Tag Archives: Content Writer

How to write content for your website without hiring a content writer?

How to write content for your website without hiring a content writer

How to write content for your website without hiring a content writer

I know, such advice isn’t good for my business, but so far I have learnt that people who don’t want to hire a writer won’t hire, and people who do hire a content writer, have a clear idea why they are doing so, and nothing is going to stop them.

Why you need to write content for your website?

Without accessing content, the search engine crawlers cannot figure what your website is about. The search engine crawlers use big data and AI algorithms to make sense of your website. Hence, a few pages and a few blog posts won’t do. They need to access lots of content from your website before they can rank it for the right search terms and keywords. Hence, you need to write lots of content for your website.

Another reason is that your competitors are constantly trying to outdo your content writing efforts. If you publish one blog post, they will gladly publish 10, or if not 10, at least 2-3 blog posts for every single post you publish. Multiply this with 25 competitors that you have and you can imagine how much content is being pumped.

You are constantly catching up. Does it mean it is a no-win game? No. You can outdo your competitors even with less content provided you stick to high quality content. And regularity.

Of course, you also need fresh content to educate your audience and keep people engaged. If you don’t publish fresh content your website becomes stale, and you give no reason to people to come to your website repeatedly. Research has shown that it takes 5-6 visits to the website before people decide to do business with you.

Why do people hire a content writer to regularly publish content?

There are different reasons why people hire a content writer. Some of these reasons are

  • Lack of time: They don’t have time to write by themselves.
  • No writing experience: Writing is a skill that needs to be developed. It is time-consuming. It is an entirely different, dedicated profession.
  • Regularity: For better search engine visibility and user engagement you need to publish content regularly. You need a commitment. It is a separate, stand-alone activity.

How to write and publish fresh content on your website without hiring a content writer

Mind you, in case you don’t want to turn into a full-fledged content writer yourself (leaving your current profession), this is a temporary situation. Maybe you are a startup. Maybe you don’t have enough funds.

The thing is, right now you cannot offer a good compensation to a content writer. But, as your business grows, as your needs to get higher search engine rankings and higher visibility grow, you will need to hire a professional content writer. So the tips shared in this blog post are only for a temporary situation.

Here are a few things you can do to write and publish content on your website without hiring a content writer.

Regularity and quality are important than quantity

This is something that I keep telling my clients repeatedly: don’t get obsessed about how many words you should write. I’m not saying create 15-word posts, but you don’t always have to aim for 1000 words or 1500 words.

Engagement is more important. Hence, if you have got something important to say and you can say in 400 words, just publish 400 words. Make sure that whatever you are saying is relevant, educational and informative.

Use your subject matter expertise

You already have immense knowledge of your field. If you are an accountant, there are many topics and subtopics you are aware of. If you are an engineer or a software designer, there are many aspects of software design you can talk about (just make sure they are fit for your audience and not for other software designers who may not be your target audience).

Sit someday with an Excel sheet and in one column enter all the topics you can think of. You will be surprised to know how many topics you can come up with.

Interview influencers

Everybody likes to share insights. There must be multiple influencers in your industry. Choose a topic and interview a few influencers on that topic. They will get additional exposure and you will have something to write about.

Prepare a list of questions – 10 or so – and then approach a few influencers and ask them to send you the replies. You can interview them live using Skype or phone (or Zoom) or simply ask them to write down the replies to your questions.

An interview is ready-made content. You just have to prepare questions and the remaining content is provided by the interviewees.

Curate content

Content curation saves people lots of time. It requires some research but if you make collecting and preserving interesting content a habit, it won’t take much time.

While you are browsing the Internet, you keep coming across interesting content based on your industry. Instead of simply reading or viewing and then moving on, save those links. Then every week, compile those links into a single blog post. Write a paragraph and then share the link, for every piece of content. Such curated content is also good for your search engine rankings because concentrated amount of information is available under a single link. Google algorithms like such links.

Repurpose your existing content

If you don’t want to hire a content writer, this is another way of writing and publishing content on your own. But this requires you to have some existing content. There may be many pages on your website. Your blog may have a few blog posts.

