The content marketing world is growing rapidly, which means there are plenty of opportunities for good freelance content writers. But the pool of available writers is growing almost as fast as the industry, possibly faster. Thankfully, for most businesses, high quality content marketing is the top priority, which means that if you are possess the right qualities, you will be in demand.
But what exactly are those qualities that are in demand?
1. Excellent Writing Ability
It almost goes without saying that you need to have excellent writing ability in order to create excellent content marketing.
But excellent writing means more than just good grammar and good spelling. It requires a solid knowledge of semi-obscure, precise words and synonyms (or good skill with a thesaurus), the ability to vary sentence length for readability, and the ability to be witty without going off topic. Truly great writers even know how and when to break these rules to create better prose.
Even if your writing skills don’t pass muster, you needn’t fear. There are plenty of resources available for improving your writing, and effort goes a long way when it comes to writing. Work hard and you’ll improve.
And always remember this most important of rules: even if they haven’t said absolutely everything, excellent writers need to know when to just stop writi..
2. Superior Communication Skills
The best content marketing is created when the writing process is a cooperative endeavor between the client and the writer. But cooperation only exists with communication.
Clients expect that writers are available to discuss projects during normal business hours (time zones permitting) and prefer writers who are available during extended hours. This allows writer and client to engage in a real time dialogue about the project, even if the communication is relegated to e-mail.
But simple availability isn’t enough. You need to be proficient at communicating effectively. This may seem like a skill that every good writer has, but the difference between creating prose and conversing is not insignificant.
In conversation (even when done by e-mail), you need to suppress your ego and listen carefully to the concerns and desires of the client.
3. Audience Empathy
One of the many secrets to good content marketing is that it should sound like it was written by someone that has used the product or service being marketed. Personal familiarity is often the main way this is accomplished, but exceptional research skills can make up for a lack of familiarity.
Even personal familiarity isn’t particularly helpful, though, if you aren’t able to express that familiarity to the audience. You need to express yourself in a way that resonates with the majority of the audience.
This is where audience empathy comes in. Whether you are writing from personal experience or research, you need the ability describe the product in much the same way that an average user would, just with more compelling language. Unique experiences make for great blog content, but only if you have either first positioned yourself as a legitimate user of the product / service, or if you weave the standard experience in with the unique experience.
4. Proficiency at Matching Voice
Any long term content marketing campaign tries to portray a single voice. It makes the message more cohesive and produces better results. Most clients are aware of this and look for writers that are capable of matching the voice of their business.
No matter how good a style guide you are given, though, if you aren’t capable of adapting your writing style to match a different voice, you will be limited in your potential in the content marketing world.
This particular quality is actually quite difficult to master, so you shouldn’t be concerned if it doesn’t come naturally.
Practice makes perfect. If you find that lack of this quality is holding you back, a good way to practice is by trying to write prose in the style of a famous author and seeing whether someone who has read some of that author’s work can tell the difference.