Learning how to become a successful content writer is easy if you follow our toolkit of marketable skills. Becoming a content writer is a great work-at-home opportunity for professional, deadline-driven people who want to make a living helping companies create effective digital marketing content while being solo-entrepreneurs themselves. Content writing means writing in the form of blog posts, website pages, email newsletters, product descriptions, and more. These days an increase in demand for high-quality content doesn’t appear to be slowing down any time soon, so get started today – the sooner, the better.
How To Become A Successful Content Writer: 15 Skills To Keep In Mind
Become A Successful Content Writer In Short:
THE JOB: In its simplest form, for this job, you need to be able to write if presented with a blank page and little information to go on. You should also be able to plan how to make your content engaging. You can of course make your job easier by researching the topic, organizing your thoughts into an outline, writing a copy, and doing a final review to make sure it’s free from errors.
HIRING: For this type of job, attending a class or going to college for writing, isn’t a requirement. Many of your clients simply want to work with a reliable writer who can meet deadlines, accept revisions willingly, and create content that meets their standards. During your job hunt including your education and experience in writing helps prove to clients you’re capable, professional while reading your resume.
WHO IT ISN’T FOR: If you hate the thought of generating loads of content on a tight schedule, then becoming a content writer may not be your cup of tea.
THE RATE: As a lot of content writing jobs pay a flat rate versus by the hour, wasted time means earning less money overall. So this means that you should complete the highest number of projects possible without sacrificing quality.
- A laptop or PC with a reliable source of internet.
- Microsoft Word (for many clients, the formatting issues from downloaded Google Docs files don’t fly).
- A Skype or Zoom account for client calls and video conferences.
- An Excel sheet or planner to keep track of invoices, word counts, dates, and project deadlines.
- Invoice format of the company’s finance dept.
Become A Successful Content Writer: In More Details
How to Get Your First Job Or Additional Work
One of the best ways to find work is to reach out to companies directly or to apply for freelance content writing positions that are advertised on their websites. You can also apply on Facebook thanks to posts calling for content writers but the companies that post these ads end up with hundreds, if not thousands, of applicants, which can make it hard for new content writers to successfully bag their first clients. One way to get over this hurdle is to contact marketing agencies, content writing companies, magazines, and other companies that put out a lot of content and need it. By doing to them directly, you’ll be in less competition with applicants which helps as most of the editors at these companies might be too busy to even put out an advertisement for new writers!
Please keep in mind that you don’t need many clients to become a full-time freelance content writer. As a writer, I have enough work with only a handful of regular clients.
Best Paid Content Writing Tools That Save Time
The following tools listed below are live savers! They make it easy and affordable to become a successful content writer without paying much. In addition, you can sleep soundly without worry thanks to the efficiency and speed of these tools when it comes to writing.
Grammarly is a website that reviews your work for spelling, grammar, and sentence structure. It’s free to use for basic features which is more than enough but some even go for the premium version for additional criteria, such as plagiarism and passive voice. As writing errors can cost you a client relationship, this is well worth doing even if it takes an additional 5 to 10 minutes.
For many clients, the formatting issues from downloaded Google Docs files don’t fly and for that reason, you need MS Word. For this, you’ll need to have it installed on your laptop or PC.
Creating your own blogging website on WordPress.com is easy and affordable. Most freelance content writers don’t need to invest their money on a large extravagant website hosting provider. A WordPress.com page on a domain you own and control is enough to host your writing portfolio, biography, and contact information.
As plagiarized content is bad for SEO and even worse for you, protect your reputation and your career by taking this extra step in stride. Before you submit your final work, use an online plagiarism checker so that your content is as plagiarism free as possible to avoid accidentally duplicating writing.
15 Skills That Will Help You Become A Successful Content Writer
1. Master Different Writing Styles
Successful content writers know that each form of writing has its own style.
News is delivered AP style, in short, informational paragraphs with the meat of the story at the top.
Blogging is personable, friendly, and often opinionated. You can make it as long or as short as you want with plenty of images and videos and links.
Ad copy is short and persuasive.
White papers are long; as they are used to describe a problem and provide the solution.
In short, all types of content are content, and each type needs writers to make them more valuable, engaging, and in demand.
2. Deliver The Best Quality
Do your absolute best to create unique content – that is full of engaging and grammatically correct content.
When your client is asking for articles, you want them to think of you as a superb writer that gets the job completed on time and efficiency so that there is no back and forth correcting. Not only does quality ensure that you don’t waste time editing more, but you can also ask for more payment! consistently delivering good writing will eventually get you to higher-paying work!
3. Be In Demand
You may be an excellent, high-paid writer but if you don’t keep up-to-date with the latest trends, your job opportunities will be limited. Your best option is to enlist in writing and freelance communities, improve your online profiles, be comfortable with cold emailing, leverage different social platforms, and market examples of your work – this way you can save yourself if a job suddenly drops.
Maintaining an active presence on a few social platforms like LinkedIn will not only make you more likely to get certain writing jobs, but you’ll also make valuable clients. If you can offer to share content with your network; they will have an added incentive to procure you as their new writer!
