5 Ways to Constantly Improve Your Content Writing Skills
Many posts ask what your job would be today if you had the dream job from when you were a child. I’d struggle to give a straight answer on account of wanting to be an archaeologist, a surgeon, and a famous novelist.
The role of a content writer or a copywriter never occurred to me. It’s one of those roles that seem to get things done, like a call centre agent or salesperson. You never sit in a careers fair at school and say that you want to be a copywriter.
Until perhaps the last twenty years or so, with the explosion of the internet and, more importantly, social media, writing content for websites, articles, and blogging has become part of the mainstream world.
Writing, as my original dream job, has taken on a whole new life. People can be paid good money to write product descriptions, online catalogues, magazines, and a wide range of digital marketing. Businesses now scramble for high ranking websites, popular posts, followers and likes. These now need skilled writers to fit this market and create success.
And as the last two years have shown, working from home is far easier to do than before. Successful content writers can have a lifestyle that many envy—not just working from home. They can make their own schedule, work more or work less as they choose. They can even sit on a beach in the Bahamas and write up an award-winning blog for your business in Catford if they so want.
Within an industry worth billions, a large number of content writers in the UK have a hard time making a comfortable income from writing alone. You might think that all a copywriter needs is a laptop, an internet connection and a PayPal account, but there is much more to it than that.
To succeed, you need to develop the right skills. You might have all the talent in the world, but a writing skill is not enough. It would be best to have a toolkit of various marketing skills and your finger on the pulse of your chosen industry or market.
The Five Skills of a Successful Content Writer
1 A successful content writer is an expert in different styles of writing
Writing is not as two-dimensional as the piece of paper or screen that it appears on. Each piece of writing needs its own language. You wouldn’t write the same for a column in the Times as you would, for say, a website for a holiday company. A blog is seen as more personal. It can talk to you in a friendly manner and offer opinions, tips on doing a range of skills. You might be required to write a technical piece or a white paper for a scientific organisation and need the use of appropriate words that a scientist would understand.
Content writers can specialise, of course, but they still need to understand the variety of styles that clients might want in terms of their own audience, campaign, or document level.
The wider the range of content styles that you master, the more in-demand your services will be.
2 Successful Content Writing Requires Original Content
There is nothing new under the sun. A great content Writer understands this and must come up with a never-ending plethora of original content. They might be telling the same story, but it is how they tell the story.
Each writer has their own voice. They might focus on one particular perspective of a message, tailored to fit their readers. They can interpret some new data or a new piece of technology in their own way that will bring the article to life.
Ultimately, a writer’s reputation is at stake if they cannot produce original content. More so if they plagiarise or steal another writer’s words without referencing them. There is a range of software and apps that can help check whether work is plagiarised. If you are writing on a popular subject or taking inspiration from another content writer’s work, be sure to run your draft article through a programme first.
3 Social Media is like Putty in a Content Writer’s Hands
Content is king. Or maybe queen. It could even be president, depending on your take of a national government.
The point is, a successful content writer is a modern marketing expert. They are thoroughly versed in how social media works, their algorithms, and how to put short, specific bits of copy in the laps of your prospective clients. The more you post on social media, the more you get shared, your content gets recommended, the more followers you get.
And that needs a creative mind to find new content every day. Remember that a content writer needs to write original copy. The writer has to be continually on their game with social media to entertain, instruct, and engage with your readers.
The successful writer must understand that each stream, whether FaceBook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest, has a different style. Each post has its shelf-life depending on which stream you are using. They have different demographics and different languages.
Your copywriter or content writer gets this and will build a well-designed campaign interweaving each of these, including your blog posts and website.
4 A Successful Content Writer Knows Technology, Including SEO, and Web Portals
We aren’t talking about a thorough knowledge of C++ or Java here. Understanding how certain technologies work helps improve your clients’ standing in their marketplace.
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the underlying magic that helps with Google ranking and traffic to your website or blog. It looks at various algorithms, more notably keywords or key phrases, and backlinks, authority and relevance to what is being searched.
As algorithms change, a content writer knows when to update your website, ensuring you have the highest level of quality copywriting more than just quantity. Your copywriting skills will always be in demand by writing well-crafted content and using your own voice and perspective.
5 The Success of a Content Writer isn’t about Picking any old topic or Subject Matter
I’ve done it myself, sat for what felt like hours, paining over what to write. Having a blank page can be one of the most painful actions a content writer can suffer through. We don’t just write on a whim. A successful content writer will work with your marketing campaigns and calendars to develop a journey for your readers and prospective clients.
You might already have an idea of what you want your audience to read, but not the ability to produce the content. A content writer will plan a series of blogs, articles, and posts for you and your audience to engage with the content in a meaningful manner.
And so the content writer will understand you and your business. They will learn and understand your products or services, your clients, marketplace and their personas.
They will be aware of SEO as previously mentioned and be able to select relevant keywords without ‘keyword stuffing’, the trick of simply putting a selection of keywords into a document which might reduce its readability.
The content writer will know your competitors. They will see what is successful in the industry and online. They will work on what is trending in that sector and improve on what is out there.
The content writer will also fashion an exciting title to compel your audience to read on. They will also make it SEO savvy so that it is easier to be found.
Success can be a movable feast. What one person sees as success, someone will be thinking in a more esoteric fashion. But what is true in business is that a successful content writer must have more than just the ability to string two sentences together. Writing successful content takes time. It takes effort.
Being a wordsmith, an SEO genius, a marketing guru, and a social media butterfly takes a well-blended set of skills.
I love this and can get involved in research; I get eagerly excited to see a great piece of content growing.
If you have all of these skills and the time, as well as being able to run your own business, then you are a rare species. If, however, you know that you need a successful content writer on your team to make your business a success, contact me. We can talk about what makes your business tick.