Are you an excellent writer and interested in expanding your talents to a new career? If so, becoming a professional content writer for a writing service may be the right career move for you. Writing content, especially online, can be an interesting and easy way to make extra money or even to have a career. Content writing can give you professional freedom by letting you set your own hours and decide which projects to take on. But if you are interested in starting a career as a professional content writer, there are specific skills you are going to need to cultivate, and not all of them can be summed up as just being able to write well.
Let’s take a look at the seven skills you will need to become a professional content writer.
- Strong writing skills. Let’s start with the obvious. A professional content writer needs to be a skilled writer and to have the ability to push our high-quality text quickly. To be a great content writer, you need to be able to write in a variety of genres with a number of different approaches. But no matter what you write, you need to be able to turn out essentially finished prose on the first draft. You need to have strong grammar, spelling, and punctuation skills. The better your first draft is, the less time you will spend revising, rewriting, and editing. In a field where pushing out content fast is key, you need to reduce the time you spend on the non-writing parts of the writing process.
- Versatility in writing. It isn’t enough just to be good at one type of writing such as news releases or academic essays. A content writer will be asked to write a number of different types of content, sometimes on the very same day, and you need to be able to rapidly switch between genres, styles, and voices with each new project. As a content writer, your job is to deliver in the client’s voice rather than your own. The more versatile you are, the more work you’ll get.
- Subject matter expertise. The writing process isn’t just about stringing together words. You also need to know what you are talking about in order to write those words. As a subject matter expert, you need to have a deep and detailed knowledge of the topics you are writing about. This will help you to avoid obvious mistakes, and it will also make sure that you have to stop less often to do research in order to keep moving forward with your content.
- Lightning-fast research skills. Even a subject matter expert needs to look things up. The research process can slow down your writing and cost you money if you get paid by the project. Familiarizing yourself with essential databases and research sources can help you to find information faster and this will help you to write more quickly and churn out more work.
- Time management skills. Time management is essential to keeping up with the demands of content writing for a writing service you are working with. You need to be able to set deadlines and consistently meet them. If you are able to manage your workflow so you can turn in assignments ahead of deadline, you will develop a reputation as someone who excels as a content writer, garnering you more work. Try your best to get in the habit of setting up your own deadlines ahead of the ones the client sets so you can impress by delivering fast.
- Prioritization. You will receive many assignments as a writer, and not all of them will be of the same priority. Often, there will be a large, expensive project competing with many smaller and less lucrative ones. You need to be able to prioritize work to ensure that every project gets done while ensuring that you complete the largest and most complex projects on time and on schedule. In the content creation business, falling behind on any one task can lead to cascading delays and eventually blown deadlines.
- The ability to work alone. Many writers who just start out don’t realize how independent you have to be to succeed as a content creator. You will likely have very little contact with other writers, and you will likely have only limited contact with your clients as well. You need to self-motivated and able to begin work on your own without having someone micromanage your time or push you to complete tasks.