Engaged readers will share the content, return to the same website for more, and eventually become leads, prospects and customers. Besides mastery of language, writing skills, and styles, freelance content writers should master some other, more technical, but equally important skills.
Skill no. 1: Polish your Writing
If you want to work as a content writer, you must have marketable writing skills. You probably have not been writing as much as you did while you were in school, so you should take steps to brush-up on your writing skills. Consider enrolling in a creative writing class either in person or online offered by your local community college. You can also pursue self-study by buying books that teach you how to develop your writing skills. Also, the Internet has many free and premium resources available that can help you become a proficient and prolific writer.
Writers can also improve their skills by practicing. Use a regularly scheduled period to practice writing. As you write, you will build your skills and find your “voice,” the tone and other characteristics that will make your writing unique.
Expose yourself to other writers by reading books and paying attention to their style, vocabulary and voice. Try a variety of different books on different subjects written by various authors to add depth to your writing skills. When you find writers you like, study their style and emulate it in your work. You should also find a writing partner who can read your work and give you honest, constructive feedback about your grammar, style, vocabulary, and voice.
Once you've polished your writing skills, you'll be able to master different writing styles and adjust to various situations where these styles might be required.
Skill no. 2: Be Familiar with the Basic SEO
Content writers can create better outcomes for content marketing if they understand the principles of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) that make it work. Optimized content that has a high amount of relevance to a search appears near the top of the results pages. It increases the likelihood that the person who performed the search will choose to visit the site.
Utilizing the right SEO tools enables you to improve on-page SEO (such as title tags, meta tags, and alt tags), discover the best keywords a website should be ranking for, and keep creating engaging and optimized content.
Skill no. 3: Be Acquainted with Basic HTML, CSS and WordPress
Content writers who have HTML and CSS skills will have a competitive edge. You can add an extra touch of style to your content to optimize it for the readers who will ultimately benefit from it.
Understanding the basics of WordPress adds another valuable skill to your repertoire, because you can post your content directly to the website without an intermediary.
Skill no. 4: Know Your Social Media Strategy
Competent content writers must be able to successfully blend social media and content marketing. Social media channels generate significant traffic for websites. In order to leverage their potential, you must have a bulletproof strategy.
First and foremost, you should be able to identify the channels your target audience frequents and interacts with most. The second thing to look after is the timing; knowing when you should start promoting the content and how often should you repeat the process.
You must give special attention to the type of content the audience responds to best. Visuals generally attract more attention, so complement your content with pictures, videos or animations whenever possible.
Interesting post headlines will keep the audience engaged, so you must be creative and keep testing different varieties. Consider the nature of each platform you post on and customize your approach to content promotion.
Skill No. 5: Stay Well-Organized
Content writers must recognize that digital marketing provides website owners with easy ways to track and measure results. As a content writer, you undergo scrutiny along with your work, so keep working on your organizational skills needed to produce consistent results. Successful writers must have optimal work environment and use the tools that help them stay organized so they can achieve maximum productivity.
Develop a system that will help you work. At first, you might spend more time than you want to on every step of the process. If you take your time to develop suitable methods for your work, you will eventually work fast enough to manage a hefty workload. You should also choose tools and apps that will help you stay on top of your game. When you establish a winning routine, you will manage to stay productive and successful at what you do.
Writers who have more to offer than sound language and communicating skills can gain an edge in the marketplace by providing quality, optimized content for content marketing. Basic SEO and coding skills, a flair for social media, and excellent organizational skills will undeniably enable content writers long-term career success.
Lisa Michaels is a freelance writer, editor and a striving content marketing consultant from Portland, who does her best to stay on top of the current trends in the business world.
Feel free to reach her on Twitter or LinkedIn.