There are more aspects to being a successful content writer than simply writing words on a page.
Whether you write for your own blog or make a living writing, at the very least, you need to know how to craft compelling content that will engage readers and compel them to take action.
A good content writer needs a firm grasp of the fundamentals of content writing. This includes grammar, sentence structure, and article formatting. In addition, he/she needs to develop a range of qualities that will help them create high-quality content that provides value to the reader.
In this post, we take a look at the top five content writing skills that are the key to creating your best content ever.
So, without further ado, let’s dive right in!
1. Research Proficiency
Research skills are invaluable for a content writer. As a writer, your content is only as good as your information sources. You need to be able to produce well-researched content pieces, even when writing about topics that you’re not familiar with.
To do this, you must know where and how to dig up reliable information. Here are some of the most commonly used sources:
Image Source: LibGuides.com
In addition, keep in mind the following tips:
- Use Credible Websites: These include government and educational websites (.gov and .edu) that have reliable statistics and studies.
- Use Community-based Forums: Websites like Quora and Reddit are usually goldmines of insider information.
- Use Advanced Search: Google’s advanced search option allows you to put filters on your topic so you can bring up the best information.
If there is still a question of whether the information is accurate or not, you must dig even deeper to get to the root source of the information. This takes practice and it’s a skill that you will likely be honing throughout your writing career.
Once you have the root source, you must ensure the credibility and reliability of your research. Read this article to find out more about how to evaluate source credibility.
By improving your research skills, you will be able to create content that is packed full of useful information and delivers real value to your readers.
2. Ability to Deliver Quality
When writing a lot of content, it gets harder to maintain great quality. But this is the tricky situation that a good content writer needs the ability to navigate.
Image Source: Scoop.it
When writing articles, you need to ensure that you deliver high-quality content that will not only rank high in the search engines, but will also keep readers engaged.
One of the best ways to do this consistently is to have a checklist for quality delivery. For example, you could create a checklist with points like these:
- Maintain a backlog of content ideas.
- Perform adequate research on each piece you write.
- Infuse the content with your own unique perspective.
- Apply your own experiences or data.
- Use different content forms, such as images, screenshots, videos, memes, etc.
- Edit your content – and then edit it again! Do this until you’re satisfied that you’ve produced stellar content that is good enough to publish.
Following these steps will help you ensure that you deliver quality in every piece you write.
3. Knowledge of Different Writing Forms
There are many different forms of writing, and each form has its own style. As a content writer, the more of them you master, the more in demand you will be.
- News is typically delivered AP-style, with short, punchy paragraphs packed with information.
- In blogging, the writing style is friendly, personable, and often opinionated.
- White papers are usually long. They describe a specific problem and provide an effective solution.
- Ad copy, on the other hand, is short and persuasive.
This article from Grammarly shows examples of different styles of writing. If you want to stay in-demand as a content writer, it’s important to have a knowledge of the different writing forms. You also need to practice your ability to switch between them.
4. Good SEO Basics
Good SEO allows businesses to be found by their target customers online. A writer needs to develop their skills for optimizing content in order to help connect businesses to readers who are searching for the solutions they can provide.
Although SEO practices can be complicated, learning the basics of SEO doesn’t take much time. There’s no need to go in too deep at the beginning. Here are few of the basic you need to be aware of:
- Headline Title Tag: Create compelling headlines and clickable title tags for your content.
- Intro and Body Content: Craft an introduction that hooks your reader and piques their interest.
- URL/Permalink: Make your URL/Permalink SEO-friendly by keeping it short and including keywords.
- Meta Description: Make sure your most important keywords are included in your meta description.
Here’s a graph by Databox which shows these elements by their importance.
As your writing career progresses, you will learn more advanced SEO techniques that will boost your content marketing efforts.
Just keep in mind that even though SEO is vital to your success as a content creator, your priority should always be to produce relevant, helpful content that delivers value to your audience.
5. Firm Grasp of Social Media
Most businesses and bloggers employ some type of social media strategy to promote their content, products, and services.
Each social media platform is different, with its own unique requirements. So you need to learn about each of them separately to understand what kind of content works for them. For instance, here’s a summary of allowed word counts for each platform.
Image Source: CoSchedule.com
Whether you’re writing for yourself or for clients, it’s important that you understand some of the social media best practices in order to create share-worthy content.
Although there is a lot more to being a successful writer than the five content writing skills listed above, this is still a great place to start. As you progress along with your career as a writer, take the time to consciously and continually develop each of these skills.
So get started right now and work to develop each of these skills in your writing. With every step you take toward honing your article writing and copywriting skills, you will be able to stay in-demand and command a higher rate for your services.
Did I miss any important skills? Have you tried any of the tips listed above? Do you have any questions or comments? If so, please share your thoughts in the comments section below.