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Updated: October 27, 2013 12:18 IST

Content is king

S. Dipak Ragav
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Nimble fingers: The industry needs writers who are Web-savvy. Photo: Bhagya Prakash.
The Hindu
Nimble fingers: The industry needs writers who are Web-savvy. Photo: Bhagya Prakash.

The all-pervasive Internet can be your pot of gold if you can meet the demand for information and knowledge with your writing and analytical skills.

The information age is well and truly taking over India, and this is marked by a steadily growing dependency on the Internet for almost everything, right from fixing laptop issues to planning our travel. The Web is an amazing resource for information-seekers and the generally curious, but where does all the content come from? Content writers, of course, from all corners of the world. With increasing Internet penetration in developing countries, content writing for new media services is turning out to be an interesting career option.

“If you don’t get something, you Google it,” says Ganesh Chandrashekar, Senior Editor at content and digital marketing firm Wordplay Content. “People are turning to the Internet for all sorts of questions — how do I fix this bug in my blog, do my symptoms indicate fever, what’s this new book that everyone keeps talking about, what should I know before purchasing property — the questions never stop. With a team of writers who understand how the Internet works, we help businesses answer these questions,” he says.

“Search engines define how a lot of people access the Internet,” he continues, “Online and offline businesses want their content on the first page of Google, so the demand for quality writers is huge. On the Internet, content is king — it takes creativity, some background knowledge of how the Internet works and subject-matter expertise, which is what we train our writers in. And compared to other channels, the reach gained is phenomenal.”

Express yourself

From Web articles, blog posts, advertisement copy, journalism, technical writing and e-books to content for social media posts (for Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Linkedin, etc.), there are quite a lot of options for budding writers looking for a career in the field.

Vishal Dutta, co-founder of Godot Media, says, “Content writing can be a great career option for students who are interested in the converging world of digital media, marketing and creativity. It'll be interesting for people who want to express their creative self in a professional set-up. It is a very satisfying career; as a content writer, you can reach a lot of people through your writing. The content gets read throughout the world, gets appreciated and adds value to the lives of many people.”

One of the biggest sectors that has seen an increase in the need for content services is the e-commerce space. Dutta says, “The exponential growth that the e-commerce industry is seeing globally is a big positive for content writers. E-commerce companies need quality content to describe their products in a way that appeals to their customers. Companies have also been focusing on getting quality content on their website to ensure that they rank higher in search engine results. All these points contribute to an increasing demand from this sector, which we have been witnessing in the recent past.”

According to Neil Krshna, founder of Wordplay Content, “Content has a huge role to play in any digital marketing campaign, which is what everyone, from e-commerce stores to institutions like hospitals and even political parties are focusing their efforts on. Today, there’s a lot of pressure from a peer circle to get on to the smartphone wagon, so it’s all about how the masses are consuming information and communicating — that’s where all the decisions are made and transactions happen.”

“More and more people are getting used to consuming information from a screen than ever before, and mobile Internet has played a huge role in that. As a company we’re excited to be at the helm of an upward trend, but there is a very long road ahead for the Internet in India,” he says.

The scope for content writing is big because India is still in a nascent stage in terms of Internet penetration. As Internet connectivity enters more towns and villages, businesses will eventually aspire to have Web properties to further their reach.

With a strong English-speaking population, India ranks among the countries that are best equipped to handle the growing demand for content globally.

Think out of the box

Speaking on the important skills required for this industry, Dutta says, “Firstly, we look for language skills. But, this doesn't mean that one needs to hold a degree in English to get a job as a content writer. It is the command over the language that matters more than the educational qualification. We also look for creativity in the person, as the writer should be able to think out of the box and be comfortable with a variety of topics. If a person has both these qualities, he is likely to do well in this career.”

Ganesh adds, “the industry really needs young writers who have grown up with the Internet and are naturally Web-savvy. They are new-age, they speak the language of the world, they are used to online transactions, and they intrinsically understand both sides of the game — what businesses want from the Internet and what their readers are looking for.”

Apart from full-time positions, content writing firms offer internships and part-time jobs for college students and freelancers who are looking to gain some work experience and earn from home.

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