Arts, Audio/Video Technology & Communications

How to Become a Content Writer: Opportunities, Salary, Scope

Are you keen on lending a unique voice and perspective to an overworked topic? Limawapangla Aier, content writer with over 7 years of experience, discusses how to become a content writer.

how to become a content writer


1. Role of a Content Writer

Content creators are usually part of editorial teams, newspapers, magazines, and websites. They are also hired by e-commerce portals or even work non-digitally.

Good writing skills are the core to be successful as a contributor. But there are many layers to this profession. To be truly successful, one has to learn about different writing styles. Newsletters, white papers, blogging, and ad copy are some of the writing forms. Learning each style makes one stay in demand.

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I am a Content Writer with over six years of experience at various digital outlets, including CareerNuts.com. My strength as a writer is my versatility. I have written for a number of platforms related to business, technology, financial, health, beauty, fashion, real estate, and home decor. My educational qualifications are B. A. English and M. A. English, and I currently, oversee content across various online publications.

Contents: Jump to Section

1.1 Difference between Content Writer vs. Journalist
1.2 Is Content Writing a Good Career?
2.1 Subjects Taken
2.2 Academic Qualifications
2.3 Entrance Exams
2.4 License Required
2.5 Internship/ Work Experience Required
2.6 Cost of Tuition and Training
2.7 Competition
2.8 General Age to Start Professional Career for Content Writers
2.9 Governing Bodies
3.1 Specializations/ Sub-Professions
3.2 Companies & Institutions that Employ Content Writers
3.3 Growth Prospects
3.4 Entrepreneurship Opportunities
3.5 Salary Range
4.1 Top Universities in India
4.2 Top Universities in World
4.3 Famous Personalities
4.4 Useful Links

1.1 Difference between Content Writer vs. Journalist

Journalist- A journalist or reporter’s job is to bring news to the public regarding important events and issues. Their job demands them to do field reporting at times to research public records and other newsworthy information. Their line of study includes journalism or mass communication.

A content creator commonly works for different companies and pitch marketing campaigns. Their line of study includes English literature, public relations, and marketing.

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Journalists work on keeping the public up-to-date with the latest news and create trustworthy stories through original research, interviews, etc.  However, content writers often write about non-news topics like how-to blog posts, review listicles, and more. The work of journalists and reporters is more factual and less opinionated, whereas content writers often write personal opinions and experiences to make their pieces authentic.

1.2 Is Content Writing a Good Career?

Yes

If you are wondering whether this profession is a good career choice, then the answer is yes. The post of a Content Writer is a dignified one. It depends on how you channel your writing skills to the right platform. There is a huge scope for students and aspiring writers with good vocabulary and writing capabilities to succeed.

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2. How to Become a Content Writer

2.1.1 Courses Taken at School

Specialized programs are not available at schools. However, both arts, science, and commerce streams cover a general education in English subject. If you are wondering how to become a content writer, these are the subjects you should start with.

Also, subjects like linguistics, computer, creative writing, and education would be ideal for those interested in content writing.

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2.1.2 Courses Taken in College: Content Writing Subjects

There are several courses offered in colleges. Some of the courses taken in college, which can be helpful for those students wondering about how to become a content writer.

  • English
  • Journalism
  • Mass Communications
  • Marketing
  • Business Writing
  • Technical Writing
  • General (English) Writing
  • Creative Writing
  • Linguistics
  • Digital Communications
  • New Media/ Social Media
  • Public Relations
  • Advertising
  • Blogging

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2.2 Entrance Exam

No, but depending on the course that you choose, there will be an entrance exam or cut-off criteria.

Some colleges or universities have a cut-off percentage based on your 12th marks, while others may conduct a qualifying or admission test.

2.3.1 Academic Qualifications/ Degree Required

A particular degree is not required to become a content writer, as you just need excellent writing skills and a good portfolio of writing samples. However, a majority of the companies look for a degree in English, journalism, or mass communication. So a Bachelor’s degree in English, Journalism, Communications, Marketing, or related field is a good idea.

