If you are thinking about a career in journalism or any form of creative writing there are a few things you should know before you start. Understanding modern content writing will not only help you target the right employers for you when searching for a full-time writing job, but it will also ensure you are aware of how to best prepare yourself for your new career. If you have a passion for writing and the ambition to make it your full-time job, there’s no reason why you can’t achieve that if you are talented and, even more importantly, dedicated.
The world of journalism has changed but the way the art is being taught in universities and colleges around the world is struggling to keep up. That’s because the world of business is always moving and evolving. Writing is no longer just about informing and entertaining your audience, the content you write is also used to help businesses, from an online retailer to a major betting app like mybookie, rank highly with search engines and attract new customers.
If you have an image in your head of writing out a gripping news story and submitting it to your editor just in time for the morning edition of the newspaper, it’s best to get that idea out of your head. The printed press isn’t nearly as popular today as it was just a generation ago. Now, information is taken from online articles and social media. To understand how you should write, you must first understand how people want to read.
Get active on social media
The chances are you are already active on social media, but if not, it’s time to get started. Sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are where millions of people find their information. If there has been a major disturbance in a city centre, we no longer switch on the news 24 TV channels. We fire up our Twitter accounts and look for tweets from eyewitnesses or those close to the scene.
If our favourite sports team has just signed a new player that has fans excited, we don’t wait 12 hours on the morning paper printing the story. We want the news now and get it at the club’s Insta page or a respected news website. As with most industries today, speed is king. People want information at their fingertips, and if you are planning on being a writer, you must be able to keep up.
Familiarising yourself with social media shows how the majority of people like to receive their news stories, but it also gives an excellent example of how they like to read. In many cases, social media accounts and news sites are accessed using smartphones and other mobile devices. The small screens and need for speed on the breaking news mean it’s essential to write in quick, snappy sentences and small paragraphs.
Think about a Tweet and its limited number of characters. You want to get as much information across in as few words as possible. Does anyone read a full feature on the latest singer to shake up the charts? No, they prefer bitesize information before going off to research pictures and watch videos of the act.
Google Images Creative Commons Licenses
If you are planning a career in content writing and don’t already know that SEO stands for search engine optimisation, you better prepare for a lot of work as you have plenty of catching up to do.
When writing professionally for a business, the content you produce has two jobs. First, it must entertain and inform the reader, helping a site or app stand out from the competition. Secondly, it is designed to help a page rank high on search engines like Google. Both are as important as each other.
If you are looking to buy a new tennis racquet, for example, you might search for the best affordable tennis equipment. Would you ever look beyond the first page of Google? Not very often. What your SEO optimised content would help do is ensure your employer is as high on the list of results for affordable tennis equipment as possible. This is the case for cooking utensils, cars, garden furniture and anything else you’d buy online.