Above I have talked about content curation. This is a subtopic of a bigger blog post that I’m writing right now. I can also create a separate blog post on the importance of content creation. Content repurposing can be done not just for your own website, but different platforms. You can turn your existing blog post into a newsletter issue. You can rewrite an existing blog post by adding some new information and publishing it on LinkedIn. You can write a smaller version on LinkedIn and then put the link to your existing blog post on your website.

Publish guest blog posts

For this your website or blog needs to cross a certain threshold level. People would like to write for your blog or website if they expect good visibility or some SEO benefit. For that, you should have a decent presence on search engines and the guest blog posters must be impressed enough to approach you to write for your website. This takes initial hard work.

On an average I get 2-3 queries from different guest posters expressing their desire to write on my website. Although for a few months I haven’t been accepting guest posts (in fact, I’m writing this blog post myself, after many months), I am going to leverage this opportunity in the coming months so that I can publish content regularly on my content writing blog.

Conclusion

Provided that you are a prolific writer, and you love to communicate through the written word, you don’t ever need to hire a content writer, otherwise, this is a temporary solution.

Why do you need to ultimately hire a content writer? Regularity. Google and other search engines are constantly crawling the web to find new content. They set up a pattern to crawl certain websites and blogs. This pattern depends on the publishing frequency. If you don’t publish regularly their crawlers don’t crawl and index your website in a timely manner.

Although you cannot outdo your competitors (because every other business that offers something similar to your business is a competitor, and there may be hundreds), you can convince search engines that they can rely on you for consistent supply of high-quality content through persistent publishing.

 

7 qualities that make you a great content writer

7 qualities of a great content writer
7 qualities of a great content writer

For the past few months, I have been working on a book on how to build your own successful content writing business, and in one of the chapters, I talk about the qualities that make you a great content writer.

Now, by any stretch, I wouldn’t openly admit that I’m a great content writer, although secretly, I may fantasize about being one. I still need to learn a lot. I still need to polish my skill. There are some awesome content writers on the web who can easily give me a run for my money.

But there is one thing: I can recognize great content. I can recognize content writers who really give it their all. It’s like, even if you cannot perform classical music, you can appreciate the quality and the grandeur.

Simply to be able to write doesn’t make you a great content writer, especially not a professional content writer who consistently gets paid for his or her skills. Below I’m listing 7 skills or qualities that make you a great content writer.

1. You are a writer from within

I recently read a writer saying that the process of writing can make you cry the tears of blood. I wouldn’t go that far, at least not while you’re not writing something to challenge Tolstoy, but writing can be difficult.

For the past couple of months, I have been writing for a company that develops blockchain applications. I’m a tech savvy person but for me this technology is fairly new. I know zilch about blockchain, crypto coins, cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens. Nonetheless, I’m quite satisfied by the work I have done so far. It is difficult. Very difficult. Not because the topic is difficult. Anyway…

What I’m saying is, writing doesn’t always come easy, but still, your basic ability to write must come easy. It should flow. You must be a writer from within. When you are writing on complex topics, only the topic should be complex, not your writing process. Your writing must flow smoothly.

When you see a dancer, you can make out whether she is dancing from within, or simply pretending to be a dancer. The same is applied to your writing skills. You cannot pretend to be a writer or a content writer. You need to be a writer from within. No matter how tough the topic is.

2. You have strong research skills

Whereas you don’t need to be a research scholar in a university to be a great content writer, your basic research skills must be solid. You must be able to find the information that enables you to write content.

Researching doesn’t mean doing a few searches on Google, randomly opening multiple links in multiple tabs and then regurgitating whatever content you come across.

Strong research skills means finding the useful information, grasping it according to your own understanding, compiling it in a logical manner, and then expressing it in your own, distinct language.

Of course, it also means finding the right information. For that you must know what search terms to use. To give you a straightforward example, if you want to find information on content writing, you shouldn’t start your search with “content marketing tips” or “digital marketing tips”, because these topics are quite vast. Learn to narrow down your search and know exactly what to look for.

3. You are comfortable with technology

By “technology” I mean the tools of the trade. It may also involve basic knowledge of hardware and software, especially when you are working as a content writer on your own.

Are you comfortable with all the mainstream word processors? Do you know their basic capabilities? If you’re not happy with your current word processor, can you find alternatives on your own? What about not using a word processor at all (I do that quite often)?

