Content is the lifeblood of your website. It drives search engine results, increases traffic to your page, and establishes your organization as an industry leader. Therefore, to create a bunch of stunning content, superb content writing skills are required.
Creating and writing content is so much more than picking up an idea and putting words in the empty space by writing what you understand about it. It is also about making sure that what you write provides value for the reader so they come back for more. And of course, all of those things can be a bit daunting when you are new to content writing.
Not to mention that you also need to pay attention to the Google algorithm to ensure that your content sits on the top page of the SERPs. After all, you don’t want to spend all of that blood, sweat, and tears in content writing just to see it get buried, right?
Improving your content writing skills takes extra effort, time, and patience. And to help you out, we’ve listed some essential content writing skills that you have to master to become a successful content writer.
You need to remember that building your content writing skills is a long-term process. There is no such thing as an overnight success. And content writing is a skill that should be allowed to evolve.
The good content writing skills we are talking about here are the ability to write well-structured, readable content that not only delivers value but also gives an engaging experience for your readers.
So, here are some basic and essential content writing skills you need to have to create shareable and mesmerizing content for your website or blog:
This is probably one of the most basic content writing skills you need: adaptability. Before you type the first word, you need to understand the right tone, style, and language you will use to fit the purpose of the piece.
Often, content gets buried by other work or just falls flat because the writer did not use the right tone and style for their messaging and intention.
For instance, when writing content for your homepage, you should go for concise, straightforward, but catchy messaging to help visitors understand what you offer and what makes you different from others—your unique selling points.
In this case, avoid using heavy and report-like language that can only overwhelm the reader and scare them away.
Meanwhile, when you create an ebook or whitepaper for lead generation, feel free to use as much data and statistics as you can to back up your claims. Your readers want to download a piece that will not only answer their curiosity but also tell them something more.
So, make sure you always spend more time researching your writing purpose and messaging thoroughly before typing in any words.
We are all human, and sometimes small content writing mistakes happen. But, we can overcome it by developing our attention to detail.
When it comes to content writing, detail matters. Paying attention to small details like punctuation, grammar, spelling will show your professionalism and authority in the field.
It’s not only that, though. Details also save time for your reader when they can read your piece quickly and all at once without having to stop and think in the middle about what you mean.
To develop your attention to detail, you need to start investing more time and effort to check or proofread your content before you push the “Publish” button. You can also read it aloud to help you spot any errors in your writing.
Another important way to review is to have someone else read your content. Other people know less about your writing, so it’s easier for them to spot any mistakes or unclear sections.
Some small, tiny details might seem like nothing and make no difference to your content. But, if you’re not catching the little nitpicky mistakes, are you sure you’re catching all the big ones?
You do not write content for yourself. You write content for your readers and, of course, search engines. Therefore, it is always better to stay updated with the latest SEO trends.
A successful content writer always stays on top of SEO trends. No matter how brilliant your content is, if your target readers or audience cannot find it, it will not get you anywhere.
By keeping up with SEO trends, you can understand what types of content Google values most and prioritizes.
Therefore, knowing how SEO works and how search engines like Google update their algorithm is one of the most essential content writing skills.
Invest more time in learning how to craft SEO-friendly content. Try to pick the right keywords, make the content mobile-responsive, improve the loading time, and produce great visuals (such as explainer videos, infographics, GIFs, memes, and screenshots).
We mentioned it briefly before, but this is worth repeating: good content is content that brings the reader the value they hoped for. In this case, you need in-depth research to add value and give them what they want.
Statistics, facts, background stories, and interviews will add more professionalism and value to your readers.
You can say that strong research skills also make your content more trustworthy and authoritative. And when you provide readers with reliable information, they will use it as a source for their website or blog.
Well-researched content helps you generate more qualified and high-quality backlinks. This, as a result, can help you establish credibility for your website and make you an expert in your field.
Content writing needs a high level of concentration and focus. When you stay concentrated and focused, it is much easier to make sure that what you write makes sense and flows seamlessly.
It might sound easy enough, a no-brainer. But, many content writers struggle to stay on task and get rid of distractions.
There can be too many things pulling at your attention: too much content to write, too many resources to read, too many topics to think about, and too much this and that. Not to mention when writer’s block hits and your mind just wanders.
One of the best ways to improve your focus and concentration is to focus on one task at a time. You can also start with easy tasks before moving on to larger, more difficult projects.
And when something becomes too much to handle, it’s always better to take some breaks to refresh your mind and look for more inspiration.
One of the biggest challenges most content writers have to face is how to make the best use of their time.
If you write for your own website, getting your content project done on time is crucial for the overall campaign performance. And if you write for a client, getting the content done on time shows your professionalism and credibility.
The one thing you’ll be wishing you had more of when you’re writing content with a looming deadline is nothing but time. You must be able to write with a high level of focus, and you must be able to write fast.
Therefore, good content sometimes needs to not only provide value but also be finished before the deadline. And you need to remember that not everyone can multitask, working on multiple projects simultaneously.
