It’s not enough to be a wordsmith to be a content writer. In today’s blog post, you’ll learn the qualities of a good content writer so you can develop these qualities yourself.
If you write for a living, whether you’re a freelance writer or you’re running your own blog, it’s a given that you should at least know the fundamentals of writing: basic grammar, how to compose a sentence, and the structure of an article (introduction, body, conclusion).
But simply being a good writer isn’t enough to create a good piece of content for online consumption. There are many more aspects to content writing than just putting words on a page.
The content you’re putting out should have a specific purpose that helps your ultimate goal. Whether it is to help a client as a freelance writer or to help your own business grow, ALL your content should be directed to that ultimate goal.
Today’s article will attempt to describe the qualities of a good content writer so you can find out if you have what it takes to become one yourself.
First and foremost, you should have exceptional grammar, spelling, and sentence construction. Not only is this the actual basis of good writing but also the lack of it diminishes your credibility.
The good news is that communication skills are simple enough to learn. There are plenty of resources online, numerous free spell-check software and tools, and when you’re in doubt about a sentence, you’re a Google search away from confirming or dispelling your doubt.
Being able to correct and update your own work is part of being a good content writer.
After you write an article, take a short break and take off your writer’s hat. Then, sit back down and wear your editor’s hat instead.
Checking for errors after you write the first draft of your blog post may take time, and you might think it’s more productive to use that time to do other blog maintenance activities or to create new content, but this is not the case.
Putting out error-free, high-quality content less frequently is more preferable than churning out error-riddled, low-quality content more frequently.
How is writing different from storytelling?
Telling a story is beyond grammar, word choice, and spelling. It’s using your own experiences and perceptions to break down a complex topic and relate it to your readers.
Great storytellers are able to entertain readers while teaching them something and can evoke emotions while being concise.
To feel any sort of connection to you, people need to feel that they’re reading content written by an actual person and not an article generator (it’s a real thing).
Telling real, relatable stories involves offering up a bit of oneself to your readers. It can be scary, but you don’t need to show them everything.
A good content writer is able to reveal enough humanity and individuality to connect with their readers and compel them to read their content and keep coming back.
A well-written piece of content is good, but a well-researched piece of content is even better.
The point of creating content is to create value and provide your readers with as much useful information as you can. And you can only do this when you know how to research and where to find reliable sources of information.
Google search is invaluable for research, but there are other sources that you might be overlooking. Reddit, Quora, and other community-based forum sites are often gold mines of insider information, but the question is often “is this information accurate?”
As a content writer, you should be able to find out which websites are credible and which bloggers and influencers are prominent in the niche you’re writing for. Remember, your content is only as good as your sources of information.
Writing for the sake of writing is futile.
You need to have a clear idea of who you want to read your content. If you’re a blogger and you’ve done your audience research when you were deciding on your blog niche, you should already have a mental picture of who your ideal reader is.
On the contrary, if you’re a freelance writer looking to be hired as a content writer for a particular website or blog, you need to thoroughly consult with the marketing team or the business owner themselves to find out who their target audience is.
Your target reader informs your writing style, word choice, and even the format of the content, so totally understanding who you’re writing for is key to writing your best content.
Writing is based on the relatively solid foundations of language, but the digital landscape is rife with changes. What’s trending today may be gone tomorrow, and there’s always an up-and-coming craze around the corner, waiting for its turn in the spotlight.
Aside from this tendency for digital trends to change, consumer preferences tend to change as well. Your target demographic may change their preferences in a heartbeat; something that’s popular among them now may be obsolete in a few months or even a few weeks.
If you’re unable to catch up with these changes, your content will suffer for it. For you, it might seem that you’re serving up content with quality just as you always have, but readers will think that your content is no longer relevant and won’t continue to read it or anything else you write.
A good content writer evolves with the ever-changing tide that is the internet and never lets their content be considered dated or old.
A social media marketing is a strategy that most bloggers and businesses employ for promoting their products and services, as well as their content.
Content that goes viral on social media has increased chances of reaching the intended target audience. Plus, content that’s popular on social media tends to show up as search results on search engines as well.
Aside from being a tool to promote your content, social media is a great way to get in touch with your target audience and get to know them better. As I mentioned, knowing your target audience is a key aspect of creating valuable content.
Even the best content is worthless if no one can find it.
This is where SEO comes in.
SEO can be complicated, so if you feel it distracts you from creating your content, you don’t have to go too deep . However, you need to know at least the basics.
When you feel you can handle it, you can always read up on advanced SEO techniques, but always remember that making relevant, helpful content should always be your priority.
In today’s era of content marketing and native advertising, being transparent is more important than ever.
People are tired of being sold to, and they’re tired of being lied to about being sold to. As readers of information on the internet, consumers in general have gotten good at spotting the telltale indications of sponsored posts or posts where bloggers stand to gain something (e.g., posts created to display affiliate links).
If you insist on hiding this important fact and your readers find out, you can say goodbye to your credibility and goodbye to your audience.
Rather than be perceived as untrustworthy, just come clean. It costs you nothing to be honest. Always clearly indicate on your article if you were paid by a company to write about their product or service on your blog.
In addition to full disclosures about being sponsored, your integrity should also be manifested through your original content.
When creating content, you’ll inevitably be researching and going to several different websites to research and get information. You’ll probably come across other articles about the topic you want to write about that are particularly well-written, and you might think “Hmmm, maybe no one will notice if I copy-paste this article and publish this instead.”
Search bots will notice.
If your blog gets flagged for having duplicate content, things can get ugly real quick. Best(!) case scenario, you get penalized on search results. Worst-case scenario, you get sued by the actual owner of the article.
And if you posted that content on a client’s blog, they can get penalized, and they can sue you for damages. Not to mention the fact that you’re almost certainly fired.
TL;DR: always write unique content.
If you’re running your own blog, you’ll have so much more to do than content creation. You’ll have to optimize your content for search engines to find, promote your content, and maintain your blog.
By contrast, if you’re a freelance content writer, you don’t have to deal with maintaining your own blog, but you do have to work around your client’s schedule and that means you’ll have firm deadlines for your content.
Either way, you’ll have to be able to manage your time efficiently and organize your tasks so you can meet your targets, whether they’re set by yourself or by your client.
There will be times when you just won’t feel like writing; like everything you’re typing right now is crap.
Here’s a reassuring (or discouraging) thought: ALL content writers go through that.
The only way you can go over this feeling is to just show up. Day after day after day, just sit your butt down in front of your workspace and get to it.
And what comes out may be crap at first, but crap can be polished, edited, restructured so that you have at least a semblance of an article that’s worth reading.
Writing crap is better than nothing, so keep at it. Just show up.
It’s important for a content writer to have a way with words, but it’s not enough. You must also have skills that are particular to writing for an internet audience.
Here again are the qualities of a good content writer.
A good content writer must have:
I have one more thing to say before you go and write your heart out.
Just because you don’t have the qualities I listed down doesn’t mean you’ll never be a good content writer; it just means you have to work harder to train yourself to develop these traits.
The good thing about these qualities is that even if they don’t come naturally to you at first, you can work on developing them. Developing these qualities and improving oneself is an investment that pays you back considerably in your career and in all other aspects of your life.
Do you agree with the points I made? What other attributes do you think make a good content writer? Tell me in the comments?
JoAnne is your average, everyday, sane stay-at-home mom who believes in the power of the internet to make dreams come true. She has an insatiable appetite for chocolate, as well as all things internet marketing. She keeps up with the latest trends in blogging, affiliate marketing, e-commerce, and more.