In an era of tweeting, blogging, pinning and liking, quality web content is essential to every business.
The quality of digital writing can mean the difference between a reader feeling like they’re enjoying a leisurely stroll across town and feeling like they’ve slammed into a brick wall.
Every website on the internet has (needs) lots of content; that means digital writing can be a lucrative career for both professional and hobbyist writers with any background and a strong command of the language.
In the first part of this three-part article series, we’ll take a look at what digital medical writing is and explore some of the ways businesses rely on digital writers.
In the second part we will review where these jobs and/or consulting opportunities are and how you can obtain them, either as an employee or as a freelancer/consultant.
In the third part of the series, we’ll take a look at what it takes to make a living as a digital medical writer.
What is Digital Writing?
Digital writing is exactly what the name suggests: writing composed for a digital environment. Digital medical writing is the same thing, except the topics are must be medically related. This relatively new profession includes writing virtually everything you read on a screen.
It includes new iterations for older technologies, as well, such as authoring e-books instead of printed novels or reporting for an online news organization instead of printed newspaper.
In addition to the traditional writing jobs like novelist and reporter, digital writing job opportunities include:
Blog Posts and Web Articles
Every website on the Internet needs some sort of a copy; whether it is to maintain a blog, earn advertising revenue, create brand awareness, review products, create communities, or teaching/educating the reader.
Companies recognize the need for talented writers to translate their ideas and products into search-engine optimized (SEO) and web-friendly writing (see what skills are needed for digital writing in part two of this series).
Most companies spare no expense when it comes to promoting their products, supporting the development of their brand, and creating opportunities for subtle selling.
Once you identify companies that outsource their promotional writings, you can pitch your expertise to the right person (usually the Sales & Marketing Executive) and make sure that everything is supported by your own website and/or blog.
Since these opportunities are highly competitive, it is important that you compete in your strong areas.
Start by visiting the company sites and identifying the authors of articles with a promotional undertone and determine whether they are freelancers or in-house employees. Naturally, you can only compete with a freelancer, so you will need to become a “sleuth.”
Learn about the writer by visiting his/her website–if she has one–and find out everything you can about the writer.
The profile of the writer should include:
- Types of writing he/she does
- Companies she has worked with
Try to learn about the writer’s compensation and if this is his/her first assignment with the organization you are reviewing, or is it a repeat assignment?
If the article you are looking at is one of the repeat assignments of the writer, I would suggest moving on and looking somewhere else.
Also, if this writer is charging the company a ridiculously low price, the same “walking away” applies.
As you can see it takes time, energy, and capital to identify a company you’d like to write for. However, the rewards could be substantial.
- SEO Content Writing
Producing content for SEO is an essential element for effective digital writing. This job in particular involves writing content to drive visits to a page.
SEO writing may include:
- Blog posts
- Product reviews,
- Product endorsements,
- A number of other off-page (non-written) tactics.
If you are not familiar with SEO writing, please do not despair; if you are following my posts, or other writings, you know what I say: “Everything can be learned.”
If, however, you are an experienced SEO writer, you should be busy and making a nice living.
SEO writing is a keyword research-based writing. If you were hired to write SEO content, one of the first things you are going to do is to identify words and/or phrases a surfer would type in to find the services/products of the company that hired you.
You will use these words and phrases judiciously in the articles you are writing for the company and will make sure to comply with the rules of Google. You cannot stuff the article with unlimited number of keywords, because Google will punish you.
If, on the other hand, you understand the concept and create well-written articles with appropriately filled keywords, the traffic on the company’s site will be enhanced substantially, and the end result is increased sales of the company’s products or services. As you can imagine, your reward will be a nice income with a substantial bonus (anyway that is what should happen).
Today you can purchase various tools that will help you to identify the appropriate keywords. One of the easiest and best keyword research tools is Google’s Keyword AdWord tool. Market Samurai and Long-tail Pro are two other tools for keywords help. (SEO writing and what tools can help you in the process is for another separate post).
Public Relations/Brand Manager
With so much competition in the business world, establishing and maintaining a strong brand presence is more important than ever. Even public relation jobs have moved forward into the digital age quite nicely. For example, today’s press releases need to be SEO-friendly and distributed to the right media channels.
Social Media Writing
Social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube (to name a few) are the best resources for a company’s successful Internet marketing efforts.
These sites can be used for spreading the word about the company’s products/services, promoting their brand, and connecting with customers.
The demand for writers that understand the workings of social media is incredible. Companies are seeking to find writers who know how to leverage these channels for the benefit of a brand.
If you are concerned about your abilities and interested in seeking out these writing positions, there are quite a few places, websites, and specialized schools that offer training in this area. Some of these sites include freelancewriting.com, socialmediatoday.com, sawriterscollege.co.za, continuing education at the University of Utah, and more.
Online Community Manager
Similar to managing a company’s brand, this position helps to build, grow and maintain a community for a company. Maintaining online communities helps to foster relationships and dedication to a specific brand or cause.
Developing online marketing plans for companies saves them time and money, and provides them with the know-how for using “content” to drive traffic to their website, which ultimately results in increased sales.
One can use blogs posts, articles, newsletters, and other information sources for content marketing.
Basically, content marketing is the art of communicating with customers and prospects without selling. Instead of pitching the company’s products and/or services, the content writer delivers information.
The essence of this strategy is that, if we, as businesses, deliver consistent, ongoing valuable information to buyers, they ultimately will reward the company with their business and loyalty.
Ghostwriting (i.e. e-books, White Papers,)
Publisher’s Weekly reported that there were 211,269 self-published titles (based on ISBNs) released in 2011, almost 80,000 more than were published in 2010.
- Thanks to self-publishing; anyone with an idea can easily share it in the form of an e-book. Everyone with an idea isn’t necessarily a writer, however. This has created a market for ghostwriters for e-books. In this type of digital writing, the writer takes the client’s ideas and forms them into a cohesive book, which is then published under the client’s name.
EBook Editing – If a client doesn’t want to deal with a publishing house, they likely won’t want to deal with their editors either. Thus the need for eBook editors was born. Self-publishers benefit greatly from a qualified and talented editor for editing, proofreading, copyediting or marketing.
Pay-per-click Ads (PPC Ads) – PPC Ads are those ads that usually appear on a sidebar of a website that entices you to purchase something related to what you are searching. Companies pay writers who are knowledgeable about marketing and SEO to compose these ads targeted at the right audience. Good digital writing gets clicks; poor writing doesn’t.
These are just a few of the categories of digital writing we see today. As new technologies arise – the most recent being Social Media – new markets for digital writing will be born.
Please review these options, evaluate the requirements and or qualifications for each and identify the ones you think you can master.
We will continue to review, analyze and inform about where these jobs and/or consulting opportunities are and how can you make sure to have access to and taking advantage of these opportunities.
Until then, you can think of questions you may have about the content of this post or what would you like to see included in Part 2? We read and respond to every comment. We like to hear praises, criticism or just your opinion.