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You can choose to study a similar program or take up a related course. I did B.A and M.A in English Literature. In addition, I obtained a Diploma in Creative Writing.

2.3.2 Postgraduate Degree Requirements/ Options

The postgraduate degree options are M.A English or M.A. Journalism and Mass Communication degree.

Some of the top companies that hire content writers prefer candidates with a bachelor’s degree with a related specialization. Of course, a master’s or a Ph.D. degree is not mandatory but is an added advantage.

Many universities in India and abroad offer a Master’s in English or Master’s in Journalism. But there are companies that consider candidates with a graduate degree alone. There is no right or wrong way of looking at it. A job experience also helps in the long run and helps you gain entrepreneurial skills. It is completely upon you to decide what works for you or in some cases, the organizations’ requirements.

2.4 License Required

No.

In India, there are some business or trade licenses offered to become a freelance writer. However, there is no government-mandated license required in order to become a content writer.

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2.5 Internship/ Work Experience Required

Optional, but really helpful.

While it’s completely possible to become a content writer without any internship or work experience, it will be an added advantage when you are first applying for jobs. It will not only enhance your writing skills, but expand your knowledge in diverse fields. An internship is a great way of learning how an editorial department functions, and it’ll give you the opportunity to get your first work published.

You can learn about infographics, the importance of SEO to boost traffic, video and image editing. Getting trained in content writing will also improve your command of the language. You can be trained on the right usage of grammar, sentence construction, and structuring. This will help you understand the different ways of writing.

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On a larger scale, an internship will allow one to decide whether this particular field works for you. You can get an idea of how you can best utilize your own skill sets and strengths and whether this career path will be of interest to you in the future. And most importantly, a successful internship may also pave the way for a permanent job offer.

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But an internship is not altogether compulsory. A fresher with excellent writing skills is also eligible to apply for a content writer position.

2.6 Tuition and Training

₹10,000 -5 lakhs; depending on the college.

A full-time B.A. English and M.A. English admission can cost anywhere between ₹10000 -5 lakh per year, depending on the reputation of the institute and whether it is private or government.

At a top-tier government college, the fees for a full-time B.A. English is somewhere around ₹12,000-20,000 per year, and is similar for M.A. English. If you’re going to be staying at a hostel, the total fees at government colleges runs around ₹35,000 per academic year. However, the fees increase drastically at private institutions.

2.7 Competition for Content Writing in India

High for admission in top government colleges, low for private colleges. Higher competition for jobs at reputed publications.

The competition for college entrance will depend on institution to institution. If you’re looking to take admission for this line of profession, the allotted seats may be limited, depending on the college.

If you wish to get through the best colleges, you need to prep yourself in advance for the entrance. The best colleges both in India and abroad, have limited seats. So it’s a good idea to aim for 90% or higher in your 12th, especially if you’re aiming for the top-tier government institutions.

The competition is tough for the job scene, especially for high-paying jobs at reputed websites and publications. Content writing as a career is becoming popular amongst graduates. Students graduating from reputed colleges have a better chance to get an entry-level job through college placements. Hiring content writers are in high demand nowadays, so it is a highly competitive field too, and the competition will only increase in the coming years.

2.8 General Age to Start Professional Career for Content Writers

Typically, at least a bachelor’s degree, and some work experience in the form of internship, etc. is required to become a Content Writer. The ideal age to start a professional career as a content writer will be 21-24 years. Companies are open to hiring graduates holding a similar degree of specialization. However, you can start a part-time internship even in your early college years.

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2.9 Governing Body


Content writers are independent and as such, there is no government authority to exercise control over them in India.

