From ink to algorithms, the writer’s pen evolves.
The days when writers limited themselves to pen and paper or relied solely on their linguistic flair are long gone. These days, content writers are expected to do more than just rack their creative brains to write stunning articles. They must also be proficient in digital arts, including essential skills such as search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing (SMM) and, surprisingly, coding.
Building on our previous exploration of importance of codingThis article delves deeper into why contemporary content writers should familiarize themselves with the basics of coding to improve their skills and gain lucrative job opportunities.
Five compelling reasons why content writers should learn to code
1. Personalize Content to Stand Out
A unique presentation is essential to distinguish a writer. With basic coding, content writers have more creative control over the aesthetic of their content. Whether it’s customizing a font style, choosing a particular color palette, or ensuring a responsive layout, coding provides the precision required for truly bespoke content.
2. Create dynamic and immersive stories
Rather than relying on standard embed codes for videos or other media content, coding knowledge allows copywriters to incorporate dynamic features that captivate readers and align well with the design and aesthetic overall content.
A great example of this interactive storytelling is The New York Times piece “Snowfall: the avalanche at Tunnel Creek“. This Pulitzer Prize-winning article mixes text, video and interactive graphics to tell the harrowing story of skiers trapped in an avalanche. He not only showcased the marriage of classical writing with digital interactivity, but also highlighted the power of interactive content, drawing more than 3.5 million visits in its first week.
3. Improve content discoverability with SEO
A writer’s mastery of SEO can increase the visibility of their content. Simple coding techniques, combined with knowledge of On-Page SEO Tactics, can significantly improve the performance of a website, thereby improving its search engine rankings. For example, a mastery of HTML allows writers to seamlessly integrate keywords into tags and create compelling meta descriptions, thereby expanding the digital reach of content.
Additionally, basic programming skills can reduce your site’s loading speed, which is an essential factor in keeping users engaged. Research by Pingdom highlights the importance of speed: sites load in less than two seconds a significantly reduced bounce rate of 9%while those that take five seconds to load see bounce rates jump up to 38%.
Additionally, writers savvy in coding can quickly diagnose and resolve technical issues like broken links or misdirected redirects, common culprits that negatively affect SEO. This skill set not only improves user experience but also strengthens the content’s position in the eyes of search engines.
4. Open new monetization avenues
Apart from this, editors can design tailor-made subscription boxes, gated content sections, or special offers, all of which entice readers to subscribe or engage more meaningfully with the content.
To further improve user engagement, writers with coding skills can also introduce and personalize chatbots. These intelligent robots can fulfill multiple rolesfrom guiding interactions to providing personalized responses and directing users to relevant content or promotions, thereby increasing user engagement and loyalty.
5. Improve career prospects
Coding is not just an additional skill; it is an important career accelerator. For content writers, mastering coding opens the door to advanced fields such as technical writing— creating tutorials, user guides, and manuals — and writing technical content, which involves tackling complex technical topics. These roles offer the opportunity to earn significantly more with the combined expertise in writing and technological acumen.
Glassdoor data for 2023 indicates that average salaries for technical writers and technical content writers are approximately US$82,235 And US$68,834respectively, far exceeding the average salary of a content writer of US$57,190. This gap highlights the value of coding knowledge in the writing industry.
Additionally, for freelancers or entrepreneurial writers, being able to manage and edit their own websites without relying on outside help can be a significant advantage. As the technology industry evolves rapidly, writers who can code find themselves better equipped to keep pace with the latest developments.
While the essence of storytelling remains central to content writers, the digital canvas requires a broader skill set. By embracing coding, writers can create, optimize, and interact with their content in ways once exclusive to IT developers. As automation and AI continue to advance, the fusion of human creativity and technological know-how will be among the most enduring and in-demand skills. By blending these fields, writers can not only sustain their careers but also expand their creative and entrepreneurial boundaries.
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