Content writing careers in India: The ultimate guide

Posted By vLEAD

Do you know who this is?

But maybe before knowing his name, you would be intrigued to hear that he is making a whopping ₹ 22 Lakhs per month.

Now, most people would think that Harsh is a corporate executive or an investment banker, who works 14 hours a day sitting glued to his computer on a hefty office chair with a lot of stress to bear and no time to spare.

And they are in for a surprise, when they hear that Harsh made this money just by writing content. Isn’t it fantastic? Making 22 Lakhs per month just by writing content.

You see, if you have a passion for writing, then that’s a cause to celebrate. You have a better chance of becoming rich than most people.

What is beautiful about writing content is that you get the chance to build a huge business right from the comfort of your home after work, during your afternoons and weekends.

What is Content Writing?

According to Study.com “Content writers are professional writers who produce engaging content for use over the Internet which includes articles, blogs and other forms of written Web material.”

Simply put, ‘content’ is anything that you write online in order to catch people’s attention and through that make them buy from you.

It has undoubtedly become the most prominent marketing tool for businesses who are trying to increase their brand value and thereby generate more customers.

And statistics show that nearly 70% of customers learn about businesses from an article as opposed to an advertisement.

Earlier, before the evolution of social media when content writing was more of a one-way communication, it was much easier. But now with the changing equations, ‘content’ had to evolve and has been forced to become more conversational.

Some popular forms of content writing are:

  • Blogging
  • Writing white papers
  • e-books
  • Newsletters
  • Promotional mails (content for email marketing purpose)
  • Social media management and promotion
  • Brochures
  • Flyers

When you think of examples of content marketing done right, HubSpot is a perfect one. They leveraged the power of content by:

  • Creating detailed blogs on the issues and topics that their visitors are interested in
  • Providing content upgrades like eBooks in their blogs
  • Introducing Inbound.org, an educational and content sharing hub which provided a great platform for them to promote their partnership and certification programs.

This helped HubSpot to grow into a multi-million dollar company.

Scope of Content Writing

In India, we are in the middle of a start-up boom. With the government policies becoming more and more conducive for start-ups, a large number of new companies are popping up in all parts of the country.

 

The QoQ trends indicate that the number of tech start-up funding deals in Q1 2018 has risen by 42% when compared to the previous quarter.

 

For these start-ups and other businesses (may be large or small) to grow their business, they need more online exposure and this is where content writers come into play.

The importance of content for businesses is emphasised by recent statistics.

For content marketing in India and the world, sky is the limit. People, search engines and most importantly Google is on the lookout for great content.

According to Google, content is one of its top two ranking factors. The more amazing content you create, the higher the chance you have of bringing in new traffic and leads from organic search.

The only way that people will discover companies from organic search (from a non-branded search) is through content.

For example, if you are a medical firm without a strong brand presence looking to drive internet traffic, you’ll need to produce content that users are searching for.

You could publish an article on “Pain in the Hamstring? Here’s What You Need to Know”.

Blog contents like this can drive inbound traffic to your website that you don’t have to pay for.

According to HubSpot, companies that post 16+ content pieces per month drive much more traffic than those that don’t:

Posting 16+ times per month not only drives traffic to your website, but it also increases the number of leads you get:

The more blog-based content you have, the more indexed pages on Google you have. Combine the two, and you have a lot of chances to get someone to visit your site

As you see, content is in very high demand and thus the opportunities and prospects for a content writer is also tremendous.

Who can become a content writer?

Any one can write content. But becoming a good content writer, that’s no easy thing.
And all content marketers would unequivocally agree that you have to go way beyond “good” with your content if you want to grow your business in today’s information flooded world.
So what are the factors that differentiates a good content writer and an epic one?
But first let’s break it down a little bit.

What Is Epic Content?

According to Neil Patel “Epic content is a content that makes people stop whatever they’re doing to read, share, and link to it. It’s the type of content you shout about. It’s insanely useful, inspiring, beautifully written, and highly engaging.”
Creating epic content is by no means a trivial task. Around 87% of content writers still fail to produce content that attracts their buyers.
Looking at seasoned content writers like Jon Morrow is one way to learn content writing.
Jon Morrow is undoubtedly a master content crafter.
He grew his blog to a six digit (dollars) income source just with the power of his voice. Jon is paralyzed from the neck down.
Just by looking at his writings, one can easily learn what it takes to write awesome engaging content.
For example, take a look at this intro.