4. Nothing Is Random
- Successful content writers understand and pick their audience. By picking your readers and knowing who they are, you can write what they want to read. You write for your audience. Not for yourself, not for your company, not for your brand.
- Successful content writers perform keyword research and pick the right one.
- Successful content writers check out the competition. What trending content are others in your industry sharing? A competitive content audit gives you a treasure trove of information (like what your competitors are sharing, but who is linking to their content, blogging about it, tweeting it out and posting it elsewhere).
- They also pick a snappy title. After writers have keyword, competitor and reader knowledge, they craft a title that will interest readers. The title compels people to read. . . or not so this should be as compelling as possible.
5. Strong Research Skills
Good research on your topic is key for good content writing – it adds credibility and, most importantly, value.
Therefore, it’s vital to find trustworthy and interesting data that you can extract from reliable sources online. Experienced content writers are especially effective to get the right information with good interviewing skills.
6. Have The Ability To Be Focused
Content writing requires focus which can sometimes be difficult for those who don’t have much experience. Even the ones who do have long term work find it difficult at times but their trick is to start with a few smaller, easy-to-complete tasks before launching into larger projects. One important thing to keep in mind is to turn off all tabs that create distractions and focus on one task at a time.
7. Be Original
Every post with your name on it should be original or else your reputation is on the line.
That probably sounds crazy, with all the tens of thousands of people writing about the same subjects, but it’s easier than it seems. All you have to do is bring forth a unique voice, a different perspective, or new light to any subject. Find a new angle and you’re all set. If you are writing a story, use techniques such as the Dan Harmon Story Circle to create a story that takes your readers on a journey. Originality is very important for every content writer and you shouldn’t compromise with yours.
8. Become an Expert on SEO, HTML, CSS and WordPress.
You only need basic knowledge when it comes to these tools.
WordPress themes have different levels of automatic functions, and sometimes the only way to make your text appear the way you want it to is to dig into the text/HTML tab and manipulate the code to make a title tag or fix a spacing issue. It’s also worth your time to learn the basics. Updated SEO knowledge is also prudent as algorithms change constantly. Content writers have to keep up with these changes to meet demands because if you can write in-depth content from a unique perspective, you’ll be in demand.
9. Become A Social Media Specialist
Social media platforms put everything you need within your grasp – like an audience, industry experts and more.
Name recognition is important after all so the more active you are on social media, the more likely your followers will be to recommend your content. Successful content writers are active, public and friendly on social media.
So, think again about writing just about words on paper and more about you becoming a marketing expert, SEO specialist, on-page coder and social media butterfly. With the right skill set, you’ll succeed and find that yours is the best job in the world.
A lot of content fails due to outdated tone and style that doesn’t fit the purpose of the piece or the culture of the brand. Tone and style should be different for a travel blog and different when it comes to a scientific equipment company targeting medical researchers. The larger number of blogging types you learn, the more quickly you can adapt, the more valuable you’ll be as a content writer.
For example, a landing page should probably contain information or content that is short and designed to persuade the reader to take action. In contrast, a white paper should have more details to explain a more complex issue.
11. Have A Solid Understanding of SEO Trends
Most writers like to battle SEO trends – after all, even the best content won’t be effective if readers can’t find it on Google. Therefore, it’s important to know how to craft SEO-friendly titles, headings and descriptions to keep up with Google’s latest algorithm changes.
12. Organizational Skills
This not only goes for a clean workspace; but also for content writing.
Keeping on top of the writing jobs you’ve taken on is easy with a calendar.
You can meet deadlines with reminders on smartphone programs that will help you organize your time.
Turning an assignment in late sends a bad message to your clients and often won’t give the editors as much time to proofread your article.
Prioritize your jobs, so you get them all done quickly and efficiently.
13. Meet Deadlines
Your clients have deadlines they themselves have to meet such as publishing work or sales targets. Therefore, delivering high-quality content within your deadline makes you look professional and also reliable.
Having good time management is essential to any successful content writer to calculate how many jobs you can accept and reject and deliver on time. If you find yourself struggling with time management, it’s important to pace yourself and not accept all the requests you get your way.
14. Communicate With Your Client
If you have any queries about an assignment, let the client who pays you know. Writing is an area of narration, so there are no excuses for not getting in touch with your client if there is a problem with the brief you got. When you write to your customer, treat it as an official piece of literature. Writing small notes like “proofread your message” will help your client remember your courtesy.
15. Editing, Editing, and More Editing Is A Must
When you’re something that’s been writing articles forever, editing is a silent curse to this job but it’s important. It’s a silent curse because editing needs patience, discipline, and a good eye for detail. On the other hand, it’s also a blessing because going back and making edits like grammar, spelling, and punctuation, look out for redundant points and overused words make you look like a total pro! Sometimes the biggest pros spend more time editing than writing.
In conclusion, just keep in mind that there’s still more to being a writer than just writing. Even during pre-website and pre-typewriter days, there was structure. While it’s important for a content writer to have a flair for the written word, research skills, SEO knowledge, adaptability and staying current are the structural foundations you need to become successful. Taking the time to continually develop these skills is a good way to find the craft and art of writing easy for you to compete and stay in demand.