Can you imagine a world without content? Just visualise it. What if you open your Facebook account and there is no content? What if you reach a website and there is nothing to display? Or an online marketing campaign running without content? I know, it sounds unimaginable.
Content is not a new element in the digital world, but it has become more important than ever before. “Content is the King,” and it continues to be at the forefront of all digital promotion strategies. With the evolution of the internet and overcrowding in the digital world, the importance of producing top-grade content has escalated further.
If you have started to wonder what content is- “Content is the communication of useful, relevant and interesting information to an audience for a purpose through a channel in a form.” It could be in the form of text, video and imagery, infographics, surveys, webinars or podcasts.
Now that you have a fair idea of, what content is, let us discuss who is a content writer.
A content writer is anyone who creates original content and conveys it in an understandable form. Generally, if someone has created posts for personal social media accounts like Facebook or written a micro-blog on Twitter, then he is a content writer too! However, being a professional content writer takes a lot more.
A professional content writer is a creative thinker that writes original copy for websites, blogs, social media and other digital platforms.
The question arises what differentiates successful content writers from the good ones.
Writing content is not as simple as it sounds, and there is some expertise you must possess to be successful. So, here are eight essential skillsets that a great content writer needs to have.
1. Excellent written communication skills
First and foremost, you should have extraordinary grammar, spelling, and sentence formation. Good writing skills let you communicate your message to the target audience with clarity and ease.
Effective communication skills are indispensable for building personal and professional bonding between brand and customers. Also, the lack of effective writing skills diminishes your credibility as a writer.
Thanks to the rise of writing assistant apps, creating a grammatically correct content are simpler than before. A budding content writer may take help from the grammar and spell-check software and tools, when in doubt.
2. Proofreading and Editing Skills
As a good content writer, you must have the patience to read and re-read to correct and update your write-up.
After you finish writing an article, step out of the role of a writer and assume the role of an editor. Check carefully for errors after you write the rough draft or your first final draft. Scan it through the eyes of the reader for grammatical errors and coherence.
3. Research Skills
In content writing, your research skills matter a great deal. Well-Written content is good, but a well-researched one is even better. If you have above-average research and analytical skills, you have a higher chance of becoming a successful content writer.
A content writer needs to undertake several kinds of research like keyword research, topic research, or niche research etc. The purpose is to provide readers with information as useful and relevant as possible. Finding a reliable source of data is, therefore, an important part of conducting research.
When it comes to content, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. A lot of content fails to connect with the audience because the tone and style do not serve the purpose. Imagine a social media post with very long and extra detailed writeup or a blog with a short content copy. The piece will not satisfy the consumer because of the misfit.
Similarly, tone plays a very important in engaging the target reader. Blog posts targeting financial planners will have a sincere tone while a piece directed towards young students for a lifestyle brand may have a more casual voice.
A good content writer tries to learn as many tones and styles as possible to facilitate easy adaptation to the requirements of the medium and consumers.
5. Storytelling Genius
The audience would be least interested in reading the same old bookish information about anything. This is where content writing becomes tricky. How does storytelling come handy?
Content writing is not much different from storytelling. A good content creator will use his own experience and perception to decode a complex subject and make it understandable to the audience. The art of storytelling is more than just grammar, word choice and spelling.
6. Knowledge of the Target Audience
It is futile to write something and then push it to the audience without knowing what they want. Written communication is a two-way activity. If you do not have a clear idea who you are writing about or who your audience is, you are bound to fail as a writer.
You must conduct thorough research on your audience and what they want. Your target audience will determine your language, writing style and tone, word choice and the format of the content. So totally understand your readers to write the most suitable and relevant content.
A good content writer always tries to know his audience well and align his piece in the same manner desired by his reader. He never writes a love letter to his boss and a memo to his girlfriend.
7. Knowing About WordPress and Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Today, most of the content is consumed online through digital platforms like websites, blogs, and social media amongst others. You must know the basics of SEO if you intend to be an effective content writer.
Don’t let it scare you. Being a content writer, you need not know coding languages and other structural details of a website. There are a variety of tools available online, with default automated functions that helps you in fulfilling your SEO needs.
8. Time Management Skills
Whether you’re running your blog, or a freelancer working for a client, you need to be efficient at managing time. As a responsible professional, you need to organise your schedule in such a way that the targets are met without hampering the quality of content. A great content writer delivers high-quality original work on time.
If you think, you have these qualities, go and write your heart out. In case you don’t, don’t worry. These skills can be acquired with persistence and hard work. Writing is a muscle, work it out with patience.