As you see, he starts off with a very exciting introduction that invokes curiosity and makes the readers want to stick with him. The curiosity gap that has been built is then followed up with actionable content.
Most people make a decision whether a post is worth reading from its first few sentences. It’s very important to communicate with the readers what you will discuss and why they should care in the very beginning of the post.
Let’s look at another post by Jon.

What makes this introduction really good is that it starts off with a claim that inspires and resonates with people.
Just think, almost everyone would have thought of quitting their job and moving to a tropic paradise at one point or the another in their lives.
We’d all love to do it, but we get scared or find other reasons not to.
So when you read the title of the post, what comes to your mind is:
Oh man! How did he do that?
According to JointViews.com, the important attributes of quality content are:
Simple and understood by the people. A good content writer explains even the most complex concept in a lucid style.
Credible – All information must be factually correct and free of any plagiarism. Sources of all statistics and data must be given.
Interesting – It must grip the audience and command their attention
Personalized – Content is always directed towards a target audience. The content must represent the brand it speaks for and speak directly to the visitors.
Engaging – Audience engagement is measured by shares, likes and comments on the post. For this the content must be valuable to the readers and worth sharing with their friends who have similar interests.
Another way to learn is by reading a little deep into how you can create good content. Some good articles to start with are:

Although there is no hard and fast rule in categorizing content and lot of these ‘categories’ are used interchangeably, following are some of the broad categories of content that are usually required by almost all kinds of businesses with an online presence.

Blogging

Without blogs, it is hard – if not impossible –  to succeed at content marketing. And every blog that is successful is built on a solid foundation of content.
Blogging is an inbound marketing strategy that truly works. Through blogging, you can generate more qualified leads. Statistics say that you can acquire 126% more leads if you blog continuously.
What is great about blogging is that it generates three times the leads from traditional marketing techniques, while costing around 62 percent less58 percent of marketers agree that “original written content” is more effective than visuals and videos.
A very important thing to consider when writing on web is the attention span of the readers. The consumer attention span is getting increasingly shorter with the rise in mobile phone usage.
You might be surprised to hear that according to a Microsoft study, the average human attention span has reduced to 8 seconds, which is 1 second shorter than that of a goldfish.
Therefore it is increasingly important that the content you present is easily understandable and relevant to the target persona. You should structure the content properly using italics, bolding, and bullet points to highlight the most important sections.
It goes without saying that writing a compelling blog post that can drive traffic and generate leads is no simple task. Maybe, you can easily come up with a 500  words generic blog that will have no impact on any search query need, let alone make your business grow – and surely that is not what anyone is trying to create.
Irrespective of the industry you are working in, a WordPress blog can be easily set up and you can start creating high-quality content. But, for ranking well in Google and driving leads, you need to do more. A system that is implementable on a consistent basis is needed which can help you build your brand, influence your target audience and grow your search engine rankings.
When it comes to blogging and ranking high on Google, Neil Patel is the best person you can learn from.
He is the co-founder of Crazy Egg, Hello Bar and KISSmetrics. He has helped companies like Amazon, NBC, GM, HP and Viacom grow their revenue. He was recognized as a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 30 by President Obama and one of the top 100 entrepreneurs under the age of 35 by the United Nations.

His blog neilpatel.com gets a monthly average visitors of 1.1 million.
It’s an interesting story how Neil Patel entered into marketing. At the age of 16, he created his first website and paid a few marketing firms to help him out, but they provided no results and took all of his money.
He was left with no choice but to learn marketing, and he eventually got good at it.
You can go through his blogs where he explains step-by-step on how to create a blog and rank them high on Google.

Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization or SEO is a term you need to get very familiar with, if you want to write content on the web.
To get a basic understanding of SEO, you need to know what happens when a search query is entered into Google and you hit enter. How does it then show a set of websites that are in relevance to your query?
A multitude of factors work behind a search engine’s algorithm, when that “search” is made. And here’s how a group of experts ranked their importance:

SEO means enhancing the effectiveness of your content, so that it ranks higher than content from other sites that target the same search keywords. Through that, you will be able to increase the number and quality of visitors to your website.
Let’s go a bit deeper into some of the most important factors about SEO

  • Quality of traffic. You see, if you are a local boutique owner in Kolkata and all the internet traffic your site is able to drive is from Bangalore, then its not quality traffic and is not useful at all. Rather, what you want is to attract users who are really interested in your products.
  • Quantity of traffic. If you are getting the right people clicking through from your search engine results pages, then higher the traffic the better.
  • Organic results. With proper SEO, you are generating organic traffic and you don’t have to pay for that in contrary to using Ads to reach your targeted Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).


