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Challenges and Opportunities in Bangladesh’s Content Writing Industry: A Qualitative Exploration

Wahid bin Ahsan, Md. Tanvir Hasan, Danilson Placid Purification, Nilim Ahsan, Naima Haque Numa, Mostain Billa Tusar

Department of Human-centered Design
Userhub, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Abstract

This research provides a qualitative, in-depth exploration of the content writing industry in Bangladesh, identifying prevalent trends, challenges, and growth potential. The study utilizes data from 44 participants, which include content writers and clients with diverse levels of industry experience, collected via online surveys and detailed interviews. Key findings suggest that while the industry is marked by a high demand for unique, engaging, and SEO-optimized content, issues pertaining to AI’s role, market saturation, and remuneration concerns persist. Despite these challenges, strategies for success emerged, such as continuous learning, effective client-writer communication, and strategic use of AI and social media tools. The study highlights the industry’s considerable potential for growth and recommends enhancing skill sets, promoting clear communication, creating unique value propositions, and encouraging supportive industry-wide policies. The study also signals future research directions, including the exploration of AI’s impact, pay practices, professional development programs, and the differential roles of social media platforms.

Keywords: Content Writing, Content Marketing, Bangladesh, Freelance Writers, Content Writing Industry, Professional Development, Skill Enhancement, Artificial Intelligence, AI.

Introduction

The advent of digital transformation has introduced notable shifts across numerous industries, especially in terms of communication and marketing strategies. A key element within this transformation is content creation and writing, which serves as an essential facet of digital marketing (Susanti & Ananda, 2022). The burgeoning growth of the global digital marketing industry has correspondingly fueled a rising demand for content writing services, leading to a significant expansion of the content writing industry. This growth trend is exemplified by the content marketing industry, which was valued at roughly 63 billion U.S. dollars in 2022 and projected to grow to 107 billion by 2026 (Dencheva, 2023).

Situated against this backdrop of a flourishing global industry, our study focuses on the content writing industry in Bangladesh. As a burgeoning digital economy, Bangladesh offers a unique context to examine this global phenomenon at a national level. Our research pivots around the critical question: “What are the challenges and opportunities in the content writing industry in Bangladesh, and how can the perspectives and experiences of both content writers and clients be integrated to enhance professional development?” This central inquiry branches into several interrelated themes, such as prevalent trends, common challenges, effective success strategies, and the influence of social media on the industry.

To achieve these objectives, our study adopts a qualitative research approach, supplemented by demographic data for descriptive purposes. We collect primary data through comprehensive surveys and in-depth interviews with key stakeholders, thereby providing a nuanced and rich understanding of the industry’s dynamics.

The insights gleaned from this research bear significance as they have the potential to stimulate positive transformations and foster professional growth within Bangladesh’s content writing industry. The subsequent sections of this report will detail our research methodology, present our findings, discuss their implications, and conclude with strategic recommendations for industry stakeholders.

Methodology

This research adopted a qualitative case study design to explore the intricate dynamics of the content writing industry in Bangladesh. This approach facilitated an in-depth understanding of the experiences and practices of individuals involved in this industry, including content writers and clients.

Sampling: Participants were primarily recruited from the “Content Writers in Bangladesh” Facebook group, which boasts over 50,000 members. An open invitation was posted in the group, encouraging interested members to participate in the study. Following this, a detailed screening process was implemented to select active members of the content writing industry in Bangladesh. We particularly ensured diversity in experience levels, ranging from novices with less than a year of experience to seasoned professionals with over a decade in the industry, especially for the selection of in-depth interview participants.

Demographic Data Collection: In response to the open invitation, prospective participants were asked to provide demographic data via a Google Form. This data included age, gender, level of education, employment status, years of experience in the industry, primary job role, industry or sector focus, and geographical base. This information helped us understand the participant pool’s heterogeneity and ensured a comprehensive representation of the content writing industry in Bangladesh.

Selection and Interview of Participants: From the initial pool of 44 respondents, 15 were purposively selected for semi-structured interviews. This selection was guided by a combination of their unique insights, range of experiences, and their availability for in-depth discussions.

Data Analysis: The interview data was transcribed and subjected to qualitative content analysis using Braun & Clarke’s (2006) method. This involved coding, categorizing, and continually re-examining the data to discern patterns and themes, facilitated by ATLAS.ti [1] software. The data was independently analyzed by multiple researchers, and upon consolidation, any disagreements were resolved through discussion until a consensus was reached.