What about curating information? Do you use notetaking apps like Evernote, OneNote, or Google Keep? How do you organize the information that you can find even after two years? Do you use mind mapping tools? Do you know basic image editing using Photoshop or another image editing tool?

These may not be a part of a typical content writers daily routine; they instill a sense of confidence in you. Since as a professional content writer, you will be mostly providing your services on the Internet, you should also be comfortable with the related technologies.

4. You can empathize with people

The Oxford dictionary defines empathy as “the ability to understand another person’s feelings and experience.”

Frankly, if you cannot empathize, forget about being a great content writer, you cannot even be an average content writer.

You will be mostly writing content for businesses. Businesses cater to customers and clients. Through their content (which, they get written from you), they aim to solve their customers’ and clients’ problems. You cannot solve their problems unless you understand what those problems are, how those problems are affecting people, and how important it is to solve those problems. You need to be able to connect emotionally. You need to be able to write passionately and passion comes with empathy, understanding, and acknowledgement.

5. You are completely original

Most of the content writers are not original. They’re simply picking sentences and paragraphs and shuffling words here and there and then passing them on to their clients as original pieces. This is mostly junk content.

To be a great content writer you should be able to write original content. By original what I mean is, whatever you write, comes from you.

Of course, the information may not be original. Even the facts that you may be using in your writing may not be original because you will be taking them from other sources.

But how you present those facts and thoughts in your own unique manner, will be original. This is what is valued by clients. Most of the clients who respect their businesses know how difficult it is to publish original content and that’s why they value content writers who can write original content.

6. You can write in an engaging manner

People should want to read what you write. If you simply drone, nobody is going to read. You must write engagingly. You must directly talk to your reader. The excitement must rub onto your reader. If you don’t feel excited about what you’re expressing, believe me, people will get bored and disinterested in your proposition.

How do you write engagingly?

Have a conversation with your readers. Present information in short, digestible bites. Strategically use single words. Use a mix of short and long paragraphs. Ask questions. Instill doubt. Alarm them. Invoke a sense of urgency. Reassure them. Make them feel as if someone is sitting right in front of them and talking to them.

7. You don’t just write for money

There are many content writers who approach me and when I suggest that they should hone their skills by writing regularly even when they are not getting paid, they don’t pay attention. They want to spend their time writing only when there is a prospect of being paid.

Consider any art, or even any sport. If you are an athlete, do you practice only when a major event is approaching, or do you practice every day even when no one is there to appreciate your effort?

If you are the singer, do you sing only when you have an audience in front of you, or when you are being paid for your talent, or do you practice every day? Can you even sing at the performance level if you don’t practice every day? Fat chance.

Nonserious content writers think that since they know how to write, they will be able to write whenever they are offered a paid assignment.

A great content writer knows that just like any other skill, writing skills must be honed daily. You must write everyday whether you’re being paid or not. Whether you want to write or not, you must write because you know this is a skill that you value from your heart.

Writing should be a labor of love, not a forced occupation. If you cannot write without getting paid, you won’t be able to write better when you are being paid.

As you have read above, being a great content writer doesn’t mean that you simply need to write impeccable sentences and paragraphs and you should be able to use grandiloquent words and phrases. You can write very short sentences. You can use very basic words. Still you can be a great content writer if you empathize with your readers, write in a conversational manner, are able to find the right information, and can use the appropriate technological tools.

What differentiates a great content writer from an average content writer?

Difference between a great and an average content writer

Difference between a great and an average content writer.

Someone asked this question on Quora but since I have already answered 2 questions (my daily target nowadays) I thought I’d provide the answer on my own blog.

What are the attributes of a great content writer?

I will use a politically correct pronoun “she”.

When someone talks about “great content writer” I assume what she means is, a content writer who does her job well. She may or may not be experienced, but she delivers.

She delivers on the front of quality and relevance. She expresses well through her writing. She can write forcefully without intimidating the reader.

Below I’m listing some attributes of a great content writer.

Takes initiative

A great content writer takes initiative. What do I mean by initiative?

She goes beyond the brief provided by the client. She uses her own brain to figure what may work and  what may not work for her client.

