skills to meet word counts and keep their finished product focused on the goal. And, in the words of leading content writing site Copyblogger, the top professionals in this field must “combine strategic copywriting with great content to get the best of both worlds”.
If you are a writer interested in working in the world of advertising and marketing, a background in content marketing has become an essential part of the job description in the 21st century. With strong writing and editing skills, this career path can offer you fast-paced and engaging work as well as good pay.
Alternatively, if you have an understanding of how content writing fits within today’s marketing landscape, you may become a marketing research analyst or marketing manager. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, marketing manager jobs pay a median wage of $135,900 per year, and “advertising managers who can navigate the digital world should have the best prospects.”
Yes, you can! Content writing is native to the internet, just like Coursera’s industry-leading online learning platform. With Coursera, you can take courses covering every aspect of the digital marketing world, including content writing, from top-ranked schools like Northwestern University, and University of Michigan. You can even take a course on content marketing jointly presented by University of California Davis and Copyblogger, a leading authority in the field.
Some of the skills or experience you may need to already have before learning content marketing include having the ability to clearly communicate through writing, proficiency working on a computer, and being comfortable researching information on the internet. If you can complete short- and long-term projects quickly, you may already have some of the skills needed to learn content writing. If you have done any copywriting, SEO and keyword research, or marketing, you may already have the experience needed to learn cutting-edge content writing strategies and techniques. In addition, if you have any experience using content management systems or other emerging digital delivery platforms and technologies, you could be well on your way to learning content writing.
There are many career paths for someone who studied content writing, including writing, editing, and content creation for a vast array of online websites. The most common career path for a content writer includes becoming a web content provider for online publications, e-commerce sites, and blogs. Another common career path for someone in content writing is to become a paid social media contributor, better known as an influencer. There are still plenty of traditional career paths for someone in content writing, such as marketing and journalism, but the content will be posted online instead of only published in print.
The topics you can study that are related to content writing may include advanced SEO strategies, social media marketing and management, Google Ads, and Google Analytics. If you are planning to open or run a social media site, blog, or e-commerce site, brand management is another topic to consider studying.
The types of places that hire people with a background in content writing include any company or agency that requires a solid and consistent online presence through online content, also known as campaigns. Places that need content writers can range from hospitals and health care providers to educational facilities, local businesses, and national retailers. Oftentimes, the types of places that hire content writers offer work that is remote because it is done on the internet.