Data Handling and Privacy: All demographic and interview data collected during this study was securely stored and managed. We ensured that personal and sensitive information was handled and protected according to international data protection and privacy standards. Participants’ identities were anonymized in all research outputs to maintain confidentiality.

Collaborative Research: The collaborative nature of this study facilitated the counterbalancing of researcher biases through multiple perspectives. Throughout the data interpretation and theme development process, all researchers maintained constant communication and joint decision-making.

Ethical Considerations: The research was carried out in adherence to the ethical guidelines of the American Psychological Association (2017), prioritizing participant anonymity and confidentiality. Informed consent was obtained from all participants, who were made aware of their right to withdraw from the study at any point. As two authors also served as administrators of the participant recruitment group, special care was taken to ensure potential participants did not feel pressured to join the study.

[1] ATLAS.ti is a qualitative data analysis software developed by Scientific Software Development GmbH.

Findings

Demographics of Participants

The study encompassed a diverse range of participants, each bringing unique insights into the opportunities and challenges in Bangladesh’s content writing industry.

  1. Educational and Professional Backgrounds: Spanning various academic realms, the majority of participants held Bachelor’s or Master’s degrees, while one was pursuing a Diploma. Their professional experience also displayed a diverse range, with individuals engaged in full-time employment, freelancing, studying, and those currently unemployed but exploring content writing. This variety in employment status underscored the dynamic and versatile nature of the industry.
  2. Industry Experience: Our participant pool represented different stages of experience in the content writing journey, from industry novices to seasoned professionals with up to a decade of practice. This diversity allowed for a comprehensive exploration of the field’s evolutionary trajectory.
  3. Role Diversity: While most identified as content writers, several participants held additional roles, such as content management strategists or clients, providing a more holistic perspective of the industry ecosystem.
  4. Sectors Served: The participants’ work catered to a wide array of sectors, including technology, education, marketing, healthcare, finance, travel, and non-profit sectors. This diverse sectoral engagement demonstrated the broad applicability and demand for content writing services.
  5. Geographic Distribution: Predominantly based in urban areas, our participants’ locations aligned with the global trend of digital service concentration in urban regions. However, representation from a rural area indicates the industry’s potential for geographical expansion.

The diversity of the participants in terms of their educational background, professional status, industry experience, roles, sectors served, and geographic distribution, provided a rich, multi-faceted understanding of the industry’s landscape.

Content Writing Projects and Niches

Our respondents reported engaging in a wide array of content writing projects, reflecting the industry’s diversity. Sectors they wrote for included fashion, social marketing, economics, environment, business, research papers, travel, entertainment, copywriting, banking, digital marketing, real estate, online education, among others. Review writing and article writing emerged as common project types, while creative writing, health & beauty, home improvement, and real estate were noted as popular niches.

Clients’ Perspective and Perception of Content Writers

Our study revealed several pain points from the client’s side. The clients expressed concerns about writers’ research practices, specifically the perceived over-reliance on a small pool of sources. One client articulated their frustration: “A big problem is that writers do not invest the needed time in their research skills. They take some ideas from a few websites and maybe watch some YouTube videos at most for their research. Beyond that, they are not interested in any other type of research.” Further, clients were apprehensive about the premium charges of top-tier writers and noted their tendency to decline average-paying projects. A client noted: “Many top-tier writers are unwilling to undertake average-paying projects, causing us to lose potential projects and leading to dissatisfaction among us, the clients.” They highlighted instances of writers failing to meet the project requirements, missing deadlines, and delivering content that fell short on SEO ratings. Furthermore, clients stressed the need for writers to pay greater attention to project demographic information, underlining a potential gap in the understanding of their target audience.

Writers’ Perspective

From the writers’ viewpoint, they are often faced with client misconceptions about AI-generated content, which poses a risk to their professional reputation. They also noted an uptick in competition from AI tools, resulting in a gradual reduction in job opportunities. One writer expressed concern: “Actually, the thing that is content writing has become quite struggling now because of AI tools. For us who are manual writers, things are becoming tougher slowly and it’s also questionable how much a writer’s job will be needed in the future. I have handled foreign clients. They are developing websites using AI tools, which is quite alarming for us.” In addition, they face hurdles in finding adequate resources and guidelines for honing their content writing skills, managing their time effectively, and staying updated with advancements in AI. Other concerns raised include a lack of recognition from clients for their skills and expertise, non-payment issues, and the repetitiveness of certain tasks.

