Why ex-journalists make excellent content writing hires
I fell into content writing about eight years ago now, back when it was a brand new field still looking for a way to climb up onto the shore of that newly cooling huge mass called the Internet. Back then,writing web content was about 200 word blogs for a plumbing supply contractor somewhere in the UK. One of the most amazing things was this fast tracked evolutionary process that shuttled words and phrases to locations that had only been within reach previously through television, telephone or letter could also bounce money back into my accounts.
It was all pretty spooky at first for someone who had grown up watching the Twilight Zone. There were a few times I fully expected Rod Sterling to tap my shoulder, pull the unfiltered cigarette from his mount and squint through a curling plume of smoke when I turned as he said to me:
“Submitted for your approval.”
The only unexpected thing that did happen was my small content writing business got bigger and eventually grew into a full time living. I’ve had people ask me over the years what makes someone good at writing web content and beyond maniacal persistence, having a background in journalism helps. Here’s why.
· Deadlines don’t accept excuses. I worked for a newspaper in Pickering Ontario over 20 years ago that needed to send galleys to be assembled into newspapers to deadline. I know this is all archaic mumbo-jumbo, but if we didn’t get everything (including the writing) together by a certain time, we missed the deadline and there would be no newspaper. No newspaper meant no jobs. I brought that sense of no nonsense urgency to content writing and it paid off. Clients with online businesses don’t like missed deadlines anymore than the people who ran printing presses did.
· Ex-journalists get paid to know a little bit about everything and we learned how to research. I’ve written about everything from diet foods to insurance claims since I’ve been doing this work and can always put a new slant on an old subject no matter how many times it’s been done before. All thanks to the old newspaper training that taught me phrases like “a car accident” sold far less papers than “a fiery car wreck.”
If you’d told me when I was younger that I’d make a living as a content writer online, I would have told you to lay off the Panama Red. Yet here I am, happily self employed and enjoying my most productive years as a working writer still.