Picture this. You become a great content writer, and people appreciate you for your writing skills. What are these skills?
Great content writers are also human beings, just like us. They become great by developing some skills that ordinary content writers don’t possess.
If you search online, you’ll find many skills that people think a content writer should have, but here in this article, we are sharing some must-have skills for all content writers that make them great.
So without waiting much, let’s start.
1. Good Researching skills
Researching is about collecting data or information from various primary and secondary sources.
- Primary Data: Collected by the individual or the organization on their own.
- Secondary Data: Discovered by some other sources.
Suppose you are surrounded by a bunch of similar articles with the same topic and content. How will you pick the best article?
Google faces a similar dilemma, so they pick the article, which is original and contains information backed by research.
Search engines love fresh and well-researched content. And that’s the reason they tend to rank faster and higher on Google.
As humans, we like to read and apply tips that are backed by proven data. We want to be a hundred percent confident about the trustworthiness of the information.
If you’re a large size organization, then primary research can help you to gain authority in the industry. But if you are single-handedly managing your blog, then secondary research can still help a lot.
Sometimes people tend to rely on secondary sources for their research. But believe me, if you can do the primary research, then go for it because it makes your article unique and attracts a lot of backlinks.
2. Follows Key Writing Practices
Content writing is not just about writing grammatically correct sentences that make sense. It involves more elements like simplicity, flow, readability, clarity, and elegance that communicate facts and ideas.
To achieve these elements in your writing, you’ve to follow some standard writing practices. For example, using
- Active voice
- Forming short & simple sentences
- Properly formatting the content
- Grammatically tight writing – No filler words or phrases
These are some elements that make it incredibly easy for your reader to digest your information.
You’ve to remember that you’re always writing for people who may or may not be comfortable with the language you’re using.
Albert Einstein says, “If you cannot explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.”
As a rule of thumb, you’re to write content that even a sixth-grade student can understand, or in some cases, a tenth grade, but please no more than that.
The sole purpose of writing is to convince your reader about an idea. Our whole piece revolves around a single idea that we want our reader to take away after reading our article.
But if your writing is too difficult to understand, then you failed as a content writer.
Remember, you are writing to convince your reader about an idea and not impress them with your writing skills. When you forget this, things will go out of your hands.
3. Comfortable in various Writing styles
The Writing style is the type of language used to write a specific kind of content like the words you use, length of sentences, industry-related terms and jargon, context, etc.
As a content writer, you have to write content for a variety of niches and topics.
Each niche or field has a different style of writing. For example, when you’re writing a technical article, your language would be different from writing content for a website landing page.
In technical writing, you have to use a formal tone, redundancy should be low, sentences must be grammatically tight, and there’s a lesser creativity scope.
But in copywriting, your content should be less formal, creative, and persuasive. Here you can even compromise grammar for creativity.
When I started working on a technical blog, the first advice that I received from my mentor was, read a minimum of twenty technical blogs carefully and notice how they write and then only start writing.
This strategy helps you to get acquainted with the writing style that your reader prefers in your specific industry.
When I look back, I realize the importance of this advice.
4. Understands the Reader and Buyer Persona
In simple terms, the target audience is a group of people who consume your content.
To create good content, you’ll have to be well aware of your target audience’s reading habits and dig deeper into the type of topics they prefer to read.
The style of writing also varies depending on the level of your target audience.
“If you are writing for everybody, you are writing for nobody.”
For example, if you are writing a blog for a fundamental problem related to wordpress, your content should be easy even for a beginner to understand.
But when you are writing on a complex topic like Cloud computing, then your content should be technical and match the standard of the content that a software engineer read.
As a content writer, you must know about the niches in which you can write content. A person belonging to a non-tech background cannot write for technical topics, or a person from a finance background cannot write on law-related topics.
5. Curious Observer and Reader
“A great writer is a great reader and observer.”
Once you become a good content writer, you will see two things around yourself:
- Good content (like Persuasive copy)
- Bad content (Grammatical errors or Punctuation problems)
Nobody is born a great writer. Initially, people read great writers and try to copy their writing style.
Kids speak the language of their parents, and this is how they learn to talk. The case is similar to writing. First, we imitate our favorite writers, and gradually we develop our style of writing.
To become great, follow the process that other great writers followed, and for this, you have to read their content daily.
I follow Brian Dean, Grammarly blog, Seth Godin, Copyhackers blog, and tons of other content writing and SEO blogs.
I read for a minimum of one hour every day, and it has immensely improved my writing.
Every day, I find new words, phrases, and sentences that I can use in my blog. When I read them, the style of writing settles into my subconscious mind and comes out when I need it.
In the beginning, I would struggle to phrase my thoughts into sentences. But, when I started reading for a minimum of one hour every day in a distraction-free environment, my writing improved a lot within a few days.
Observation and curiosity attract you towards great content and helps you to become a great writer.
6. Ruthless Editors
“A great content writer is a ruthless editor.”
Editing is the process of making your content error-free, simple to understand, clear enough to comprehend, and elegant so that the reader does not lose interest while reading it.
Proofreading is the fast forward process of content editing. It’s the last check that you do before you submit your article.
On the internet, grammatically incorrect content is used by shady websites to increase contradiction in the meaning of their content.
There are a lot of free tools that you can use to write grammatically correct sentences, like the Grammarly free version and the Hemingway editor app.
Both of these tools follow standard writing practice. So you don’t have to worry about remembering all the rules.
7. Write Original and Plagiarism-Free Content
Stealing content from other people’s websites is a crime and is called plagiarism. Even a single copied sentence can get you into trouble. It hurts the reputation of the writer and gifts him a few bad reviews.
You cannot publish content from other people’s websites because Google or any other search engine knows very well about who published it initially.
Google has to face this problem every day, and this is how it has developed over time. They are designed to put original content in front of their users, and they’re investing billions of dollars to accomplish this.
Whenever a company gives you a project, they expect you to submit original content, and that’s why they are hiring you.
Anybody can copy content from other people’s websites, rephrase it, and use it on their website. Why would they need a content writer for that?
People need a content writer to create original, helpful, and a hundred percent plagiarism-free content.
In conclusion, plagiarism:
- Negatively impacts your website SEO.
- Hurts the writer’s and website’s reputation.
- It can get you into serious copyright issues.
Writing is a skill which requires effort, time, and patience. A good writer is not just a person with good grammar skills, but a person with right mindset and empathy for the reader.
Indeed, the skills that I’ve outlined here are difficult to learn and master. But, if you have a passion for writing, you’ll go the extra mile and make things happen.
If you like this article, feel free to share it with your friends. Maybe it helps them as well. Have a good day!