She does research independently. She finds data from credible sources. She uses her judgement instead of completely depending on her client’s input.

Takes a stand

She should be able to take a stand.

I will give you my example. Sometimes I disagree with my client.

My client knows her subject. For example, if my client is a lawyer, she knows more about law than I do. But I know more about content writing than she does. She has hired me not to write how she wants me to write, she has hired me because I can write the way she cannot, but she needs to.

Therefore, once she has given me the brief, I don’t want her to dictate every sentence I write. A great content writer knows when to take a stand or put her foot down.

She is not simply a stenographer. Above all, before a content writer, she is a writer.

Has a passionate writing voice

If you don’t feel excited, nor will your readers.

Whenever new writers approach me for work, this is the first trait I look for: the sample that they have sent me, have they written like a writer or like a content writer desperate to impress?

A great content writer gets emotionally invested in the project. You are passionate when you are emotionally invested.

I won’t go to the extent of calling myself a great content writer (I leave that conclusion to my clients), but when I’m writing, I’m writing with the good of my client in my heart. This makes me passionate. And this passion quite often resonates through my writing. I am not saying that it happens always, but most of the time, it does.

Knows why the client has hired her

Why does a client hire me?

The macro reason is that she wants to grow her business. This is the ultimate goal of every entrepreneur. By the end of the day, you need more buyers, you need more subscribers, you need more paid users.

The micro reasons might be that she wants to improve her search engine rankings, boost engagement on your social media profile, increase conversion rate on her website and improve user experience.

She may also want to improve the click-through-ratio on the web pages where she wants the visitors to download her e-book or subscribe to her newsletter updates.

My every sentence must contribute towards that. I don’t want to impress. I don’t want to prove what a great a writer I am. She is not paying me for that. She is paying me to write content that helps grow her business in whichever applicable manner.

Does it mean I don’t seek praises? I definitely do; I like it when a client says that I have done a great job. But every client knows that this “great job” doesn’t mean that I have written like Haruki Murakami or Tolstoy. It means I have written in a manner that contributes to her business.

Hence, a great content writer walks the extra mile and makes sure that she is writing content that serves the purpose.

Isn’t obsessed with money

I know money matters, but a great content writer, once she starts the work, isn’t bothered much about whether she is being paid for 200 words or 500 words. She is not insecure in that sense. She is more worried about writing what needs to be written.

This is something I have observed in many writers I have worked with. They are constantly worrying about how much they are writing and how much they are being paid.

I’m not saying that they should leave themselves open to exploitation, but it isn’t going to harm them if instead of 500 words (which they are being paid for) they’re writing 700 words and they are not being paid for the extra 200 words.

Just yesterday a client paid me supposedly for 800 words (I’m still in the process of moving from per word to value deliverability) but I wrote 1200 words because the subject demanded that, without expecting to be paid extra.

If a content writer constantly obsesses about money it becomes a vicious loop. Nobody pays you just for the heck of paying — people want value delivery and you cannot deliver value if your need to get paid for every word dominates your power of expression.

Am I saying that you should allow your clients to fleece you? No. When you focus more on value delivery, your clients can’t afford not to pay you.

Writes a lot, in fact, constantly

A great content writer, being a writer first, has this great desire to write continuously. She doesn’t just write when she is being paid for writing. She writes on different topics. She participates in discussions on social networking websites. She blogs regularly. She works at building her network not just for business purposes but also to expand her understanding.

Writing for her is not a chore, it’s an existential craving.

Learns constantly

Learning never stops for a great content writer. I have been writing professional content for 20 years and still I learn something new every day.

I learn new words. I practise using new expressions that I have never used before or have rarely used, or have forgotten.

I make a note of everything I come across. I do all my reading on Kindle reader and Google Play Books so that I can highlight the portions that I may like to use for my own writing.

Whenever I come across a word I don’t know, I make sure I do, and I don’t proceed without that.

I have a huge Word file where I save words, phrases, and sentence formations that I would like to use when writing. I have been updating this file since 1998. I have saved more than 200 phrases in one of my Google keep notes.

A great content writer is constantly learning and never believes that she has learned enough.

Has confidence

A constant desire to learn doesn’t mean that a content writer is low on confidence. Don’t take confidence with a negative connotation. That’s overconfidence.

