The perks that come with being a content writer are hard to ignore. You can work at your favorite cafe, or at the leisure of your house. You can choose your own work schedule, and if you are fortunate enough, you may even get to choose your own projects. But despite the beauty of it all, being a content writer is hard work and requires that you have certain qualities. As more and more aspiring writers enter the arena, you need to step up your game to stay competitive.
So what do you do to ensure that you stay ahead and take your content writing to the next level? There are specific skills you should master in 2021, and we have outlined them for you.
Skill #1 = Strong SEO Knowledge
It doesn’t matter how well you write if your content never reaches your audience. You can be the absolute best content writer, but a lack of SEO knowledge will result in your writing’s slow and painful death.
In order to ensure that what you write finds its way to your reader’s list and that your content is shareable, you need to stay on top of SEO trends. It is essential to know how to create strong SEO titles and use SEO keywords throughout your text. Google algorithms change continuously, so keeping up with these changes is crucial.
Skill #2 = Strong Research Skills
Excellent content is credible, reliable, and objective. For your content to be both valuable and adhere to these principles, you must develop strong research skills. Research is a vital step before any writing can actually commence.
To be an expert content writer, you must develop strong research skills. Use trustworthy and reliable sources and link them to your content piece. Add credibility to your writing by citing several sources and in debatable issues mention both sides of opposing arguments.
Refer to statistics and back your arguments with evidence and data. This will not only make your content more reliable but will also make you, as a content writer, seem more knowledgable and professional.
Skill #3 = Strong Organizational Skills
Staying on top of your writing assignments requires strong organizational skills. You can start by organizing your workspace and removing any potential distractions. You need to remain focused on your work at hand. A clean workspace works wonders for your concentration and efficiency.
Delivering projects late makes a wrong impression and will certainly hamper your future employment opportunities. Stay ahead of your game and organize yourself and your projects. Make a calendar and mark all your projects and their deadlines on it. Decide to work on the most urgent tasks first. Create a daily plan and split your day into the morning and afternoon shifts. Decide beforehand which project will get done in the morning and which will get done in the afternoon. Prioritize your jobs and follow your calendar to make sure that everything gets completed on time and promptly.
Always keep in mind that your clients have deadlines they need to meet. Delivering a project late will throw them off course and leave little to no time for editing and adjustments should your client require them.
Developing strong organizational skills is crucial to help you maintain your job and your sanity.
Skill #4 = Strong Time Management Skills
Many content writers spend hours or even days on a single content piece laboring over it excessively. To stay ahead of your game, you need to break up your time in fiscal terms. Decide what you consider to be a profitable earning per hour. If a landing page pays you $25, but you spend 5 hours on it, then it means your aggregate earnings are less than $5. Do you consider this to be a viable transaction? If not, you need to speed up your pace and allocate as much time to a piece to make it worthwhile. (Learn more about managing your income as a freelance writer here).
Note, however, that you should not sacrifice quality for quantity. You are bound to move slower initially, but as you become more and more experienced, you will be able to move your way quickly through assigned projects. Just do a mental calculation before you begin and decide on a logical amount of time you should spend on each project.
Developing strong time management skills also implies self-awareness, and knowing one’s limitations and abilities. Knowing how much time you need for a project will allow you to accept or decline to take on more projects. Taking on more and more tasks that you will fail to deliver on time due to insufficient time management skills makes you look unreliable. This will likely cost you future job assignments and enroll you in the notorious list of freelance content writers to avoid.
Skill #5 = Strong Communication Skills
Developing strong communication skills is essential if you wish to stay ahead of the game. If you cannot effectively communicate with your client, chances are you will lose that client. Ensure you and your client are on the same page and have a mutual understanding of a particular project’s expectations. If you are not sure what your client wants, ask for clarifications. There is nothing to be ashamed of. It is better to communicate, request, and verify than to get your project rejected due to misunderstanding and lack of communication. Always remember that any email exchanges between you and your client should be treated as official. Maintain a professional yet cordial tone and always proofread before you hit send.
Skill # 6= Strong Adaptability Skills
I see many content writers who flourish when writing blog posts but fail utterly and miserably when writing a white paper. More often than not, excellent writers produce contents where their writing falls flat, and the tone and style they use do not match the purpose of the project. Why is this paradox? Great writer one moment and failure the next? This is the result of a rigid writing style and lack of adaptability.
To be a great content writer, you need to develop strong adaptability skills. You may have a niche for a specific type of content writing, but if you want to stay ahead of the game, you need to be adaptable and switch your writing style and voice to meet your clients’ needs and expectations.
A blog post may require a more friendly, humorous tone, whereas a landing page may require a professional, inspirational tone. Study different types of writing contents and note how the style, tone, voice, and vocabulary change from one to the other. The more styles you can learn, the more quickly you can develop strong adaptability skills, and the more likely you are to land more and more writing gigs.
Staying On Demand
Content writing is continuously changing and evolving. If you want to stay on demand, you need to learn and grow. You should study and stay up-to-date with the latest writing trends. Develop the skills described above and do not remain static. Writing courses are an excellent option if you want to evolve and improve your skills.
If you want to remain competitive and maintain a strong presence in the online marketing arena, consider enrolling in our acclaimed iris-writing academy. Find more information here.