5 Simple Steps to Becoming a Content Writing Chameleon

Method acting is defined as a “technique an actor uses for emotional identification with a part.”

It may involve radically altering one’s appearance or personality, similar to the way a chameleon changes to fit its surroundings.

And while there’s no such thing as “method content writing,” there should be.

Freelance content writers are hired to be chameleons. Because client preferences vary, freelancers must be prepared to change tone and style based on the client and project.

So how do you make a “quick change”? Here are some tricks that help successful writers creatively adjust to each writing project.

  1. Mind your sentence length. Complex sentences with dependent clauses galore are acceptable for academic or technical pieces. But if you’re trying to sell to or humor your audience with content writing, keep sentences short. Here’s an example: “Despite our valiant efforts of rehabilitation, the aged vehicle failed to turn over upon ignition” becomes, “We tried, but the old car wouldn’t start.”
  2. Get your person in order. For a more formal piece, it may be preferable to refer to “the reader” or “the stakeholder.” Less formal projects can jump right to addressing “you.” (As in, “Here are some sources you might want to check out.”)
  3. Take cues from your editor. What are his or her emails like? Formal and grammatical, or short and witty? This is a clue to your editor’s expectations.
  4. Use your writing skills to compliment the material. If the subject matter is dry, consider adding some wit. If it is edgy or controversial, put some reins on the language to keep the project on the rails.
  5. Plan ahead. Take time to outline your strategy before sitting down to write. Classify some of your best pieces by tone and style, and use them as examples of best practices. Mixing styles within the same piece will lead to extra rewriting work (and perhaps no work at all!).

About the author

Tracey S is a former trade editor (editorial director, Customer Interaction Solutions magazine) turned freelance business content writer. She has written material (both bylined articles and ghost-written material or staff editorial) for a wide variety of clients, including those offering content in business software, telecommunications services and equipment, manufacturing and industrial design, aerospace, 3D printing and additive manufacturing, materials science, smart grid/smart city initiatives and green energy. Her background is in marketing, which dovetails nicely with content creation, search engine optimization and sales/marketing enablement.


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