In fact, just the fact that she knows that she constantly needs to learn more, shows that she is confident.

The more you learn, the more you practice, more confident you get.

Among average content writers I have observed that they are constantly scared of something. They hold themselves back. For them, writing is just a means to make money and if money is not there, writing is not there for them. It is just another occupation.

The problem with writing is that unless you have a passion for it, it doesn’t pay you much. Your lack of interest shows through every word you use, through every sentence you form. If you don’t want to write without getting paid, you are not going to be paid for writing.

This is true for every field except for manual work. In manual work, even if you’re not interested, somehow you can make a living. But when people pay you for your skill & expertise rather than your manual work, you need to have your soul into it.

To sum up, here’s how you can become a great content writer:

  • See beyond the client’s brief.
  • Be passionate about your client’s interests.
  • Learn to research.
  • Always know why you’re writing a particular piece.
  • Polish search engine friendly writing.
  • Learn constantly. On your own. From other writers.
  • Set your insecurities aside.
  • Don’t just write for money.
  • Deliver value more than the number of words.
  • Be passionate about what you are writing.

My personal favorites are, have a strong desire to write, and take pride in the fact that you are constantly improving yourself.

Why I charge what I charge as a content writer

Why I charge what I charge for my content writing services

Why I charge what I charge for my content writing services.

The clients often tell me, “We are a small business, we have a tight budget, so we cannot spend much. But we need good content that is well researched.”

Just imagine, saying the same thing in a restaurant or when you are buying a fridge or a TV.

Anyway, I’m writing this to quickly explain why one shouldn’t hesitate from paying a good writer, especially when you want someone hard-working writer creating content for your website or blog.

Let’s first lay it on the table what you want and what you don’t want.

You want

  • Well-written content to impress, influence and engage your visitors.
  • You want your visitors to get convinced after reading your content so that they become your paying customers and clients.
  • You want authoritative information and data from trusted sources with the links to those sources.
  • You want completely unique content – no copying from other websites and blogs.
  • You want your content to boost your search engine rankings so that your traffic increases and consequently, your business.
  • Delivery based on a schedule.

You don’t want

  • Content written in a sloppy manner.
  • Unoriginal content that is simply a rehashing of content existing on other blogs and websites.
  • Big claims not backed up by authoritative sources.
  • Writing that is full of spelling and grammar mistakes.
  • Google penalizing you for overusing the keywords.

I’m not saying these are unjustified expectations, but just to make it clear, you should know that what you want, what you are paying for, and what you don’t want when you are hiring a content writer.

Now, to get some perspective, kindly perform the following activities:

  1. Start a timer.
  2. Open your email and go to the message/messages where you have explained your content writing requirement.
  3. If there have been multiple communications between you and your content writer, go through the thread.
  4. Open a Word document or go to Google Docs and open a Google Docs document.
  5. Go to Google and do a search on the first search term that comes to your mind in order to find information about what needs to be written.
  6. Open the links in a few tabs.
  7. Start going through the links and make note of things you can use and things you can ignore.
  8. Remember that even to find out what is useful and what is not useful, you must read the whole thing.
  9. Based on all the information you have compiled, start preparing the outline.
  10. Stop the timer.

Please keep in mind that you are in this industry.

For example, if you want me to write content on real estate, you are from real estate and it can be safely assumed that for you, researching information related to your field must be easier.

Also, you can make out what is useful and what is not useful faster compared to a content writer who is not into real estate.

How much time does it take going through email messages, opening a blank document, beginning to research, going to individual links, finding out what to use and what to ignore, compiling the information and creating an outline?

This is assuming you want well-written professional content for your website or blog.

20 minutes? 30 minutes? Even more?

If it has taken you 20 minutes to just go through email messages and preparing the outline based on the links you can quickly find on Google, you can multiply the time by at 3 to get an idea of how much time it is going to take to prepare the first draft of roughly 1000 words.

80 minutes. And this is the minimum amount of time I’m assuming.

So, even if I work very fast, without factoring in revisions and exchanges with the client, on an average, 1000 words take 80 minutes to write.

