I am penning down types of content writing so that it is easier to understand what kind of writer falls in each category. This way it is easier to segregate themselves as per the genre. Since, I do not have experience in every genre, I will appreciate the experts to share their views on their specific areas.
- Technical writing – This writing caters to verticals like consumer electronics, computer hardware and software, aeronautics, robotics, engineering, chemistry and biotechnology. The type of content involves user manuals, user documents, help files, technical modules, admin manuals and other types of technical reports and literature. This field demands a very strong technological blend of mind. Though, often these vacancies are open to everyone but it is preferable that the candidate has technology degree or technology area of specialization. It is a win win story if the candidate is a technology enthusiast and has a broad understanding of this genre. Otherwise, this section of writing is very bland and does not have ‘too exciting’ to offer. As a matter of fact, this vertical is pretty tough for a non technical person to crack, proceed and progress. HR teams and candidates both should proceed very cautiously and make sure that the right selection takes place. A feature writer in this section will turn out to be a complete flop show.
- SEO content writing – Content writing is a part of the entire process of SEO marketing. India is the most blooming market for SEO outsourcing. Almost every second company in Noida belt seems to be one SEO company. Courtesy hard hitting marketing or whatever, the companies manage to earn a good number of projects from US, UK and Australia. Once projects are bagged, there begins a major ‘run for your life’ content writing work. Usually, if there are less projects say 20, the enterprises prefers one writer to take care of them. If the project number is pretty huge like 50 or something, often there is a content team to handle it. The content items are mostly blogs, articles, press releases, classified ads and descriptions. These are keywords based content writing jobs. The topics can be anything like insurance services, tangible products or even teas and Baklava pastries. For example, you could be given keywords like leather bags Ontario, Canada bags etc. SEO executives churn out these keywords and render them to the writers for further content development. Ethically speaking, is it possible to create a proper sentence with a ‘must have’ keyword like ‘Canada bags’? Not really but content writers are struggling everyday to not only commit a grammar sin but also letting their creativity die a slow death. The pain is added by an unreasonable deadline. For instance, you could be asked to deliver 10 blogs with similar keywords on daily basis and failing to do so might put you at a job risk. A content writer turns into a live typewriter. The pressure is so high that often it takes a toll on the writer’s physical and mental health. It is not possible to write 10 blogs (at least 250 words) everyday.
- Editorial and publication based writing – This sector caters to publishing of school, college and higher education based books. I do not have a background in this genre so it is ideal to not speak too much. But still, let me blurt out a little. The vertical has K12 curriculum to take care of and more. With the coming up of technology, writers are required to do editing and writing work for the online version also. For instance, if your work is available for the windows version 7 then after coming up of version 8, you are required to develop the same content for the latest version within a very chronic deadline.
- Marketing and communication writing – One of the most interesting and challenging sectors in the entire content writing league. You have massive opportunities to write about. The writing items include website content, blogs, articles, PPT, social media content, Ebooks, press releases, newsletter, email campaign content, internal & external communications, marketing collateral like brochures and flyers and audio and video content. Entire writing job requires a very targeted strategy. Here, the blog and article writing is different from that of SEO. This sector involves lot of research and communication with team leads. For example, the topic given could be ‘maintenance strategies for IoT in 2016 and beyond.’ This department strongly focuses on taking content marketing to another level. Content writers in this genre should have a marketing blend of mind, an eye for detail both in writing and design, and an ability to create catchy content. The challenges mostly are creative difference of opinions and also in terms of contradictory perspectives towards content strategies.
- CSR writing – Another potential section in writing is ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’. Content writing is merely a part of it but still a significant one. Industry giants have CSR departments which invest in social causes and involve employees to be a part of it. The communication that goes in engaging the employee or the literature required for CSR related activities are done by a writer. The content writing may involve blogs, reports, and different types of communications. Since, I do not have experience in CSRCSR, I would request a subject expert to elaborate on the challenges in comments.
- Research and report writing – There are a lot of agencies that offer research based reports on industries. The topic can be around latest trends, if the trends will work out, probable outcomes etc. These reports are rich in content and big in quantity too. The writers have their own share of challenges which mostly go around deadlines, content challenges, subjects etc. I will appreciate if someone from this genre of writing can come up and brief on what kind of challenges are faced by the writers in comments. I do not carry any experience in this field.
- Feature writing – This section calls for all the creativity you have packed in you. The writing activities involve columns in digital and print space, poems, short stories, satires, features based on lifestyle, food etc. This section doesn’t really demand someone to be particularly a journalism graduate but it calls for mind that can weave words like magic, observe people, create stories that will engage the readers at one go and exceptional vocabulary. In the current landscape, a lot of people are satisfying their creative needs through blogging. If you couldn’t make it to Live MINT, HT or anything like that do not lose heart, start your blog today. Begin with a topic like “12 things you would love to write about.’ The same content writing type may have travel writing as a broad section in the field. All those who have a travel bug in them should go ahead without losing a second. And if destiny is not letting you meet, you know what to do – Blog it and Brag it!
- Instructional design – If technical writing and publications had a child, it would be instructional design. E-learning or E-education paves a vast path for writers to build an outstanding career in this vertical. This section involves not only writing but also creating story boards. The writer is again expected to have a technical understanding, ability to create characters and also patience to create massive content. Writers work hard to meet with challenges like change in school curriculum & technology, confront low quality developers and also they have a pressure to meet the international standards of curriculum.
- Business writing – It is like a younger brother to marketing based writing. The writing activities involve emails, memos, sales proposals, RFPs, concept paper, summaries, manual writing, etc. This genre has huge growth potential and the writer is able to develop a strong understanding in business development and analysis section and he or she may graduate to a higher position in future too.
- Copywriting – All the jingles on radio that your hear or the catchy punch lines you read on banners, these are nothing but magic created by these copywriters. Very competitive and demanding, this section calls for creativity in abundance almost that is ‘out-of-the-box’. Ideas do not come easy and not in a routine manner so these copywriters are often different personalities with strong vocabulary. The environment at these offices is different from the above mundane corporate culture.
- Ghost writing – Contrary to what the name suggests, this kind of writing pertains to writing on behalf of someone else. Usually, such writers work for C level officers in organizations like CEO, CTO etc. The officers do not have time to write themselves but rather they let the same job get done by writers. Here, the point to be noticed is that the writers do not get credited; instead their name is not published. The content is published under the name of the officer. The challenge of this profile is the writer has to think like a CEO or any officer of the same grade. If you are 20 something working hard to make a career in this, you have to put an extra brain work and think about the business like someone 40s, 50s etc. The key to such writing is that such officers never think ground things but rather breaking the stereo type and bringing innovation to the market.
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