Writers’ Role as Intermediaries

Interestingly, a segment of our respondents acted as intermediaries, securing projects from clients and then subcontracting to other writers. These intermediary writers reported facing roadblocks in transitioning from part-time to full-time work due to a lack of sufficient opportunities and support structures. Despite these hurdles, they acknowledged that Bangladesh is gaining a reputation as a favorable destination for sourcing quality content at affordable rates.

Payment and Non-payment Issues

A significant point of discontent among writers related to remuneration. They expressed dissatisfaction with their current pay scale, advocating for fairer pay practices. They highlighted cases where clients demanded high-quality content but offered low remuneration, leading to an imbalance in the value proposition. Non-payment issues, especially after content submission, were rampant. Interestingly, some writers were willing to take on low-paying freelance projects or non-paid internships for skill development, pointing to a deeper issue of payment standardization in the industry.

Research, Resources, and Challenges

Writers commonly reported limited access to adequate resources, the tedium of repetitive tasks, and periods of reduced creativity as recurring challenges. They called for a unified learning platform, quality and affordable courses, and academic support structures to facilitate skill development. The necessity for effective collaboration and clear, open communication channels with clients was also stressed, highlighting the importance of a client-writer relationship in producing high-quality content.

Writers’ Strategies and Skill Development

Many writers have embraced AI tools for various aspects of content writing, including research, idea generation, SEO, proofreading, grammar checks, and plagiarism detection. Social media platforms emerged as an essential resource for networking, securing jobs, staying updated with industry trends, and continuous learning. Adherence to client guidelines, maintaining a structured approach to content creation, and following a sequential work format were deemed essential. They also highlighted strategic practices like effective time management, project prioritization, competitive analyses, and negotiation tactics with clients as instrumental in staying competitive.

Summary of Findings

Table 1: Major Themes and Key Findings in the Content Writing Industry in Bangladesh

Major Themes Findings
Demographics of Participants Diverse educational backgrounds, professional statuses, roles, and industry experience. Sectors served spanned various fields.
Clients’ Perspective Concerns over writers’ research practices, premium charges, and failure to meet requirements.
Content Writing Projects and Niches Broad range of sectors and project types.
Writers’ Perspective Challenges with AI competition, skill development, and client recognition.
Writers’ Role as Intermediaries Transitioning hurdles from part-time to full-time, perceived as a favorable sourcing destination.
Payment Issues Dissatisfaction with pay scale, imbalance in value proposition, and non-payment issues.
Research, Resources, and Challenges Limited access to resources, need for a learning platform and academic support.
Writers’ Strategies and Skill Development Use of AI tools, social media platforms, and strategic practices.

Table 1: Major Themes and Key Findings in the Content Writing Industry in Bangladesh.

The table above provides a succinct overview of the main themes that emerged from the study, along with the key findings related to each theme. Each of these aspects offers a unique insight into the content writing industry in Bangladesh.

Discussion

This comprehensive exploration into the content writing landscape in Bangladesh brings to light the prevailing dynamics of the industry, encapsulating the substantial challenges, potential opportunities, and the progressively integral role of artificial intelligence (AI).

The demographic data reveals a predominantly youthful, educated talent pool, primarily located in urban areas. The broad spectrum of sectors serviced by these writers further underscores the multifaceted, dynamic nature of the industry and the potential for exploring uncharted market sectors. This diversity also suggests that the industry may benefit from more specialized training programs catering to the unique needs of these different groups. The wide array of content writing projects indicates that there is demand for a variety of content types. This opens doors for aspiring content writers to specialize in niche areas, and opportunities for businesses in these sectors to leverage content writing for their marketing strategies.

However, our study brings to light several challenges that need to be addressed. Concerns around writers’ adherence to project guidelines, rigor in research, remuneration disputes, and deadlines underscore the imperative need for continuous skill enhancement, professional growth, and a reassessment of payment practices and compensation rates within the industry. These challenges call for improved communication, transparency, and perhaps regulation within the industry. The development and enforcement of standardized pricing models, along with training for content writers on thorough research practices, might help to address these concerns.

