Content Writing Modules are the various subjects or skills to learn as a certified content writer. Find out the modules in content writing.
So, how do you learn content writing? Well…content writing courses generally structure their entire course into different modules.
The popularity of web 2.0, after the introduction of blogs, video sharing, and social media, has opened up vast opportunities for professional writing. Content writing has made it possible for writers to earn a stable income, which was extremely rare earlier.
It has opened up a whole new vocation of writing for websites, social media, creating video scripts, podcasts, ebooks, and much more. And the people who produce this kind of content are called content writers.
Content writers are, foremost, adept at the skill of expressing their thoughts in the form of words. Most content writers are knowledgeable in their fields and write content based upon their knowledge and understanding of the subject.
Some other skills required for a professional content writer include an understanding of how search engines operate, how to signal to the search engine what your content is about, how to prove your content is better than other similar content available over the web, and most importantly, providing the user what he/she desires.
In the case of business blogs, an additional responsibility of a content writer becomes strategizing content. Here the goal of content is to attract organic traffic through search, to the website, and market a product, or even make a purchase.
In this article, we will learn about different content writing modules that most commonly form a part of the content writing courses. So let us dive straight in!!
I. What are the different types of content
Content is just an umbrella term for various forms and formats of information on the internet. This can include written content, images, videos, audio, PDFs, and so on.
We will learn what are the different types of content in this module in content writing.
But even in content writing, there are different forms of written content. and different types of content writers
- Website content
- Landing pages
- Social media content
- E-mail content
- ad copy
- video scripts
- press release
- White paper
- news content
Each of these forms of content employs distinct skills. Some are informative in nature while some are promotional. Some are fact-based while others are creative. Some pieces of content are meant to serve as instruction or user manuals.
In fact, the purpose of every type of content is different. For instance, the objective of a social media post is to generate interaction and portray a special image of a brand, the purpose of an e-mail might just be to bring users to a landing page.
And there are different types of content writers who specialize in each type of content.
So it is essential for newbie writers to decide soon enough, what kind of content they wish to write, and make a career out of, after considering their interests and educational background.
II. How do search engines find content
Before we learn how to write content, or design websites for that matter, we first need to understand how search engines find content. This is important to grasp the concept of why we do what we do.
This module in content writing teaches us how to do search engines work.
The fundamental objective of creating content is for maximum people to see it. For a high reach, search engines need to rank our content higher in the search engine results page than other similar content.
To find the relevant content across the web and decide which content is the best of all, search engines have computer programs or algorithms known as bots.
There are different categories of bots:
- Crawlers: Crawlers or spiders are bots whose job is to scourge all of the web for new pieces of content. They do this by searching for new URLs and studying the content that lies therein.
- Indexers: These bots record and organize the content found by crawlers. If a piece of content is at this stage, that means its category has been identified.
- Ranking bots: These are the bots that examine how relevant and helpful a piece of content is with respect to the search query made. The most relevant content is ranked towards the top.
Crawlers can explore any kind of content including web pages, images, videos, and PDFs too.
These crawlers then store these pieces of content in a database called caffeine. Caffeine is basically an index that contains URLs.
Then indexers analyze and sort different URLs and put them into different categories or searches that will return these URLs.
Search engines rank pieces of content based on their relevance to the search query made by the user. The content that it regards highly relevant is shown earlier, in general.
If you want to check whether the search engine has indexed your content, you can perform a simple search “site:yourdomain.com”. Google will show pages from your website if they have been indexed.
But how do search engines decide which content is good and which one is bad? The answer to this question lies in the next module in content writing.
You may also be interested in our article on the Books For Content Writers written by experts
III. SEO or Search Engine Optimization
SEO is a bunch of techniques, that are employed while writing specific types of content, like blogs, to help search engines find out what the content is about.
This module in content writing teaches us what is search engine optimization.
The main purpose of doing SEO is to increase its visibility and grow organic traffic to your website. SEO helps in drawing in users specifically looking for the type of content that has been written.
SEO helps in getting organic traffic ie. traffic that is actively searching for your content. And in that process, attempt to market a product that users might find useful for their purpose. Organic traffic is free of cost, as opposed to paid traffic bought with pay-per-click or social media promotion.
The outcome of a good SEO strategy is a piece of content or many pieces, that rank on page 1, preferably, at the top, of the search engine results page or SERPs.
It is not enough for the content to rank. The content must rank for the intended set of keywords, keeping in view of the user search intent.
