Being a content writer is about more than putting words on a page. It’s a culmination of research, creative collaboration, and understanding the needs of each client. Content writing is also fast-paced, since a single day at work may yield several blog posts, a few pages of content for a new website, and research for an eBook. When switching between so many different subject areas and content formats—all while keeping in mind the audience and client for each piece of content produced—it’s essential to have some tools at my disposal to keep organized and ready to take on the new tasks each day holds. Below are some of my must-haves as a content writer, without which it might be difficult to keep up with the daily demands of the job.
Working as part of a larger team, rather than as a freelance writer, it’s necessary to stay in communication with my colleagues at Pennington Creative.
Slack has become a staple in our daily communication, because it avoids the disorganized nature of a cluttered email inbox while providing a dedicated channel for each project. Plus, we can have some fun with channels devoted to much-needed distractions to break up the workday. This tends to be an essential part of office culture when your closest coworkers are a couple hundred miles away.
After six years in the content marketing industry, my biggest takeaway is that original content is an absolute necessity. Plagiarism is no joke, but it can be difficult to avoid, even when you’re careful.
Our brains often pick up pieces of information that we might unintentionally repeat, so it’s helpful to have a filter to keep each new page fresh. Copyscape keeps plagiarism out of the equation, making it easier to ensure a higher standard of quality.
Google Calendar Alerts
A flexible schedule and remote connectivity to the workplace can allow the mind to wander, and forget important meetings or assignments in the process. Fortunately, Google has thought of these challenges and ensured that I don’t miss any deadlines with push notifications and reminders for every calendar event.
The only way these notifications could be more useful is if they put on a pot of coffee for me before those early morning client calls.
Even after majoring in English in college and spending the majority of my professional life as a writer, I still find myself sometimes searching for just the right words.
I have no shame in flipping through a thesaurus to find those subtle changes that make for easily quotable blurbs and excerpts.
Google News Filters
Industries like finance and healthcare benefit from content based on the latest news, which makes it my job to know what that news is.
Setting up a few simple filters helps me stay on top of vital updates that can guide editorial calendars for certain clients. It also doesn’t hurt to have updates related to content marketing, since trends and algorithms are always changing.
I’m not alone as a remote employee in the United States. Did you know that 43% of U.S. employees work at home at least some of the time? This eye-catching statistic came from Gallup, which compiles tons of helpful statistics separated by topic.
Particularly when producing content related to content marketing—meta content, if you will—I head to Gallup to find the facts and figures I need to make a compelling argument.
While some people revile spreadsheets, I relish them. I even have spreadsheets to manage my other spreadsheets.
Without them, editorial calendar planning, account management, and resource banks would all be a fantastical dream rather than a very neatly assembled and organized reality—one that’s color-coded to boot.
Creativity can’t be forced, but it can be coaxed. On those days when I can’t seem to beat the writer’s block, I can usually find inspiration buried in a Spotify playlist.
Peaceful piano sounds, hypnotic electronica, and cool jazz tend to reignite the creative spark and get the words flowing.
These are just a few of my secrets to success, but the beauty of creative fields like content marketing is that they allow a wide range of methods to thrive. Here at Pennington Creative, each content creator has unique talents and techniques that contribute to the overall success of our team. To see the amazing content we’ve created together, take a look at our portfolio, or get to know our team members here.