I’m not factoring in the inherent value that a talented and experienced content writer delivers. It is conveniently assumed to be present. Try working with different writers.

For good writing you need a flow. You cannot be watching the clock all the time. To write well, you must get into the zone.

Clients who have burned their fingers with other writers, who know the value of good content, can understand what I’m saying. Those who haven’t worked with many content writers, won’t understand easily.

As a professional content writer, when I’m delivering you 1000 words, it is not just those 1000 words.

A lot goes into those 1000 words.

If it was just about those 1000 words, any content writer would have delivered them. Many can even deliver them for free.

What is included in these 1000 words?

  1. Years of experience writing for the web as well as search engines.
  2. The talent of a writer who knows how to express and communicate with words.
  3. The ability to write flawlessly.
  4. The ability to organize thoughts in a logical flow – from a beginning to a conclusion.
  5. The ability to write 100% unique content that is optimized for search engines.
  6. Overall, written content your business deserves and you can use to get more business.

Whether you want to accept it or not, it is your written content that gives you a noticeable presence on the web.

Your written content is your voice. It represents you when people visit your website or blog. It convinces people. It tells them why it is worth doing business with you.

They are not just 1000 words.

They are not a mere commodity.

They are the foundation of your business.

This is what you are paying for.

Do you really want me to do a patch-up job?

Finding the right content writer is key to your success

Finding the right content writer is critical to your online success

Finding the right content writer is critical to your online success.

I have previously written on how to find the right content writer for your content writing needs.

In fact, multiple times. This topic is close to my heart. After all, if you are looking for a content writer, you should be able to find me on the web whether it is Google, LinkedIn or any other place.

I was going through my content writing and content marketing aggregation feed and I came across a blog post on another blog on the topic of what to look for when you are looking for a content writer for your business. I was about to start working on a client’s project but then I thought I will quickly post this small update.

Why do I say that finding the right content writer is key to your success?

One, I personally believe in that, and two, many clients who have been working with me for years, believe that without high quality content, they cannot possibly do business on the web.

Whether people find you through Google or they are already on your website, it is the writing that talks to them.

You have higher search engine rankings because of your content – both quality and quantity. You need to be publishing every second day to remain in the SEO reckoning.

You must have high quality content because without high quality content, at least now, after zillions of algorithm updates, you cannot hope to improve your search engine rankings or SEO.

A decade and a half ago you could get away with randomly using keywords and search terms and even use one of those article spinning services to enjoy higher search engine rankings, but not anymore.

Why finding the right content writer is critical?

You need regularity and you need quality. For this you need a dependable, experienced, and of course, proficient content writer.

Hence, a need to find such a writer.

The above-linked blog post makes some suggestions regarding how to find the right content writer. I have already written about the topic multiple times.

My experience with my clients tells me that using freelancing services rarely works. They have burned their fingertips. They have burned their hands. Some have also burned their businesses.

Even doing some research, my experience tells me, helps you little. In fact, there is no foolproof way of finding the right content writer for your needs. It is sheer luck. Yes.

The thing is, lots of factors collectively play a part in deciding who is right and who is wrong. It is not only about being able to write well. You can get thousands of writers who have an awesome writing style.

Professional content writing is about

  1. Understanding your needs.
  2. Understanding the needs of your target audience and writing accordingly.
  3. Being well versed with the technologies involved.
  4. Writing high quality content.
  5. Writing high quality content consistently – if you need to publish 15 blog posts every month, then you MUST publish 15 blog posts every month.
  6. Writing search engine optimized content that is acceptable both to search engines and humans.

This combination is difficult to find. Especially, dependability.

I may be biased towards my disposition, irrespective of whether you work with me or with someone else, instead of working with a content writer through a freelancing website, collaborate with a writer who either has his or her own content writing business (like yours truly) or is employed at a content writing service.

This is because a person who is employed or who runs his or her own business, has higher stakes. He or she has a system because his or her business depends on your level of satisfaction.

Sure, even on freelancing websites there is a rating system and content writers need to gather reviews and feedback from the clients they have worked for, the stakes are much lower when someone solely gets work from freelancing websites.

On the other hand, if someone works on his or her own website and runs the entire business through the website, he or she has a greater stake in maintaining quality, regularity and accountability. Professionalism.