As a freelance content developer, I create content for a wide variety of businesses, both B2B and B2C, on a fulltime basis. These have ranged from small mom and pop shops to a Fortune 500 company. I am HubSpot Certified for Inbound Marketing and a member of the prestigious, member-vetted American Society of Journalists and Authors. I am a lifelong learner with a passion for research and writing, and I love it when a piece of content works well for a client. Here are answers to FAQs.
What does a content developer do?
As a freelancer, I write for numerous companies — and so step one is always to learn more about the company for which I’ll be writing. What products and/or services do they sell? Who is their target audience (or audiences)? What are the company’s goals for the content being developed? Sometimes, the client can’t articulate what goals they have or the goals are not realistic. So, a content developer needs to work with the client to develop an effective strategy; analyze how effective the strategy actually is; and then adjust as needed. There are a number of disciplines connected to content development, including organic search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, social media marketing, email marketing, link building and more. Not all content developers offer all of these services, but those who can offer the spectrum are more in demand.
What are common challenges?
There are significant numbers of people offering content services, so it can be a challenge to break into the industry unless you obtain an internship or entry level job at a marketing agency. Then, some clients – as mentioned above – can have unrealistic expectations about what website content can do for their company, often wanting very fast results (higher rankings in the search engines, increased targeted traffic to the site and so forth). Because so many companies are competing for consumer attention through content development, there is plenty of online noise to break through to get your content noticed.
What are important skills to develop?
Content development is a hybrid of journalism and marketing, so it’s important that a content developer becomes skilled in both areas. Being good at writing but not marketing can mean your great content never gets noticed; being good at marketing but not at writing means you will fall short in presenting a client’s story well. People skills are also important because you’ll work with clients to develop strategies and content; researching skills are crucial to find quality information; discernment is necessary with so much inaccurate information available; and self-discipline and motivation are important, as well, since you need to stay on task and on time.
Would I be good at content creation?
If you enjoy writing, that’s great, because that’s at the core of content development. But many people discover that, yes, they enjoy writing – but only on topics that interest them. With content development, you need to brainstorm what types of content would appeal to a client’s customers and prospects, and that may include topics not typically considered glamorous.
Does this sound like you? You:
- love to research and learn
- are curious and willing to try new things
- aren’t thrown off stride when Internet technologies change
- enjoy writing and are good at it
- understand marketing
- are self-motivated and self-disciplined
- are interested in a wide range of topics
- can interview people effectively to get expert information
- can discern what secondary sources are quality and which are suspect
What other questions do you have about content creation?