And, back to technical writers… these writers are methodical and detail-oriented. They will clearly demonstrate your product to non-technical users so they understand its capabilities, whether they are whipping up guides, FAQs, or manuals.
Types of Content Writing
How many types of content are there? The answer is, a lot. From Facebook posts to ebooks to newsletters to websites, content marketing can take many shapes—and so should your content writing! We’re going to take a look at the different types of content writing and how you can improve your content writing skills.
There are a few broad categories and types of writing that you will most likely encounter when embarking on a content writing journey: blogging, copywriting, technical writing, social media posts, and emails.
Creating blog posts is a staple of content writing. Blog posts help to boost your website’s SEO rankings, since search engines reward websites that are constantly putting out new content. You’ll want to identify different keywords to include in your posts so that when people search for them, your blog pops up first. That requires some research to understand the language your ideal customers use when searching for answers to their questions. Blogging can cover a wide range of topics and have a variety of writing styles, depending on the topic and brand goals. Typically your blog posts will be more conversational and approachable—the key is to educate, inform, and entertain!
This type of content writing includes things like writing your website copy, product descriptions, sales collateral, advertisements, and focusing on traditional print media (like press releases or print ads) and infographics. This is the nuts-and-bolts type of content writing that often people don’t think about or spend a lot of time on. However, this is an important piece of the content marketing puzzle! You should craft these messages strategically while understanding that these types of written pieces are the foundation of your brand and often the first thing that your potential customers will read.
Technical Writing/Long Form
Technical writing can seem intimidating, but as someone who understands your own business and your own products, this can sometimes be the easiest type of content to produce. From creating white papers to ebooks to how-tos, this is your chance to explain how your product or service works, how your customer can apply it, and educate your audience on the specifics. Keep in mind that you still want this to be approachable—try not to use too much jargon, or explain it if you need to use it.
Social Media Posts
Did you know that over 40% of the world’s population is on social media? There is a huge audience out there and businesses are expected to have a social media presence on the major platforms (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter). Writing for social media means creating relevant, in touch, and platform specific posts. To write well for social media, you need to understand the quirks of each online space—for example, a white paper about your products probably won’t go over well on Facebook, but could be a big hit on LinkedIn.
While email campaigns could fall under the category of copywriting, it is important to think of your emails a little bit differently. With your copywriting pieces, often these are geared towards an audience that is unfamiliar with your brand and the solutions you’re offering. With emails, typically these are your loyal fans and your customers that keep coming back for more. Because these are two different audiences, your approach should be different. It’s important to provide content to your email base that is full of added value to keep your customers engaged and interested.
What skills does a content writer need?
First and foremost, you have to know your company, services, and products inside and out. In order to write good content, you need to know your stuff. Understanding what you’re selling is an important part of being a believable and convincing writer. Everything else can be improved upon. It doesn’t matter where you start, you should always be asking “how can I improve my content writing skills?” The best way to get better is to practice!
A/B testing can help you improve. You can try out two different versions of the same email, send it to different lists, and see which gets more clicks and conversions. Pay attention to what works, and adjust your content writing going forward. The more you practice, the better you will get.
Another key skill is the ability to work well with others. You won’t always be an expert on everything you write about, and in those instances you’ll need to be able to coordinate with subject matter experts to gather insights you can use to fuel your content. Not only is their input valuable, but their feedback is critical; learn to accept criticism on your writing and focus on producing the best end product you possibly can—even if it doesn’t match your initial vision.
10 Types of Content Writers and When to Use Them
What types of freelance content writers do you need? The answer to that question depends on the business goals for the content you want to create. Before you begin hiring freelance talent, define the purpose and goal for each assignment to ensure you attract candidates with the skill sets to match the type of writing required.
You have limited time and resources to see your content vision through. You won the budget battle and now you must assemble a powerful team. You have stories to tell, a brand reputation to protect, sales goals to reach, and a rebrand to finish. And thankfully, you can find a specialized writer to support all of these grand efforts.
What does a content writer do?
A content writer does many things because there are many types of freelance writing niches. Every writer specializes in different areas, bringing unique skills and experiences to the table. But you will also find plenty of overlap across the content types each writer can handle.
1. Blog writer
A blog writer knows how to turn complex topics into warm conversations. They are devoted to making engaging content that performs well. For a single article, they will work four hours on the draft and consider six blog titles along the way. Eventually, the blog writer will settle on a title with the highest click-through potential.
Blog writers use their inquisitive powers to hunt down and source data points that strengthen blog content. If they don’t understand a topic, they know content can’t be faked so they reach out to subject matter experts for support. They also collaborate with influencers and experts to produce interviews or add contributor quotes that bring more credibility to content.
Since a published blog post is ultimately another page on your website, blog writers also tend to have SEO expertise. If scoped into the project, some blog writers will perform keyword research and optimize the content. Others will take direction from your overarching SEO strategy. A skilled blog writer always integrates keyword phrases appropriately without sacrificing the integrity of the content.
2. Brand journalist
A brand journalist is a natural-born storyteller and they don’t rest until they find their story. These writers are more extroverted by trade and they feed off the energy of their interview subjects. They will send cold outreach emails and follow up with phone calls to see the story through.
Brand journalists make excellent brand ambassadors. Whether they are writing press releases or customer stories, they will show your brand in a positive light. They understand the fragility of a brand’s reputation, so it is in their nature to regularly fact-check data and quotes before anything is published.
A brand journalist excels at long-form content and human interest pieces that are pitched to third-parties for media or publication placements. They also have a knack for writing highly compelling headlines that drive click-throughs and shares.
A copywriter is agile, able to switch their creative brain fluidly between an impressive range of topics and projects. They get how to connect blocks of information so the reader finds ease in even the most complex digital journey.
They simultaneously speak the language of your brand and your customer. From product descriptions to website pages, copywriters cobble together experiences with every sentence. Copywriters are curious and analytical, so expect to provide details and data to help them craft messaging strategically.
A ghostwriter is a chameleon, so skilled at their writing craft that they shapeshift into the dedicated voice that belongs to both brands and people. Ghostwriters fill content resource gaps when your organization does not have the bandwidth, the skills, the motivation — or all of the above.
This writer churns out articles for various team members and thought leadership pieces for your CEO. They take on the ebooks and white papers your team has been unable to produce all year due to time constraints. A ghostwriter has a good bedside manner as they are used to asking people in-depth personal and professional questions to capture expertise, stories, and tone.
5. Technical writer
A technical writer is frequently confused with a tech writer, but their skills are distinctly different. A technical writer is an ace at making highly technical content easier for others to understand. They provide in-depth explanations of technology — how to use it, how to build it, the processes, the components, the inner workings, and the mechanics.
A tech writer doesn’t get into the nitty-gritty of product specs and details. Instead, they write about technology in a broader sense and usually the application of technology. To see tech writers in their natural habitat, go to TechCrunch.