Content writers are the people who fill the world with words, whether it is  internet web pages, leaflets, newsletters, blogs, magazines, press releases and everything else that requires writing. Content writers are required for writing advertisement, campaigning slogans, TV commercials, brochures and many more things. Content writers have been there for a long time, and have been called different names in the past, being scribers, copywriters or Slaves of the Pen. The internet is always hungry for new and refreshing content to be read by the billions of people online and hence content writing is one of the most sought after profession when it comes to modern day writing.

As we progressed from writing with quill and ink and are moving swiftly towards bringing the global digital revolution, the internet has become home to most of the content being produced today for the whole world to read. All the newspapers and magazines have online portals, and the e-books have had the bookworms swarming the internet to find their favorite books. But writing for the internet is not exactly as you would write for a publisher, as the internet has its own language which is known as HTML (Hypertext Markup Language). All the websites on the internet basically comprise of the HTML, and thus the content that goes into these websites needs to be in HTML format too. Whether it is a website or a blog, managing the content on these websites has become much easier with the integration of CMS (content management system such as WordPress and October CMS) and which makes a step easier for the content writers, hence they need to know just the basics of HTML and have workaround knowledge of it to provide the kind of organized content required.

Being a content writer without acute knowledge of HTML and publishing your content online can be disastrous because:

  • Copying and pasting your content directly from Word into the content management software will generate a markup that will be meaningless. Although your article may seem alright, but the search engines such as Google and Bing won’t be able to understand it.
  • You take the effort to make a title or a heading stand out from the rest of the content and change its size and color. The visual effect may seem like what you desired but it won’t make sense in coding.
  • Any other person who has to edit your content will have a lot of trouble to do it since the top level headings would be messed up.
  • When you decide to change your content management system (CMS), your content won’t be ported into the other one without significant errors.

Due to these reasons, for all medium and top level content editors and content writers are required to possess knowledge of HTML since it has become a basic necessity. Although most companies have HTM-savvy content editor to help convert those entire Word document content into HTML format for the internet, there are some places in the content where it is not their responsibility for adding the online content.

Knowing HTML is good for you

The problem for content writers who have no knowledge of HTML does not arise when they write and post their content online. The nightmare beings when the websites needs to modified, whether it the design template, content format or the whole website needs to be revamped. If the content is not coded properly in HTML, the content would need a lot of work done by you too (since you’re the one who will have to make the changes to the content). That is when a well coded content will come in handy and be truly appreciated by the content manager as well as the website developer and will save you a lot of hassle in the future.

Fig: HTML Tag example

For example: Imagine that you have styled all your headings manually with the color and size specific to the website.

<p style=“color:#D9671C; font-size:14px;”>This is the heading</p>

Now when the website owner and web developer decide to change the look and feel of the website, you will have to change every single heading, including their color and size to match the new look of the website. This work would be gruesome work for you including hours of work changing the color and size of each of the headings.

However, if you had coded the headings using h2, h3, h4 and so on, like this –

<h2>This is the heading</h2>

And provided the color and size of the text in the CSS file like this –

h2 {color:#D9671C; font-size:14px; }

All you would need to do is change your CSS file; choose the color and font required according to the website and voila. All of your content would be changed accordingly. This not only makes your job much easier, but also makes your well coded content work stand out of the ordinary.

Why basic HTML should be taught in school?

Just like students are required to select  a secondary language of their choice, they should be given the option to learn basic HTML as a language too. HTML is the language of the internet, and basic knowledge of this language has become important because not only web developers, web designers and software developers need it, but professions such as content editors and content writers need to learn it too. Content writers are required in every field, be it medicine, law, academics, sports, lifestyle, journalism or science. This enhances the demand for all those people who know their way with words even more.

Students have learnt how to use the 20th century Word in the 21st century computer classes, so why keep them away from the much simpler basic HTML language? There are many aspiring writers and the youth who love writing and love sharing their work online, creating blogs and websites making the internet a larger interactive hub. For all these present generation, as well as the aspiring content writers, acute HTML knowledge will be the basic requirement to reach out to the masses with their words.

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