Marketing is now extremely dependent upon the role of content, and as such the quality of the content needs to be of a consistently high standard. All content is different, and brands might choose a content strategy for a number of reasons.
- Click bait content, intended to draw clicks to a website or blog
- Thought leadership content, intended to position the author, and associated organisations as the experts within their field
- “SEO” content, intended to have a positive effect on keyword ranking from an SEO point-of-view
There are many other types of content that can be relevant to the content marketing strategy of a business or organisation, but a great content writer has to be concerned and comfortable with them all. A great content writer needs a number of other key skills and ingredients to ensure success.
Find Your Voice
A content writer needs to be able to understand the voice of the content that they are writing, and write to that specification. Great writers should be able to speak in a number of voices to match the subject matter of their content, and slip in and out of that voice with ease.
But how do you find the voice?
Finding each of your voices should be a process developed over time. In the research phase, content writers need to look beyond simply the facts of the work that they read, and learn from how the journalists speak to their audience. Look to learn from their style, whether it is jovial or more corporate and serious. This should be established in the research phase.
Talking of which…
Never Leave the Research Phase
The research phase is the key part of the content process and will define a content writer’s success. The best writers will always carry some form of jotter with them at all times, and will begin jotting as soon an idea comes to them. There are a number of best practices that content writers should look to adhere to at all times.
- Bookmark or favourite any key articles or webpages that you find within your browser
- Buy magazines and newspapers that feature interesting or useful articles
- Leave yourself reminders to check dates, statistics or generally easy to forget information
- Don’t be afraid to talk to people – if you don’t understand something, someone else will
Good research will allow you to write and speak in a confident manner about the chosen subject of your content, so the process must be viewed as of paramount importance. Your research never really stops, much in the way that you should be continually looking to improve your copy. Any new voice on the subject has merit, and will undoubtedly contribute to your understanding, so by being alert to developments in the story, your content can add real value to the general discussion.
Be Passionate About Your Writing
One of the most important elements of a great content writer is passion. However, many people will misunderstand this skill. Being passionate about every subject is an unlikely occurrence for any content writer; we all have our own interests, and things that turn us off, this is entirely natural. The skill that content writers need to master is passion for their talent as a writer.
Take pride in your work and the results that it heralds. You have a rare talent, that is very much in demand, and you should be proud. More so than any skill or trick that you learn, your passion for your work will define your success and continued improvement in your field.
Plan, Plan and Plan Some More
Good content writers plan, great content writers plan some more. Many writers will jump straight into their piece of content, without any form of structure or planning in place. This may seem like a faster option, but it will only result in the process taking considerably longer, as you flit between websites, looking for something else to talk about. Strong planning will reduce the writing time, as you will immediately know what you are writing when.
Planning needn’t follow any strict structure, every content writer is individual, and has their own way of doing things. You might have simple bullet points, in a structured list, which will define the structure of the piece. You might choose to create a spider diagram with all of your information included, and work round the diagram, point by point. Of course, you may choose to use something a little more technical, there are a number of tools which are particularly helpful in planning content.
How you choose to plan is entirely individual, but good planning invariably makes good content.
We’ve only touched the surface of what makes great content writing and writers, so let us know what ingredients you think a content writer needs in the comments below.
If you would like to discuss our content marketing services, get in touch with the StrategiQ team today. You can call us on 0333 358 3343 or use our contact form.