The Synergy of Skills: Why Content Writers Should Learn to Code?

Why-Content-Writers-Should-Learn-to-Code

From ink to algorithms, the writer’s quill is evolving.

Long gone are the days when writers were confined to pen and paper or solely reliant on linguistic flair. Nowadays, content writers are expected to do more than just rack their creative brains to craft astounding write-ups. They must also be proficient in the digital arts, including essential skills such as search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing (SMM) and, surprisingly, coding.

Building on our previous exploration of the importance of coding, this article delves further into why contemporary content writers should familiarize themselves with the basics of coding to enhance their competencies and secure lucrative job opportunities. 

Five compelling reasons content writers should learn to code

1. Customizing content to stand out

Coding skills can help enhance your content’s uniqueness and appeal.
Image Courtesy of Freepik

Unique presentation is pivotal in setting a writer apart. With basic coding, content writers have more creative control over the aesthetics of their content. Whether customizing a font style, choosing a particular color palette or ensuring a responsive design layout, coding provides the precision required for truly bespoke content.

While platforms like WordPress offer a plethora of preset themes, it’s the writer’s touch of coding languages like HTML, CSS and JavaScript that transcends these templates, transforming standard pages into unique online experiences. 

2. Crafting dynamic, immersive stories 

In an era where readers seek engaging experiences, static text falls flat. With knowledge of languages like JavaScript, writers can break traditional storytelling boundaries. They can weave interactive elements like embedded videos, audio snippets, animations, polls and quizzes into their narratives, transforming the reading experience into an active journey rather than a passive activity. 

Rather than relying on standard embed codes for videos or other multimedia, coding knowledge allows writers to incorporate dynamic features that captivate readers and align well with the content’s overall design and aesthetics. 

The New York Times piece “Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek” incorporates interactive elements to narrate the story of skiers trapped in an avalanche.
Source: The New York Times

One excellent example of this interactive storytelling is The New York Times piece “Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek”. This Pulitzer Prize-winning article blended text, video and interactive graphics to narrate a harrowing story of skiers trapped in an avalanche. It not only showcased the marriage of classic writing with digital interactivity but also underscored the power of interactive content, drawing over 3.5 million visits in its debut week

3. Enhancing content discoverability through SEO

Coding knowledge can enhance your website’s SEO performance. 
Image Courtesy of Envato

A writer’s mastery of SEO can elevate their content visibility. Simple coding techniques, combined with knowledge of on-page SEO tactics, can significantly improve a website’s performance, thus boosting its ranking on search engines. For instance, a command of HTML allows writers to weave keywords seamlessly into tags and craft compelling meta descriptions, broadening the content’s digital reach.

Moreover, basic programming proficiency can lower your site’s loading speed, which is a critical factor in keeping users engaged. Research conducted by Pingdom underscores the importance of speed: sites loading in less than two seconds experience a significantly reduced bounce rate of 9%, whereas those taking five seconds to load see bounce rates soar to 38%. 

Furthermore, writers versed in coding can swiftly diagnose and mend technical issues like broken links or misdirected redirects—common culprits that negatively affect SEO. This skill set not only enhances the user experience but also strengthens the content’s standing in the eyes of search engines. 

4. Unlocking new avenues for monetization

Knowing how to code allows content writers to explore new monetization opportunities.
Image Courtesy of Freepik

Today’s digital content landscape brims with monetization opportunities beyond traditional advertising. With coding, writers can craft interactive content that not only engages but also sells. Instead of static banner ads, writers can create interactive ads or elements that engage users. This usually requires knowledge of languages like JavaScript.

Apart from that, writers can design tailor-made subscription boxes, locked content sections or special offers—all of which serve as incentives for readers to subscribe or interact more meaningfully with the content.

Enhancing user engagement further, writers with coding skills can also introduce and personalize chatbots. These intelligent bots can serve multiple roles, from guiding interactions to providing tailored responses and directing users to relevant content or promotions, thereby deepening user engagement and loyalty.

From developing subscription models to creating engaging chatbots that offer personalized user interactions, coding opens up a spectrum of monetization possibilities. A little knowledge of JavaScript, Python or Java can go a long way in bringing these innovative ideas to fruition.

5. Boosting career prospects 

With coding knowledge, content writers can enter new mountains like technical writing or technical content writing.
Image Courtesy of Freepik

Coding isn’t just an added skill; it’s a significant career booster. For content writers, mastering coding opens the gateway to advanced fields such as technical writing—crafting tutorials, user guides and manuals—and technical content writing, which involves delving into complex tech topics. These roles offer the opportunity to earn substantially more due to the combined expertise of writing and technological acumen.

Glassdoor’s 2023 data indicates that the average salaries for technical writers and technical content writers stand at approximately US$82,235 and US$68,834, respectively, significantly surpassing the average content writer’s salary of US$57,190. This discrepancy underscores the value of coding knowledge in the writing industry.

Moreover, for freelancers or entrepreneurial writers, being able to manage and modify their own websites without relying on external help can be a significant advantage. With the tech industry evolving rapidly, writers who can code find themselves better equipped to keep pace with the latest developments.

Final thoughts 

While the essence of storytelling remains central for content writers, the digital canvas calls for a broader skill set. By embracing coding, writers can create, optimize and engage with their content in ways once exclusive to IT developers. As automation and AI continue to advance, the fusion of human creativity with technological know-how will be among the most durable and in-demand skill sets. By blending these domains, writers can not only future-proof their careers but also expand their creative and entrepreneurial frontiers. 

Also read: 

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