There are many steps involved in performing SEO for a blog or a website. But before you try one of these techniques, remember that if your article is of high quality, it will automatically rank higher.
- The first is to choose the right set of keywords.
- Using the key phrase in the title
- Optimizing pages to load faster
- Increasing helpful content so that users spend more time on the website
- Responsive design
To list all the metrics Google uses to rank webpages is almost impossible and any such list is speculative. It is estimated that Google uses over 200 parameters to judge the quality of the pages.
There are many tools to look for popular keywords. Google keyword planner, Ubersuggest, and answerthepublic.com are the most commonly used.
These tools are instrumental in understanding the popularity of a key phrase and the difficulty to rank in that key phrase. There are many tutorials available on the web that teach how to use these tools.
Page load times are also important parameters that can not be ignored. Slow loading pages annoy users and users quit the page before waiting for it to load. This increases the bounce-back rate which is bad for ranking.
To increase the speed of loading, you can try various techniques like using smaller images, avoiding flash content, using a lighter theme, and so on.
Responsive design refers to the ability of your web pages to be optimized for mobile viewing. Search engines have put a lot of emphasis on mobile experience in recent times. This is because the number of searches on mobile devices has surpassed that of computers as of 2018.
This is also called off-page SEO. Backlinks are simply links from other websites to your webpage. The more webpages link to your page, the more page authority you will have.
This module in content writing teaches us what are backlinks.
Page authority became an important factor in ranking algorithms after many marketers started exploiting on-page SEO factors to boost rankings of their pages. Some common tricks were keyword stuffing and using black-hat SEO techniques.
These pages were irrelevant to searches and users did not find them useful. This made the switch to other search engines.
Think of backlinks as your endorsements in the online world. The more sites that link to your content, the more your page is considered authoritative by the search engines.
For example, If a lot of people recommend you for a job, it means your expertise and skill are considered credible and dependable. That;’s how it works in the online space.
The simplest technique that is recommended to content creators is to produce relevant, detailed, and helpful content. This will automatically attract traffic and other publishers will start linking to your webpage.
In general, the higher the domain authority a website has that is linking to your content, the better it is for your website and webpage. Sites like Wikipedia have millions of backlinks, this is why their content usually ranks very high despite so much competition.
However, some pointers need to be mentioned. Links from social media or comments in other blogs and forum websites do not increase page authority even though they originate from a high authority domain.
What is the easiest way to create a blog? Copy someone else’s content, right?
Search engines are not stupid. Websites who have had that misconception have been heavily penalized and had their businesses ruined.
This module in content writing teaches us how do search engines weed out bad content.
Search engines are very complex and sophisticated programs. Imagine a company whose sole purpose is to crawl the internet to look for quality content. A company that pushes billions of dollars into this single purpose, pays thousands of the world’s best engineers, to improve and fine-tune their programs.
Many people do not realize this and try to manipulate and use unethical ways to gain organic traffic. And the most common of them is by stealing content.
Duplicate content or plagiarism is an issue that should be taken seriously by new writers. Duplicate content makes search engines waste their resources. It is a misuse of their effort. And it is dishonest.
Once search engines detect plagiarism on a website, they stop indexing the website. This is a huge loss of organic traffic because users cannot find the website in search.
VI. Content quality
The quality of content is extremely important. No matter how good the SEO is, the ultimate metrics are the signs of relevance to the user.
Google emphasizes on relevant content that is comprehensive and detailed. But how do search engines distinguish quality content from subpar content?
There are various metrics that search engines use. In this module in content writing, we will learn precisely that.
One of them is the session time. This is the time that users spend on the webpage, on average. The more time a user spends on a page, the more useful it would be deemed to the user.
Another metric is the bounceback rate. The bounceback rate is the percentage of users who instantly leave your website within a few seconds of opening it. There are many potential reasons for such activity.
But, in general, a high bounce-back rate is a tell-tale sign of bad quality content. Possible reasons could include irrelevant content, bad writing style, difficult to read content, bad page layout, slower loading times, too many ads, unwarranted pop-ups, clickbaity title, and lots more.
When a user finds a piece of content helpful, he/she tends to read it till the end of the page and then close the search. Coming back to the SERP page and clicking on other results shows that the user was not satisfied with the content. This is also a sign of poor quality content.
Readability has recently emerged as a significant factor in identifying the quality of content. The correct use of language and grammar, easy-to-read content format, etc. are features to strive for while writing any type of content.
VII. UI and UX
The look and feel of a website or a webpage is a feature that users notice. A website must reflect the right image. Any website’s design must be consistent with the type of work they do or the industry they belong to.