To develop your time management skills, you can start by trying to write at the same time every day and setting a clear goal for each task. This helps you stay on track with your content writing process. You might also want to utilize a timer to help you focus on your writing sessions.
Empowering writers, not replacing them.
Developing those essential content writing skills mentioned above takes time and patience. Just like any other job, the endeavor to become a successful content writer requires you to dedicate yourself to a long, hard effort. And once you crack the code, it’s all worth it.
To help you improve your content writing skills, we’ve listed some best practices. There is no secret formula for writing high-quality content. But, the content writing tips below can help you hone your content writing skills.
Joining writing workshops or development groups can help you learn much more about content writing, as you can see writing principles from other people’s perspectives. A meetup with professionals or colleagues also helps you to get direct feedback about your content writing concerns or your work in general.
Platforms like LinkedIn or Meetup can help you to find and meet like-minded writers and workshops near you.
You can also apply for a writing night class to dig more in depth into the content writing field. Professionals should be able to guide you through the content writing process and help you to overcome any challenges.
“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time to write. Simple as that.”
Reading and writing are closely linked to each other. It’s yin and yang. To write content well, there are two things you need to do: read and write. With those two activities, everything else in the content writing process will simply flow.
As you read more, you will learn to read with a writer’s eye. The more you read, the better you can handle grammar and vocabulary.
You also have a solid understanding of the nuances of language and recognize the difference between poor-quality and high-quality writing. This makes it much easier for you to develop your attention to detail.
When writer’s block hits, you can also overcome it by reading. This helps you to gain knowledge and you will find inspiration.
Most content writers tend to have a lot on their plate, from coming up with ideas to proofreading the final result.
Therefore, it is crucial to create realistic expectations for how much content writing you can accomplish in a day or even a month. By setting clear and measurable goals, you can make sure that you maintain your productivity and avoid feeling overloaded. You will understand what time of day works best for you and what projects need to be prioritized.
Consistent writing schedules and defined achievable goals can help you develop better time management. Having a structure that creates a window for writing will push distraction and procrastination to the side and give you a clear head to pursue your content writing. In other words, it maintains your productivity without overwhelming you.
A successful content writer makes writing seem like nothing difficult. They make it look so easy and quick. It is normal for you to get tempted to write flawless content with no effort—just like them.
However, you need to realize that most of the time, first drafts are a mess, and that’s okay. Remember, content writing is an iterative process. It takes effort before you can finally produce great content. There’s nothing like an overnight success. So, don’t expect yourself to get everything right and create a masterpiece on your first attempt.
Without you even realizing it, the successful content writer that you admire spends hours and hours revising and reworking their material to make it much better and avoid embarrassment.
In today’s digital world, writing doesn’t have to be agonizing, and almost anybody can improve their writing skills with a little discipline, a willingness to learn, and of course, the knowledge to utilize content writing tools.
Thanks to the internet and the rapid growth of technology, there are a bunch of content writing tools that you can rely on to write high-performing content seamlessly.
Here is a quick list of essential and must-have content writing tools you need to use:
Content calendar tools can help you create a to-do list and create a constant writing schedule so you can keep the writing process on track and on time. It helps you make sure you meet all the deadlines.
By using a content calendar tool, it becomes much easier for you to create a routine as a professional and reliable content writer.
Popular writing schedule tools:
We’ve talked about distractions before. They’re the enemy of every content writer out there. You can use website or app blockers to eliminate distractions so that you can stay focused on the content writing.
Most distraction blocker tools also allow you to set a schedule or a timer and offer encouragement. Thus, it can be a powerful tool to assist you to build better habits.
Popular distraction blocker tools:
One of the most essential yet hard-to-develop content writing skills is attention to detail. The punctuation, grammar, and spelling checks of your writing affect the final quality.
With the help of grammar and spelling checker tools, you can easily spot those writing errors. They also help you optimize your writing and make it more succinct and readable. Make it a habit to run your text through those grammar and spelling checker tools, as it will turn you into a better content writer.
There are also AI-powered writing and research platforms to help you write well-researched and SEO-friendly content, like Outranking. This platform acts as your writing assistant to seamlessly do research, build intriguing outlines, write stunning content, and help you become a subject matter expert in your field.
You can develop your content writing skills and get better with words by joining online writing courses. By signing up for these courses, you will get more knowledge about content writing through the downloadable learning materials and advice from professionals in the field.
Most importantly, the learning is self-paced, so you do have some flexibility. You can revise all those learning materials at your own speed.
Popular websites that offer online writing courses:
Empowering writers, not replacing them.
Content writing might seem like a no-brainer. All you have to do is to write your message in those blank spaces, right? But, that writing part is never easy. There are a lot of things here which you have to attain.
Content writing is a much-prized skill and can be difficult to master. Also, there is no such thing as a perfect writer. Everyone—both beginner and professional content writers—can always improve their content writing skills.
With all of the points in the guide above, now you understand what you need to bring to the table to become a successful content writer. By successful, I mean you can create easy-to-read and valuable content consistently in the long run without burning yourself out.