Creating good marketing content is a surprisingly nuanced process. Writing content for the web might seem straightforward at first, but sitting down in front of a blank Google document can be intimidating.

The more you think about content marketing, the more complex it becomes. After all, the articles you produce will ideally achieve several objectives. They’ll be optimized for search engines, while also being engaging for readers and aligned with a company’s overall marketing strategy.

So how do you turn an empty canvas into something that will fulfill multiple goals at once? That’s the real question behind content marketing, and it can be a little daunting.

There’s no need to worry, though. Take it from a longtime writer who’s blogged about everything from industrial labeling to Australian estate law: Once you’ve figured out some helpful, personalized practices, objective-based writing becomes a lot easier.

Every person is a little different, which means there’s no universally relevant set of content writing best practices. With that said, there are a few constants in this field, and acknowledging them can help you unlock your potential and deliver great content, all without getting too stressed out.

The Real Objective: Don’t Burn Out

There’s a difference between writing a blog post and making a life writing blog posts. That difference: If you only need to write a single blog post, you don’t really have to worry about pacing yourself or managing your time. If you want to turn content creation into a career, however, your real goal is to keep the great articles coming without hitting a proverbial wall.

All the major strategies around professional content creation address this matter — staying motivated and avoiding burnout — in either a direct or indirect way. It’s the big objective underlying everything from how you structure your day to the way you plan out each individual piece.

Content writing for an agency can be a fun and rewarding job. You’re always learning something new and creating something with a real objective, a piece that can have a material impact on a company’s marketing performance.

To get to that point, where content marketing is a fun and engaging exercise instead of a challenge, it pays to build good habits. These apply to every part of your routine, including:

  • Planning out your day.
  • Writing various kinds of content.
  • Handling content marketing duties beyond writing.

Each of those elements is important and worth delving into. If you can master them all, you’ll find that the content marketing life is a rewarding one.

Part One: Planning Your Day

If days had an infinite number of hours in them, or if no one ever worried about deadlines, content marketing would be a breeze. That’s not the world we live in, however, so you’ll have to figure out the best possible use of your time to become the ultimate content creator.

Here are a few ways we experienced writers divide up our days to stay on track:

  • Draw up a plan: At Brafton, our days are divided into “units.” We’re all trying to produce a specific amount of work for our clients, and getting to that goal is the key to organizing our days. To begin every day, we look at what we have scheduled — what will it take to get us to our objective over the next eight hours? What looks hard? What’s straightforward by comparison? With a clear look at the hours to come, it’s simpler to prioritize some assignments and set a pace through the day.
  • Know your assignments: No two clients are the same for a content writer. Some prefer a certain type of formatting and others always like their articles delivered at a specific time of day. Understanding which customers need what and when helps a writer keep an even pace through the day, handling every assignment according to its priority.
  • Prioritize different types of content: Some writers will find certain types of work easier to do. Maybe that means crafting blog posts or laying out the text for an infographic or editing another writer’s work. Knowing yourself as a creative professional is a good time-management hack. Then you can set aside more hours for the jobs you know will be extra-challenging.
  • Understand your own clock: Some people thrive during morning hours, while others are most energized in the afternoon. There’s no right or wrong way to block out our day. The real key is to choose an arrangement that works for you — if you’re not up for writing first thing in the morning, for example, set that time aside for checking email or editing your peers’ work, rather than doing nothing.

Once you’ve got a handle on your daily routine, it’s time to think more critically about the crux of a writer’s role: creating the content itself.

Part Two: Writing Great Content

The actual content creation process is the crux of the writer’s art. Even if you’re great at managing your day, it’s all for naught if the blog posts, white papers, infographics and other deliverables you’re producing don’t hit their marks.

These tips will help you produce work that makes your audience sit up and take notice:

  • Write from a place of understanding: Do you really know what you’re talking about or are you just putting words on a page? If you truly understand your subject matter, that makes for better content every time. Learning about a new field takes extra time, but it’s worth it in the end. Writing about something you really grasp will come across to your readers — and it’s what sets you apart from generative AI.
  • Break your long pieces down: Writing a long, in-depth article is a great way to get the attention of Google’s algorithm, but how do you stay on task when creating such extensive articles? The answer often lies in the way you break the document down, inserting subheadings to carve the big blank document into something more manageable.
  • Embrace an appropriate persona: Who are you writing as, and what’s your target audience? By answering these questions early in the writing process, you can get in the right idiom, choosing a tone that makes sense to your readers and gets your message across. Some brands are formal, others are casual, but they all have distinct voices worth capturing.
  • Shape your words to the content type: The brand’s voice is just one of the factors that will shape your approach to content creation. Another is the type of deliverable. For example, infographics thrive when they’re dominated by data points rather than wordy paragraphs, while search engine-optimized blog posts often demand lengthier, more detailed copy.

Planning your time effectively and writing great articles are key parts of the content marketer’s art, but there’s another hidden set of skills to master. To truly thrive in this field, you’ll need to learn how to perform actions that go beyond content writing.

Part Three: Doing Everything Else

Being a writer doesn’t just mean putting words on (digital) paper. There are plenty of extra roles that come with being an expert content marketer, and mastering these skills can be just as important as authoring new articles.

These are a few of the day-to-day best practices writers at Brafton learn to embrace:

  • Stay in touch with your managers: There’s an image of writers as singular creatives working away in isolation. Ideally, this isn’t true. Content agency writing work is at its best when everyone is communicating. If something challenging arises, or an unexpected difficulty appears, it’s best to reach out to team leaders for support.
  • Set reasonable goals for yourself: It’s tempting for writers to try and solve every problem that comes their way. This isn’t the job, however. The job is to write good content. For anything beyond that, it’s best to work with others. Content marketing agencies are made up of more than writers — collaborating with project managers and account managers is the best way to resolve difficulties.
  • Learn how to talk to your clients: While writers aren’t customers’ main point of contact with content marketing agencies, we do have a unique perspective. This means it’s worthwhile to learn how to engage directly with clients, learning their likes and dislikes directly and asking probing questions that will help with content creation.
  • Figure out tasks other than writing: There’s more to a writer’s day than writing. This might mean editing peers’ work, conducting search engine research, interviewing subject matter experts or one of an endless variety of other roles. Every individual is better suited to some tasks than others, so it’s worth considering your own preferences and setting aside an appropriate amount of time for your extra roles.

A well-rounded content writer is someone who has internalized all the tasks that go into a standard day and used that experience to build a suitable and ever-adaptable agenda. With a little self-reflection, this could be you.

Future-Proof Yourself

Perhaps the most important content writer best practice to learn is that nothing is set in stone. While 10 years ago, companies’ primary objective was to produce as many short, timely blog posts as possible, today’s strategies favor long, detailed articles.

Every change to the Google algorithm brings new objectives for writers and a resulting change in daily routines. This means if you’re aspiring to a role in content marketing, you should be adaptable and plugged into the latest updates.

There are a few tenets that will always hold true, however. To last in this field, you have to find a work cadence that suits your unique preferences, while also hitting the mark for your clients. Hopefully, we’ve given you some inspiration to help you reach this happy medium and turn content marketing into a fulfilling job.