From inscribing to a stone and papyrus to scrawling on a paper, writing skills have existed for centuries now. But before the turn of the millennium, writing already goes digital. And for sure, Johannes Gutenberg had no idea how Tim Berners-Lee has transformed writing through the World Wide Web. Unfortunately, typewriters are even becoming rare now because writers are already typing on a keyboard or a touchscreen.
As writing evolves throughout time, various writing skills have also come in many forms that a serious writer should learn. These types of modern writing–I would love to call it Millennial Writing–are somehow confusing to some writers even with those who are in the world of publishing and content marketing.
With that, I have taken a humble initiative to differentiate these writing skills for those who write and for those who love words and for those who admire the written language.
Article writing is a broad skill of putting words on paper, or should I say on a screen. An article could be a blog, a column on a magazine, an eBook, a feature, or a news story. It aims to provide a compelling, informative, and significant piece of writing.
With the many kinds of write-ups called articles, we can say that article writing then seems to be a heavy skill. Writing an article demands professionalism, critical thinking, a familiarity with the written topic, research skills, and a good command of the written language.
All blogs are articles but not all articles are blogs as we have seen above. Blog writing speaks of the article written on a website–even a website, sometimes, can be called a blog or a blog site. Most blogs, if not all, are written to drive traffic to a website.
Blog writing is more about writing interactive and well-researched articles to attract the audience or to establish thought leadership. It is used as a strategy to fuel online marketing efforts, such as content marketing, social media marketing, and email marketing.
Before we go to the next item, I would like to note the fact that blog writing can be a personal journal or a way for a writer to express emotions or ideas instead of using it as a marketing tool.
Content writing is more connected to internet marketing compared to blogging. This online marketing strategy is also called content marketing. Hence, everything from blog writing to advertising can be considered as content writing.
The skills needed for a content writer include marketing skills, search engine optimization (SEO), website copywriting, social media management, email marketing, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, and much more.
A content writer should have a grasp of good communication skills, an expertise of a certain subject matter and a knowledge of various businesses, blogging techniques, infographic creation, and social sharing.
If content writing needs marketing skill, copywriting requires hardcore marketing, selling, and promotional skills. If content writing is used to attract website visitors, copywriting is intended to move the audience to take an action, such as subscribing to a newsletter or buying a product.
Copywriters should be well-versed in writing powerful words on the landing page, email, sales letter, flyer, brochure, catalog, or e-commerce website. In short, copywriters are expert in crafting and conceptualizing marketing and promotional tools to appeal to a specific audience for the purpose of creating desirable conversion.
Unlike the other four skills, freelance writing might not be technically considered a skill in writing. However, I count it as a skill because it takes motivation, decision making, and planning to get some freedom to write after a tiresome work shift or a business schedule. Also, a freelance writer can have any or all of the above writing skills. The only difference is that he or she works off-site. And needless to say, a writer who writes articles, blogs, content, or copy can also be a freelancer.
As an independent contractor, a freelance writer can also be rightly called an entrepreneur or a self-employed individual. The best abilities of a freelance writer could be time management, people skills, flexibility, and a good sense of financial freedom.
Writing might be your dream job, your hobby, or your passion. Whatever it is that drives you to write, you should have these writing skills for you to survive in the complicated digital world we are living in.