Why is SEO so important?
Well, there are about 2.66 million blogs being published every day, just on WordPress. That translates to 24 blogs every second.
This just includes the ones from WordPress, if you are to count all blog posts, then the number is sure to shoot up.
And that makes standing out very tough. But there is no other go if you want your blog to become a successful one.
According to recent research, almost 95% of clicks are captured by the websites on the first page of Google, and in that the results that appear higher up gets a higher click through rate (CTR) and more traffic.

How to do SEO?
According to SocialSamosa, Google displays web pages in their search results based on the brand authority and relevance. Now let’s see how authority and relevance is measured by Google.

  • The relevance of your page is determined by analysing its content using several factors like where and how often some specific words are used in your piece of content.
  • The authority is measured by the number of links pointing to the page and how credible these links are.

Step by step, SEO is when:

  1. First, you research keywords.
  2. Then choose a specific keyword.
  3. Write content based on that keyword.
  4. The content is then read and shared by other people on Facebook, Twitter, their own blogs and other social media platforms.

For learning more about SEO, some good articles to start with are:

Social Media Content Writing

The power of social media is just enormous. Today, social media has got to such a stature that it can even turn elections on its own (Hope you have heard about the whole Cambridge Analytica fuss and how it pulled Facebook into a web of troubles).
From its very inception, social media has kept growing and growing. In the second quarter of 2017, Facebook has crossed 2 billion monthly active users. And other social media platforms have also reached their all-time high user numbers.

More than 50 million small businesses use FB pages to connect with their customers (Source: Facebook).
What makes social media special for brand promotion is that it promotes relationships rather than relying on one way communication as in traditional media.
Once you are able to create a loyal audience for yourself, after that marketing to them repeatedly becomes cheaper and easier than ever before.
And many a time, brands use humour to attract people on social media.

For a person who wants to be successful on social media, then Gary Vaynerchuk is surely one of the best persons to learn from.
He has a huge presence in almost all social media platforms. He owns one of the largest media agencies in the world and has authored 3 NYTimes best sellers out of which two solely focus on how to effectively use social media for business.
His success on Twitter and the 1.64 million followers on the platform he has amassed can be attributed to his intelligent use of wit and the way he engages with lots of people individually.
And an ever active #askgaryvee show which publishes on every working day of the week has made him a dominant force in YouTube as well.
And, of course, can you call anyone a social media star if they haven’t made a name for themselves in Facebook and Instagram! Our friend Gary is on song there as well with 2.5 million likes on FB and 2.8 million followers on Instagram.
Watching him closely can help you master the art of social media.
If you are to learn just one thing from him, it would be that content follows context.
He often says “Content is king, but context is god”. He means that paying attention to the context of each individual social media platform is the key to make you a success there.
May be you have got a great joke with you, but if you are going to place it somewhere in the depths of a 2500 word blog, not many people would see it. But if you tweet the same joke on Twitter, it might just kill it. And you see, no one is on Facebook for long content. That domain is served by blogs and YouTube.
Watching Gary’s YouTube talks about using social media can help you learn a lot.
But there are other masters around as well, who can help in your journey towards becoming a “social media great”. Here are a few resources that you can start off with.

Content writing on Facebook
Facebook when it started in 2004 had just a handful of Harvard students as its users. But now it has become an epitome of sorts for what “exponential growth” is and currently it has more than 2 billion users monthly from across the world.
The reason why marketers love Facebook is because it offers them the most effective and easy methods to target thier ads and the most statistical insights. You would be surprised at how specific and at what level targeting can be done on Facebook. Think about selling your series of baby products to a mother who has just delivered, Facebook has got it covered for you.

With this level of targeting, writing content that interests your target customers is your key to success on Facebook. Just think about this, the content that you need for a 45 year old school principal won’t be the same as the one you need for an 18 year old teenager who is just about to enter college. So what matters the most is your target persona.
In Facebook, there is no limit to the type of content that you can use. But what matters is how curated your posts are, for the Facebook fabric.
Here are some additional reads for you on Facebook marketing:

The Instagram story
Instagram, the newest entrant into the billion users club is one of the most popular social networks in the world and is second only to Facebook and YouTube. The increasingly attractive visual appeal and the ease of use makes Instagram a favourite marketing tool for small and large businesses alike.