AI’s evolution within the content writing industry emerges as a significant focus in our study. While echoing global sentiments of job security concerns (Huang & Rust, 2018), it also underscores that AI can be strategically employed as a beneficial tool for tasks such as research, idea generation, and proofreading. Our findings reveal that writers are already proactively using AI tools to aid their work, a trend also observed internationally (Huang & Rust, 2021).

Despite these obstacles, the resilience and proactive stance exhibited by the content writers in Bangladesh are commendable. Their investments in continual learning, refinements in time management strategies, and strategic use of AI tools suggest a pathway towards significantly enhancing their global positioning.

The digital era, with social media platforms at its core, has had a profound impact on the industry. These platforms serve as instrumental networking hubs, trend indicators, and project acquisition platforms (Bruhn, Schoenmueller, & Schäfer, 2012). The importance of these platforms underscores the necessity for both writers and clients to enhance their digital literacy and adapt to evolving online trends.
In the face of challenges such as remuneration disputes, adherence to project requirements, and the burgeoning influence of AI, our research suggests a clear trajectory for the industry’s growth. By strategically leveraging AI and social media, prioritizing skill development, and improving payment practices, the content writing industry in Bangladesh stands on the precipice of a promising future. This study serves as a platform for future academic exploration and policy discussions to foster a sustainable and thriving content writing ecosystem in Bangladesh. This comprehensive exploration of the field also underscores the potential for considerable growth in the industry, provided there are appropriate investments in training, regulation, and support structures for writers.

Recommendations

Our research has led to the development of various recommendations designed to tackle challenges and leverage opportunities in Bangladesh’s content writing industry. These suggestions, categorized under Skill Enhancement, Effective Communication, Professional Development and Support, and Industry Standards and Policies, are tailored to the specific needs of the three main stakeholder groups: Content Writers, Clients, and the industry.

For Content Writers, the emphasis is on continual skill enhancement and effective communication. They are encouraged to develop unique value propositions and strategically utilize social media for professional growth and networking.

Clients should strive for clear communication by providing comprehensive project guidelines. Recognizing and fairly compensating the efforts and expertise needed for quality content creation, as well as fostering sustainable relationships with writers, are also advised.

The wider Industry needs to advocate for fair remuneration, potentially through the standardization of pay rates or the establishment of a minimum wage. Professional development should be supported with workshops, training sessions, and webinars. The initiation of mentorship programs and the cultivation of collaborative platforms are also recommended.

Key Recommendations

Table 2: Key Recommendations for Stakeholders in the Content Writing Industry in Bangladesh

Category Content Writers Clients Industry
Skill Enhancement Focus on continual skill development via industry-specific workshops, online courses, self-learning resources, and AI tools.    
Effective Communication Strengthen client communication for better project understanding and feedback exchange. Provide clear and comprehensive project guidelines.  
Professional Development and Support Establish unique value propositions and use social media for networking and growth. Develop sustainable relationships with writers. Support professional development through workshops, training sessions, and webinars; cultivate collaborative platforms; initiate mentorship programs.
Industry Standards and Policies   Recognize and compensate the effort and expertise needed for quality content creation. Advocate for fair pay policies, potentially including pay rate standardization or minimum wage standards.

Table 2: The table above summarizes the key recommendations emerging from the study, organized by stakeholder group and thematic category. Each recommendation aims to address the specific needs and challenges identified for content writers, clients, and the industry as a whole.

Conclusion

This research provides an in-depth qualitative exploration of the content writing industry in Bangladesh, encapsulating the diverse experiences of content writers and clients, along with their perceived challenges and potential for growth. Despite facing issues including the implications of AI, market saturation, and low remuneration rates, the study reveals an industry teeming with opportunities for significant development.

Our findings highlight several key trends, including the growing demand for unique, well-researched, and SEO-optimized content. It underscores the importance of continuous learning, skill enhancement, and effective client-writer communication. The influential role of social media in professional networking, knowledge sharing, and opportunity discovery is emphasized, as well as the potential benefits of strategic AI tool utilization.

Transforming the identified challenges into opportunities requires a concerted effort from all industry stakeholders. Our recommendations propose initiatives for skill enhancement, fostering effective communication, professional development, and industry-standard policies. The development of collaborative platforms, mentorship programs, and fair pay policies are perceived as crucial drivers for industry progress.