So what are UI and UX? In this module in content writing, we will talk about that.
UI goes beyond just appearance. It entails careful consideration of color schemes, typography, proportions of different areas, aesthetics, hierarchical visual classification of different elements, and more.
UI is also essential in improving the user experience or UX. It aims to remove the bottlenecks that cause friction in the way users experience the website. An example of this could be sign-in with e-mail, which could be made smoother by implementing simple google sign-in.
A great UX makes it easy for the user to navigate through the website and find what they intend to look for. This greatly reduces user frustration and increases the session time. Which in turn gives search engines the signal that the website is high-quality.
Good UI and UX are equally important in retaining the user as good content. Both go hand in hand to create a great website. It also shows professionalism and builds trust.
VIII. Content promotion through social media
Who says search engines have to be the only source of traffic? You can use the power of social media to bring cross-platform traffic from sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and even Instagram.
This module in content writing teaches us how to leverage the power of social media to promote your content.
Website owners or content writers can use their own social media accounts to promote new webpages. Since pages are only followed by users who are interested in a certain type of content, social media can be a big source of the traffic to any website.
Depending on the subject of the blog, we can decide which social media would be more effective than others.
As a bonus advantage, you can send out articles in direct messages to select a few people and ask them for sharing if they feel like it. This is guaranteed to generate at least some additional traffic.
Posting regular content and using appropriate hashtags are some of the strategies to get your content to the right audience. Posting regularly increases the page’s general visibility and reach. While hashtags let the platform know what category does the content belongs to.
Engaging with the users and taking part in trends is a good way to interact with your audience. Social media is designed to spark conversations. It is not just limited to users, you can interact and collaborate with other players in your domain also.
But posting regularly on social media can be a huge challenge. Some platforms require users to post more than 10 times a day before they give them some reach.
To make things easy, there are various social media content management tools. Buffer is one example. These tools have various features including post drafting and scheduling during peak hours for maximum engagement.
E-mail is the unsung hero of digital marketing. E-mail returns the highest return on investment of marketing budgets. But many marketers are unaware of this fact and end up losing customers.
This module in content writing teaches us how e-mails can be used to get more traffic.
It is a fact that retaining customers costs less than acquiring new customers. E-mail is one way to maintain recurring traffic to your website. It is targeted communication towards users interested in your content and products.
Asking users to subscribe is one of the ways to get their e-mail addresses. These addresses can be used to create a mailing list. Every time you post content on your website, you can send e-mails to users on the mailing list.
This method ensures some old users returning to your website for new content they might be interested in.
E-mail lists can also be used to promote your products and sending periodic newsletters about events people might be interested in. If people wish to opt-out of the mails, they can always unsubscribe.
The reason e-mails are such an effective marketing tool is that the people on the mailing lists are people who have actively subscribed to receive emails and newsletters.
Moreover, mailing lists are prepared by keeping certain characteristics that form a buyer persona. This persona represents your ideal customer and has specific interests and lifestyle that forms an ideal customer for you.
X. Google local
If you own a brick-and-mortar business, you simply cannot ignore setting up a google local entry.
Google local is a directory of businesses that includes their location, phone number, open hours, services offered, and most importantly reviews of previous customers.
This module in content writing teaches us why google local is so important for local businesses.
A listing is essential for capitalizing on searches that have an added phrase- ‘near me’. For example, if you own a bakery and someone in the proximity of your shop makes a search ‘bakeries near me’, your business must show up.
There are solid reasons for this. Firstly, this user is actively looking for a business nearby, which means he/she is intending to walk in, most likely very soon. If they do not see your shop listed on the local pages, they will never know about your shop.
This is extremely important for businesses like restaurants, book stores, department stores, auto repair, etc. The users making these searches have an immediate need for the service.
Users also like to check the ratings of the store, given by previous customers, so it is important to manage these testimonials. If there is a bad review left by a customer, it should be resolved by communicating with the customers.
This article only scratches the surface of the content writing modules for training. We covered some basics about different ways content writers can improve their content and promote it to get more traffic.
Most of the time, the purpose of the blog is to promote a business or sell a product. The content strategy must be designed in such a way that the website attracts the right kind of customers who are likely to convert.
Content marketing is a competitive space and any new content needs to beat the old content already present in the top results in search engines. For this, the new content writer must show the search engines that this new content is better and more relevant to the user.
If you want to learn more about content writing modules, you might want to invest in a professional content writing training course. It is always good to get certified.