Do you ever wonder who the people are creating the content that populates the entire internet? Or how the article that answers your exact question pops up on the first page of a search engine? Well, the answer, among many other folks behind the scenes, is content editors.
They’re the ones who are ensuring website content is not only correct but that your search engine of choice understands the main point of the article so it can be found easily. If that fascinates you, read on for more about the content editor role.
What Is a Content Editor?
A content editor is ultimately responsible for the content that is published. While the exact job description can vary based on the specific organization, a content editor is the one to edit the website or print content substantially. However, they may also develop content ideas, assign stories, and do other editorial tasks, like writing and fact-checking.
What Does a Content Editor Do?
A content editor will make the most significant amount of edits to a piece of content. Basically, they are the first pair of eyes on website content and will add questions and comments or suggest rewrites to ensure the content is high-quality. They also look to optimize content for SEO, format it for readability, and do a basic check for grammar and spelling errors.
As the title suggests, the biggest role of a content editor is to, well, edit. To break it down even further, a content editor will consider grammar, spelling, word choice, style of writing, format, factual accuracy, and relevance. The content edit is the big edit, the one where major changes are made before it gets passed on to a copy editor or proofreader for a final check.
With so much content being consumed on the internet, search engine optimization (SEO) has become part of the content editor job description. There are a variety of tools available that perform keyword research, some free and others paid. A few to consider getting familiar with are Moz, SEMRush, and Ahrefs. In general, these tools give you a report that includes similar keywords, their search volume, and how high the competition is for that keyword based on the initial keyword you entered. That way, you can use the information to decide which keywords to go after (hint: try low competition first).
Ideally, keyword research is done prior to writing any piece of content and even informs web content topics. So then, when an editor receives a piece, they can review and ensure that the writer included the relevant keywords they were given and they follow best practices for SEO. That way, they are creating SEO content to reach as many readers as possible.
Something an SEO content editor might do is go back through previously published pieces and optimize content for SEO. This includes doing additional keyword research and rewriting the pieces to include relevant keywords.
These days, SEO is an important part of the digital content editor job description. Without SEO, you’re not reaching as many readers or the readers that are interested in what you’re writing about.
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How to Become a Content Editor
There isn’t one direct path to becoming a content editor. While you could get a relevant degree, you could also complete relevant work experience or SEO courses.
Many people who end up choosing a career in content editing will earn degrees in the communications or media fields. However, English degrees or creative writing degrees are also relevant. Ultimately, it’s all about learning writing and communication skills that you can leverage in your future job as a content editor.
Whether you earn a degree or not, work experience is vital to landing a content editing job. This could be an unpaid position like an editor on a student paper or an internship. There’s a big difference between studying something and actually doing it, so future employers will want to see that you have real, tangible experience in the field.
With SEO becoming such an important part of a digital content editor’s job, it can be helpful to take a course or two to get a solid understanding of the basics. There are many free options out there, and you’ll walk away understanding keyword research and tactics that you can use to optimize the web content you’ll be editing.
Average Content Editor Salary
On average, a website content editor makes around $52,000. However, the range for a content editor salary is $41,000 to $75,000 depending on experience, location, and other factors.
Content Editor Jobs
Jobs for Agency Content Editors
Content marketing has risen in popularity and effectiveness in recent years, forcing marketing agencies to take note. So, with a content marketing offering comes the need for an online content editor. In these types of roles, you’ll be working on various clients’ content, so it would be good for someone who likes to mix up the audience and type of content they work on while sticking to the basics of content editing.
Jobs for In-House Content Editors
As an in-house content editor, you’ll be responsible for editing and optimizing website content for the brand or business you work for. If it’s a publication, the job will be slightly different than if you’re working on a brand with a blog, for example. But, again, the basics of editing and creating SEO content still apply.
Jobs for Freelance Content Editors
Freelance editing can be a viable and lucrative option, especially if you have a few years of experience under your belt and a decent network in the industry. Some brands know they need content but don’t have the budget to create an entire team, so they’ll hire a freelance web content editor instead. As a freelancer, you can niche down to work as an SEO content editor, for example. You can also set your own rates (no need to stick to the digital content editor salary band).
Jobs for Remote Content Editors
As with most editorial-focused jobs, a content editor job can be done remotely with a good internet connection. A content editor who works remotely will need to be extra mindful of their communication with clients—those skills are vital for any good content editor anyway!
Land Your Dream Content Editor Job!
If you dream of becoming a content editor, or hope to pivot your career into content editing, do your research, take a course (or two!) on SEO and website optimization, and then dive in! Try to find a few freelance gigs to get your feet wet, or reach out to contacts you have in the industry for advice. Wherever you are on your journey to becoming a content editor, it’s time to get started!
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