3. Professional Opportunities/ Career Growth for Content Writers

3.1 Specializations/ Sub-Professions

If you are thinking how to become a content writer, then you can take up some professional courses. Here are the names of sub-professions or specializations:

  • Blogging
  • Social Media Manager
  • Editor
  • Technical writer
  • Social Media writer
  • Ad writer

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Other than this, content writers can also develop expertise or specializations through experience in the following fields:

  • Fashion content writer
  • New reporting and blogging
  • Tech blogging
  • Home & Lifestyle
  • Politics
  • Sports
  • Opinion writers and many more

3.2 Companies & Institutions that Employ Content Writers

Advertising and media, digital marketing & SEO, and eCommerce companies are the top institutions that hire content writers. Examples include Times Internet, Mattsen Kumar, Myntra, Zoho, etc. Other than these, small internet media firms, websites & blogs also hire content creators.

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3.3 Growth Prospects

Fresh graduates can start as Content Writer interns. They can get the position of Content Writer, and then be promoted into management or editorial roles after 3-4 years of experience. Other senior positions include Director of Digital Marketing, Editor, Head of Content or Social Media Manager. Or they can fully go independent by becoming a published author, blogger, or freelance writer. It will depend on how fast you grow your skills over the years.

3.4 Entrepreneurship Opportunities

Professionals can explore their options to push their ideas, build an idea that people wish to read, and a business approach that ranks them at the top. In short, their work has to create an impact. For example, a content writer has a choice to become a published author or independent publisher. But just like the question- how to become a content writer, how does an author establish themselves?

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A newly turned author cannot be considered an entrepreneur unless they finish their manuscript and build their business plan that will appeal to the masses.

As authors, they can come up with new ideas for a book. Create a draft and send it across to editors and qualified proofreaders for editing. They are expected to pay for book design & production and create a business structure to pull in readers. Once the book is published, they earn a name as authors and also generate income.

Blogging is another idea to go the entrepreneurial way. Nowadays, many people are turning towards building their own blog or starting their YouTube channel. A blog is a great platform for writers to share their personal opinions. Whereas, a vlog is a short form of content explained through a video. Both forms are extremely popular and can a great way to earn income. Many bloggers are also incorporating vlogs to make their platform relevant.

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All in all, these platforms or mediums are a good way on how to become a content writer and build revenue. You will be successful to the users as long as you stay engaging, original, and relevant.

3.5 Salary Range


On an average, it’s 1.8-2.4 lacs per annum for freshers.

A fresher or a BA graduate with relevant specialization can get anything above ₹4 lacs p.a., especially with a master’s degree. After 1-2 years of experience, it is possible for content writers to earn ₹5-9 lacs p.a.

4. Further Resources

4.1 Top Universities in India

Several colleges and universities offer the best courses in English literature and mass communication. Various institutions also offer related diploma courses. Here are the best universities in India that offer internship programs and placements.

a) Faculty of Management Studies, New Delhi
b) St. Stephens College, Delhi University
c) Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore
d) Miranda House, Delhi University
e) Loyola College, Chennai
f) St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai
g) Sophia College for Women, Mumbai
h) Hindu College, Delhi University

4.2 Top Universities in World

a) Brown University
b) Yale University
c) Duke University
d) Princeton University
e) Harvard University
f) Columbia University
g) Carleton University
h) Cornell University
g) Stanford University
h) University of Oxford

4.3 Famous Personalities

  • Matt De La Peña
  • Brad Meltzer
  • J.K. Rowling
  • Akilah Hughes

4.4 Useful Links

a) Lisa Bu

b) Maisie Williams

c) Rihanna’s Speech at Harvard University
d) How language shapes the way we think | Lera Boroditsky
e) Gitanjali Rao: Meet TIME’s First-Ever Kid of the Year | TIME
f) Ann Makosinski: From Tinkering to Invention
g) Malala Yousafzai: Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech

Content Writing Career: Is it Right for You?

Now that you are clear about how to become a content writer, you may be wondering if you should take up content writing? From learning about what it takes to be a professional in this field, here is everything you need to know about content writing career path.

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