You may be wondering why a content writer needs to care about a platform that is purely visual.
Well some may be surprised to know that written word has a big place in Instagram.
One of the most frequently used hashtags on Instagram is #Quotes. Motivational quotes are an easy way to drive emotion.
Connecting instantly to your customer’s emotions is what will help you get all those shares, likes and comments.

And now comes the most important aspect of “content” on Instagram – Caption.
Yeah, that 2200 characters, ’emoji’fied , hashtag loaded caption! That is where you get to inject that much needed context, engross your customers with flashes of your brand’s personality, take out your arsenal of engaging humour, and call people to take the action you need them to make (maybe buy your product or visit your website).

If you are in need of more tips, here are a few articles that can help you get going:

Technical Writing

Technical writing is any written form of writing or drafting technical communication used in a variety of technical and occupational fields, such as computer hardware and software, engineering, chemistry, aeronautics, robotics, finance, medical, consumer electronics, and biotechnology.
A technical writer communicates in a way that presents technical information so that the reader can use that information for an intended purpose. Technical writing has a clear, direct and neutral style. The writing should present the information in the most professional and accessible way possible.
Having a degree in the field of technology that you are dealing with is not a definite requirement in many cases, but it certainly does help. There are organizations like TWIN that you can be a part of to help you get started in your technical writing career.
There are also several private providers of certifications, like Technowrites, and it becomes necessary for you to explore your options and to get in touch with these providers to understand what exactly they are offering you.

I want to be a content writer. How should I start?

Learning to write content is a little like swimming; you can read books on how to swim (or read articles telling you how to write a blog post) for months, but nothing can prepare you for the real thing like jumping into that pool and finishing your first lap to the other side.

You need no tools or expensive things to get you started. You just have to market yourself and find a client or two.
Remember that knowing everything at the start itself is not required at all. You can research and figure things out as you go along.
And there are plenty of websites where you can find freelance content writing jobs and opportunities.
Some useful resources that can help you are:

Future 

The way people consume content has seen an overhaul in recent times with an increasing preference towards visual content. Rather than text, people want more videos and infographics. It is not at all surprising to see that YouTube has become the second largest search engine in the world with more than 100 million searches a day. And when it comes to shares on social media, Infographics scores three times more than textual content.
And therefore it is no surprise to see that a lot of blogs want to shift to podcasts and short videos. But here also, just the mode of presentation changes and the “content” still needs to be developed by able content writers.
But having an outlook and background in video production and storyboarding can definitely help.

Artificial Intelligence

When someone says AI is the future, they are just being too naïve. Rather AI is the present. Check out this article which says that 25% of the current jobs in digital will be made redundant by AI in the future.
Now we have software like Spin writer, Article Builder, Article Chief, Instant Article Wizard, etc which can write content using cutting edge AI. These software are capable of creating “totally new content” that will be seen as unique by a search engine’s algorithm.
But you might argue that these software can only be used by websites who want “bulk content” and when something “creative” is required, there is no other go but rely on “human writers”.
Now let me tell you something, only a person living in a fool’s paradise would think that machines will never be able to do anything as creative as writing. Just consider this, IBM has a cooking app “Chef Watson” which is able to create completely unique cooking recipes on its own based on its awareness of which chemical compounds work well together. How’s that for “creativity” from a machine?
Also check out the website AI writer which proudly announces “Just feed our AI Author a headline, and it will do all the research and writing for you. Yes, it’s really that simple!”

Instead of getting depressed or giving up you should think about how you can evolve as a content writer. It might not be a surprise at all if AI starts to take over even creative content writing jobs in the near future.
So how to tackle this? The only solution you have is to step up your game.
You see, machines can only create content based on strategies that are defined and designed by humans. So the writers of content have to grow in their capabilities to become creative content strategists and storytellers in such a world.
Having a keen eye for trends and becoming a strategist than a mere content writer will definitely help.

Bottom line

Content writing as a field has immense potential. It is one of the best options for someone who wants to do a knowledge intensive job that also requires creativity. The problem is that many content writers don’t take their profession seriously and waste their time by reducing it to merely achieving targets like meeting word counts. One thing that you have to keep in mind if you are serious about your career is to never use short cuts. And don’t copy and paste directly from others as you will be caught and will have to face serious consequences. Remember that you can become an expert content writer only step by step. But in the long run it is surely going to help you and an expert content writer will always have a shining career irrespective of the growth in the economy.

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