Much of freelance web content writing involves researching topics with which you have no prior knowledge. If you’re just starting out, this can seem impossibility difficult. However, I’ve developed a simple system to streamline the research process for a short keyword article.
For example, say my assignment is to write 5 articles about airsoft guns at 500 words per article. That’s it-there are no other specific details about the topic that my client has given me.
First, I ask myself “What the heck is an airsoft gun?” A quick Google search reveals that airsoft guns are used for playing paintball. I spend a few minutes skimming through the first paintball article I find to get a quick overview of the sport.
Then, I quickly brainstorm some questions that a buyer might have about airsoft guns. Since the prime paintball market is teenage boys and young adult males, I try to approach the questions from this perspective.
• What features are found on an airsoft gun?
• Do airsoft guns have accessories that I might need?
• Why do I need an airsoft gun to play paintball?
• How much does a gun typically cost?
• Are they safe to use?
• How do you use an airsoft gun?
• Is it easy enough for a child to operate or does it require some skill?
• How do I care for my airsoft gun to keep it in top condition?
• Where can I buy an airsoft gun?
• Are there state/local laws relating to the use of airsoft guns?
Once I’ve got my list of questions, I think about what my client’s interests are. Most web developers want “evergreen” content that can be posted for a long time period. So, writing about specific prices is probably not a great idea. However, I could probably include general cost ranges or product descriptions.
Since web content writers generally don’t get paid by the hour, I usually toss out ideas that are going to require too much research. For example, the legal angle is a good idea, but it’s too labor intensive for a simple project like this.
This leaves features, accessories, safety, care, and operation procedures as general topic ideas. That’s 5 different areas, so I decide to answer one question per article and add overlapping information as appropriate. Again, I go back to Google for my research. I combine “airsoft guns” with various keyword queries to find the answer to my questions.
I write my first draft of each article quickly, not thinking too much about sentence structure, grammar, etc. Getting hung up on perfection is a great way to make a lousy hourly rate. Remember, this isn’t an academic research paper or a full-length book proposal! Your primary goal is to run a profitable business.
After I’ve written the first draft for each of the five articles, I take a short 5-10 minute break to “recharge” my brain. Then, I edit each article to improve clarity and fix any spelling or grammatical errors. When I edit, I also make an effort to use the words “airsoft guns” about once per paragraph, with the first usage being as close to the beginning of the article as possible.
Like any other skill, keyword article writing gets easier with practice. However, having a clear plan for your work will drastically increase your earning potential.