When They Say that Content is King, What They Mean is High-Quality, Creative, Strategic, Brand-Building, SEO-Focused, and Mobile-Ready Content is King — The Rest is Just Junk
Are you ready for the new world of freelancing?
It’s a world where the words on the page are elevated to a whole new status. In fact, the highest status in the marketing Kingdom!
Content is King. All hail the King!
While we’re at it: Off with the heads of the low-paying freelance projects!
The guillotine is ready: And it’s called Google Hummingbird.
What Does “Content is King” Mean to Your Freelance Career?
You have probably heard that “Content is King” more than once in the past year or two.
But what does that mean to you as a freelance writer?
For one thing, it means that there is a lot of content that needs to be written by a lot of companies who want to compete in the new world of Content Marketing. And that means the marketplace for freelancers is deeper and wider than it’s ever been before.
However — before you get too excited — you need to know that today’s content will be held to a higher standard — much higher!
The focus on high-quality content has never been more rigorous than it is right now.
I’m pleased to report that this means that the stuff that content mill-type companies have been publishing online will not hold up under scrutiny. Both the targeted audiences and Google will ignore it — and worse, Google may even unplug it.
Where is the Future of Freelance Writing Headed?
First of all, the new world of quality-centric content is the death knell for the low-paying freelance job industry — with its pennies on the word (or even fractions of a penny) freelance fee mentality.
The future of content is not just turning away from low-rent content: It’s running away at top speed.
Today an article landed in my inbox that confirmed my predictions.
Barry Feldman, who runs Feldman Creative and is a leader in the Content Marketing arena, published this blog post: “Content Marketing Minds: It’s Doomsday for the Dinosaurs.” He lays bare the reality regarding the skills needed by today’s marketers (and, in my opinion, by association, the content writers who work for them).
He quotes several sources, including the inbound marketing agency PR 20/20. I love this quote in particular:
“PR 20/20 says most content is of the ‘fast food’ variety and those that rise above have the ability to create content that’s strategic, brand-centric, buyer-focused, search optimized, technically sound, creative, and results-driven.”
Now that is my kind of content!
“Fast food” includes the junk being pushed out into the world by the many content mills and other marketers who don’t just get it. In fact, I would call that type of content “junk food” — based on the value it offers companies and consumers.
The Nine Skills Content Marketers — and the Writers They Hire — Need Today
Barry further cites PR 20/20 regarding a list of skills that today’s marketers must possess to create the kind of content that is worthy of wearing the crown of a King.
Producing the level of content needed to win in today’s marketplace, where only the highest-quality content will have a consumer and SEO impact, requires a content manager who possess the following nine skills.
I’ve taken the discussion a step further — because I believe that the writers who will remain standing in the Content Marketing sea change must also understand and possess all of these skills. Here are my thoughts on the nine skills cited by PR 20/20:
- Analytical Skills — The great content writers are not afraid to put their content up against today’s fiercest critic: analytics.
- Creative Skills — Great writers can bring new, innovative ideas to the content development table.
- Motivation — While working independently, successful freelance writers still derive satisfaction by adding value to their clients’ goals.
- Listening Skills — First-rate writers pay attention to and really hear what their clients are saying, and address their concerns, requirements, and objectives.
- Social Savvy — The best writers are social savvy. They have joined relevant conversations on social media, and understand its role in the Content Marketing world.
- Strategic Skills — Smart writers know that there is a strategy behind the content they are producing, and do their part on a tactical level to help support their client’s vision and propel it forward.
- Technical Skills — Today’s best writers don’t have to be the early adopters of technology, but they can’t be the laggards either. They need to know what’s current and understand how that informs the creation of powerful content.
- Team Orientation — Again, just because freelancers are independent writers doesn’t mean they aren’t part of a content marketing team. Having respect for and being able to work in teams is still a vital skill.
- Writing Skills — Last, but not least, possessing the chops to write powerful, riveting, content that stops people in their tracks, engages them, and motivates them to take action is what will separate the wheat from the chaff in today’s new world of Content Marketing writing.
What does this means for freelancers?
It means that we have to bring these skills to the table — IF we want to be considered as a legitimate, high-quality writer who can meet our clients’ demand for stellar content.
How do your skills stack up to this list?
Are you equipped to compete in this new world of high-quality content?
Is your content worthy of wearing the crown of a King?