Are You Really a Writer … Or Just a Copyist?

Image of person sitting against wall with sign that says Will write for food

There is a terminology problem plaguing the content community.

It’s confusing marketers, it’s misleading clients, and it’s causing an identity crisis among content creators everywhere.

It seems that no one really knows what it means to be a writer.

And Merriam-Webster isn’t much help when it comes to defining this person. A “writer is someone whose work it is to write books, poems, stories, etc.” Or even more vague, a writer is “someone who has written something.”

And as Sonia Simone recently pointed out here at Copyblogger, there are even some people who think RealWriter is a software that uses algorithms to string together words. (You can’t blame Sonia when options like content generators and article spinning tools actually exist.)

This vague definition and the disparate views on what it takes to be a writer are allowing people to create their own idea of a writer and slap all kinds of connotations on it.

And this is really distorting the writing industry.

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2014: The Year of the Rainmaker

A year ago almost to the day, I wrote 2013: The Year of the Online Writer. The basic premise was that we had reached a tipping point. Companies of all sizes that wanted to succeed now knew that:

  • Content is what people want.
  • Content is what people share.
  • Content is what makes buying decisions happen.

Those realizations, in turn, require great content creators. Notably, great writers.

This coming year will continue the trend, with an added twist.

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Content is a Verb: A Challenge for Freelance Writers

image of Morpheus from The Matrix

“Can you content my website?”

Here’s the thing you need to know when clients ask you to create content for their websites.

They don’t just need this asset called “content.” Because content marketing is more than a collection of text documents to be cut and pasted into WordPress or an email program.

It would be delightful if we could just write a whole bunch of words and call the job done. But (with the glorious exception of the email autoresponder) the real world doesn’t work that way.

Content is a noun — a set of files you send the client. But it’s also a verb — a collection of actions you deliver over time.

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How to Immediately Become a More Productive (and Better) Writer

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You want to become a better writer.

I know this because you’re reading Copyblogger.

I also know that you fear becoming a better writer.

This I know because you must change to become better, and to fear change is to be human.

But what if I told you that you only need to change one thing — one small thing — to achieve your goal of becoming a better writer?

Would you believe me?

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Why You Should Fire Yourself

Illustration of Man Looking into Mirror

What would you do if you discovered that the secret to your success online lay in firing yourself? Would you do it?

That’s the question Alex, a freelance copywriter, had to face.

Alex started his copywriting business three years ago, after the local newspaper he worked for as a staff writer was shut down.

From the get-go he scrambled to pick up writing jobs, tapping his network, searching freelance websites, and sending query after query.

Opportunities soon began to open up for him, and he took every single one.

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How Google’s PageRank Algorithm Screwed the Online Writer (and What They Did to Fix It)

Image of Vintage Corkscrew

In many ways, this century has mostly been a dark time for online writers.

Huh? You mean the Internet — the most significant publishing revolution since Gutenberg — hasn’t been good for writers?!

Yes. And no.

Here’s the thing, good content writers got squeezed out during the early days of Google’s PageRank algorithm. As I’ll explain later, the importance was placed on the page, which created a nasty race to the bottom as far as writer’s value was concerned.

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