8 Must-Have Skills For Content Writing (With Bonus Action Tips)
Everybody wants to become a content writer, but how many are willing to become good content writers? How many content writers ask themselves if they have the skills for content writing, and how can they get them? Ones who ask themselves these questions are on the right track to becoming competent and well-paid content writers. If your journey to find those answers has led you here, know that you are in the right place. We have assembled eight must-have content writing skills to make your learning more effortless we have also provided action tips after each skill to help you learn that skill practically.
8 Must-Have Skills For Content Writing
It’s the most apparent skill for content writing. However, it’s one of the most ignored ones. Everybody assumes that they can write well if they can stitch together few sentences. However, veteran writers would agree that it’s not the case. As an experiment, read what you wrote in the past. You will see your work littered with common and apparent mistakes that may just drive you crazy. Thus, if there’s one thing you need to constantly improve (and there’s always space for improvement, even if you have been writing for 20 years) it is your writing skills.
Action tip: make writing a daily practice outside of your daily work. Why? Because athletes practice before entering matches. They treat their skill as something that needs to be improved as much as possible before the game. Similarly, you need to treat writing as a testing ground for new techniques and ways of writing. Implement all that you learnt while practising into your work.
One day you may have to write a web development blog and the next a wellness blog. Thus, one of the most skills for content writing is agility. Agility is the ability to think and understand quickly. A content writer needs to think about the given topic in as much detail as possible and fill the gaps in their personal knowledge by researching and understanding what’s available online. If you struggle with being an agile thinker, you just need to practice it as much as possible.
- If it takes you four hours to write, set a goal to write it in 3 hours and 45 minutes.
- Keep decreasing the time slowly each day.
- If you cannot reach your goal, ask yourself why, and avoid the mistakes you made the next day. Before you know it, you will be a more agile writer than you were at the beginning of this exercise.
Content writers need to have strong research skills; without them, their work can fall short irrespective of their stellar writing skills. One’s research skills can help them dig a hidden piece of information that most content out there will miss. And research skills don’t need to be limited to Google; they should include video, audio, email newsletter books, etc. Excellent content communicates well and contains facts that strengthen the writing.
- Learn about the Boolean search for effective googling.
- Make a dedicated email for the newsletter and subscribe to the relevant field’s newsletter.
- Become familiar with the social media handles of industry experts in the concerned field.
- Anytime you have to research, use Google, Newsletters, and social media to get relevant and unique information.
Speaking of unique information, one content writer skill you need is injecting uniqueness and freshness into your content. But how is that possible when there’s tons of information out there? Yes, that is an excellent and crucial question to address. First, nothing is unique; everything has been said before. It’s the way and the perspective you choose that makes a difference. Plus, the more in-depth and holistic your blog or article is, the more it will serve your audience and add value to their life.
Action tip: Run your content through a plagiarism checker like Copyscape or Quetext (you can also use Grammarly’s plagiarism checker). They will let you know what’s unique and what’s not. You can accordingly make the changes.
Search engine optimization (SEO)
SEO is one of those things that, eventually, a content writer needs to add to their skillset. Without the basic knowledge of writing SEO-friendly content, you cannot expect to grow your income and career. And it’s not rocket science. The aim is to focus on serving your audience and avoiding lousy SEO practices that Google and other search engines can penalize.
But why is SEO important in the first place? A very obvious query every writer has when they begin their career. SEO should be a part of every content writer’s skill set because SEO brings the eyeballs and attention from your target audience. Without proper SEO practices in place, your excellent content will never see the light of day. Thus, SEO is a crucial skill for content writing.
Action tip: You can learn SEO as a content writer by reading our blog on writing SEO-friendly content. Further, you can enroll yourself in a free course; there are plenty available online.
Has this ever happened to you? You start researching for a blog topic and somehow fall into a downward spiral of irrelevant YouTube videos. Trust me, every rookie content writer has done that. Before you know it, you only have one hour till your deadline, and you haven’t started your blog. There is a simple skill that will solve this problem for you; time management. By effectively managing your time and being super specific, you can finish all your work without stress or panic.
Action tip: Break down your content writing process; topic, research, outline, writing each point in the outline, editing, and plagiarism check. Add or subtract steps accordingly. Write down (on paper with a pen) the time it will take you to do each task. If you need a break in between, add it. Follow the process and note down where you didn’t follow the plan to correct yourself in the future. Repeat this process; this simple process has massively helped me stick to my deadlines.
Storytelling is that one factor that sets us apart from the animal kingdom; it’s that factor that pushed us to be masters of this planet. Thus, compelling storytelling engages and connects more. And connecting with your audience is the primary function of any content (be it blog, social media posts, articles, etc.). Thus, learn to effectively deliver anecdotes before you give your audience cold hard facts.
Action tip: Enroll in a course to learn storytelling; read blogs and watch videos about storytelling. The following skill will also help you improve your storytelling.
Become a reader
One form of content that is often ignored (give the length of this content) is a book. A book is often more than a hundred pages and takes dedicated attention. Since attention is such a scarce resource, books are often neglected. But to become a writer, you have to read quality content, and some of the most profound, well-researched, and articulated content is a book.
The amount of time, expertise (some authors are scientists who have studied just one subject for years), and editing a book goes through is far more than the short-form content we consume daily. This isn’t to say books are superior, but they are often a great source of new information. Thus, become a reader, and see the change in your thought process and, by extension, writing.
Moreover, to become a good storyteller, you need to consume good stories. Movies can be one sourcebook can be another. Observe the way the author chooses to present a scene and tell a story. Observe yourself as a reader, and then write what you observed.
Action tip: Start reading an easy non-fiction book on writing itself. Since you are a writer, you will gain insights from the best writers in the world. As for fiction books, start by reading short stories and gradually increase your reading capacity.
Your first draft will always suck. Sorry, that’s a fact, but that doesn’t mean that your final draft must be lousy. In fact, it’s possible to get a great final draft from a bad first draft. And it’s possible through a skill for content writing every writer need; editing.
Editing requires you to work on the simplicity, clarity, and engagement of your blog or article. Editing is more about deleting sentences rather than adding new ones. Thus, every content writer needs the skill of editing.
- After writing your blog or article, use a chrome extension to read the article aloud.
- Listen to it carefully, and you will notice half-written sentences, redundant words, and unclear thoughts.
- Change, edit, and delete for a polished final draft. You can also use Grammarly to help you correct grammatical errors that you missed.
To sum up, the blog, you need these skills needed for content writing are: –
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Time management
Moreover, we also discussed action tips for the above skills that a content writer must-have.
The aim of these action tips is to inspire action and stop you from just passively consuming content. The only way to become a well-paid content writer is to implement what you learn. Otherwise, all your effort goes to waste.
We hope that the blog gave you the information you were looking for on the internet. Since becoming an excellent writer is a constant journey, we are dedicated to delivering the information you need. Thus, subscribe to our newsletter to receive weekly or monthly updates.