Content writers may work for marketing agencies and in-house advertising departments and they will produce engaging written pieces for digital as well as print media.

What Does A Content Writer Do Exactly?

Content writers may work for marketing agencies and in-house advertising departments and they will produce engaging written pieces for digital as well as print media. Alternatively, content writers can work as freelancers and deliver the same services as in-house writers do. Content writers are able to write on a range of subjects that their clients can then use in order to advertise their services or educate consumers on topics which are relevant to their brand.

The responsibilities of a content writer are as follows:

  • Researching industry-related topics (including online sources, interviews and studies),
  • Writing clear marketing copy to promote a client’s/employer’s products/services, and
  • Preparing well-structured drafts using content management systems.


What Are The Skills That Every Great Content Writer Needs?


In the content writing industry, everyone who feels that they can speak well also feels that they can write exceptionally well.

However, this is not the case. Although there are not specific, rigid steps that content writers need to follow when doing their job (as opposed to a doctor, accountant or lawyer) there are indeed certain skills that distinguish great content writers from the mediocre and the downright terrible.

These are:

  • Know Key Writing Practices,
  • Tell a Captivating Story,
  • Be Social Media Savvy,
  • Can Weave Wit Into Their Content,
  • Knows That Well-Researched Means Well-Received,
  • Know the Basics of Good SEO,
  • Understand the Target Audience, and
  • Stay Current & Open to Change.

As you can see, the list above suggests that great content writers need to know the basics of SEO.

When going through the job requirements of a content writer, you’ll often find that the successful candidate will need to write SEO-optimised copy. And, obviously, in order to put together such a piece of text you’ll need to know how SEO works.

Before you even get a request for an SEO-optimised article, your client will have done/gotten an SEO specialist to do some keyword research. Ultimately, they will have thought about the various queries that people type into Google if they are looking for their product.

To show you how this works, if a university student, who has just finished their MBA thesis, wanted to find an editor, they would type in a query such as the following:

Or, if they wanted to work with an editor who is in a particular area, their query might look something like this:

  • Academic editor Johannesburg
  • Academic editor Cape Town

The people doing the keyword research would look for all permutations, such as the example above, which relate to academic editor.

You, as the content writer, would then get this list and be asked to write various articles that include these keywords. Sometimes the brief will be very detailed and the client will give you the structure of the article and all you would need to do is to fill out the copy under the various headings. At times, all you’ll get is the URL of the site that you’re writing for and you’ll be told to write a 500 word+ article that is in keeping with the topics dealt with on the site.

During your writing process, you’ll need to make sure that you don’t keyword stuff your article so that you can make up word count. What I mean by this is mentioning one keyword in every single sentence. Although this practice used to get sites to rank highly, nowadays Google will actually penalise your site and send you back down to the bottom of the search engine results pages (SERPs) even when your site is super relevant to a particular search topic.

I’ve been a content writer, in some shape or form, for almost as long as I’ve been alive. So, if you’re starting out in the industry, and need some advice about where to begin, or you need some help with copy, feel free to drop me a mail on