While our research offers valuable insights, we acknowledge its limitations, particularly its reliance on a self-reported data from a specific Facebook group, which might not capture the full diversity of experiences across the industry. Future research could benefit from a broader demographic scope for a more comprehensive understanding of the industry.

Moving forward, the content writing industry in Bangladesh offers a vibrant landscape ripe with opportunities for growth and progression. By leveraging the identified opportunities and implementing the proposed recommendations, we anticipate substantial industry advancement. Such progress promises to enhance the professional development of content writers, improve the quality of content, and foster a more rewarding environment for all stakeholders. We encourage all participants in this industry to reflect upon these insights and take active steps towards implementing these recommendations, propelling a dynamic transformation in Bangladesh’s content writing industry.

Acknowledgment

Our heartfelt gratitude goes to all those individuals who invested their time and shared their insightful experiences, thus making this research possible. Without their valuable participation in the comprehensive surveys and in-depth interviews, we would not have been able to gain the level of understanding we did about the challenges and opportunities within the content writing industry in Bangladesh.

We would like to extend our special thanks to the members of the “Content Writers in Bangladesh” Facebook group. Their cooperation and active participation significantly contributed to our participant recruitment process, providing us with a profound understanding of the content writing landscape in Bangladesh.

Our thanks also go to Userhub for their invaluable logistical support, which was instrumental in enabling us to conduct this study efficiently. We greatly appreciate their contributions.

We also want to recognize the tireless efforts of our fellow researchers whose significant contributions have shaped this study. Their indispensable assistance throughout the various stages of the research process, including data collection, analysis, and facilitation of interviews, has enriched the depth and breadth of our findings.

Finally, we express our sincere appreciation to everyone who provided support throughout this study. We hope that our collective efforts will spark beneficial changes and stimulate further research within the industry.

Future Research Opportunities

This study has laid crucial groundwork for understanding the intricacies of the content writing industry in Bangladesh. While our qualitative case study approach yielded rich, in-depth insights, we acknowledge two primary limitations: the sample size and diversity, and the lack of quantitative data.

Our participant pool, drawn primarily from the “Content Writers in Bangladesh” Facebook group, provided a wealth of perspectives. However, the size and composition of our sample might not encompass the full diversity within the industry. Particularly, the underrepresentation of female content writers and those based in rural areas is a potential limitation. The study was primarily qualitative, focusing on detailed narratives from our participants. The inclusion of more quantitative data could enhance our understanding by providing broader, statistical insights about the industry.

Acknowledging the scope of this research, there are several avenues that open up exciting possibilities for future research. These include:

  1. Expanding the Sample: Future studies could strive for larger and more diverse samples, to capture a wider range of experiences and perspectives within the industry.
  2. Including More Quantitative Data: Alongside qualitative data, future research could incorporate more quantitative analysis to provide a more comprehensive view of the industry.
  3. Exploring the Role of AI in Content Creation: With AI rapidly transforming industries, its implications for content writing need exploration. Future studies could investigate the career prospects for content writers in an AI-dominated world and the quality and uniqueness of AI-generated content.
  4. Examining Payment Practices: A detailed assessment of current remuneration norms within the industry could lead to actionable insights for more equitable and sustainable payment policies.
  5. Evaluating Professional Development Initiatives: Future research could assess existing professional development initiatives for content writers, informing recommendations for improving the professional growth of stakeholders within the industry.
  6. Investigating the Impact of Social Media Platforms: A detailed study of the specific effects of different social media platforms on networking, marketing, and opportunity discovery for content writers could be beneficial.
  7. Conducting Comparative and Longitudinal Studies: These research methodologies could provide a more nuanced understanding of the industry’s evolution in the context of a rapidly digitizing and globalizing work environment.

Despite the acknowledged limitations, our study forms a significant stepping stone, fostering a deeper understanding of the content writing industry in Bangladesh and encouraging its continuous growth and success.

Declaration of interest

The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest in conducting this study.

References

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Publication Information

  • Title: Challenges and Opportunities in Bangladesh’s Content Writing Industry: A Qualitative Exploration
  • Author:
    Wahid bin Ahsan, Md. Tanvir Hasan, Danilson Placid Purification, Nilim Ahsan, Naima Haque Numa, Mostain Billa Tusar
  • Publication Date: July 5, 2023
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.58947/GHKP-LXDN
  • Publisher: Userhub
  • License: Open-access under CC BY 4.0
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