In today’s internet age the content availability has exploded, due to exponential growth in the number of websites, be it business or personal, and correspondingly there is a rapid growth in the number of writers. However, in order to pursue a long-lasting career as a writer, it is very important for you to stand out amongst the crowd. We will discuss the right skills that are required for a writer, to help you to have a specialty, be unique, and different, amongst the competition.
First and foremost thing that you’ll need to have is, a passion for writing, without a passion for writing, you might easily lose your motivation and move on to something else and this is true not only for writing but anything that you would choose to do be it a business, career or a hobby or anything else.
5 Essential Writing Skills
Although there are many skills that a writer needs to have. Let’s understand 5 skills, that are essential for a person to be a writer, as below.
1. Strong Research Skills
A writer would need to be versatile at the beginning to take up as many opportunities as possible to hone up his writing skills, although eventually, one would specialize in a few niches (s) based on his/her interests. Before writing on a topic specified by a client, understand clearly the brief provided to you. Read it twice or thrice to ensure that nothing is missed out. Communicate with the customer if needed for clarity, listen carefully. One needs to thoroughly research the subject and get as much information in as many details about the topic as possible. Identify the appropriate keywords, find out about the likes, dislikes of the target audience, their expectations and intent, the expected writing style, tone, demographics, psychology, have empathy for the readers and thus should be able to deliver a top-notch experience for the readers.
2. Organized, Structured and Proofreading
A writer should write an article that is structured well and presented in an organized manner. For example, it should have an introductory section that briefly tells the reader what they can expect in the article. A details section where your idea or theme of the article is explained in a simple easy to understand manner (KISS principle aka keep it simple stupid) that could be split up in multiple paragraphs. A concluding section where the essence of the article is succinctly summarized for the benefit of the reader. Effective communication skills usage, the information should be presented appropriately and proportionately, using text, images, graphics, audio and video aids to create a lasting impact on the reader. Additionally, he needs to be good at proofreading, he should be able to remove all grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors from the article before the article submission to the editor for publishing. An unstructured, disorganized, confusing article with many mistakes, can repulse the reader.
A writer should write an article in a manner such that a reader gets engaged in a similar way he gets immersed while reading a story. You should avoid being preachy, in your face, promotional or an advertorial type of article, but a subtle story in a conversational style, that entices the reader and makes him curious to read your article in full. If a reader gets bored, he is likely to abandon the article and will not come back again to any of your other articles. A writer thus needs to understand the pulse of the readers and knowledgable about types of articles that are received well by them. Weaving your article theme into a grasping story will make your readers ask more articles from you. Storytelling is an art and eventually, you would need to develop it, so that readers would come back to your articles again and again.
4. Reviewing and Editing
Apart from writing another foremost skill, a writer needs to have is, Reviewing and editing skills. A good writer is essentially a good editor and has an eye for self-reviewing his own work. He must review and re-review the article as necessary. Edit the article for language, grammar, punctuations, with short easy to read sentences. Ensure that the article is correct factually. He should avoid mistakes of omission and commission. A writer should be patient, not afraid of reviewing, editing and revising the draft several times. A writer should deliver an accurate, error-free article and get it approved by the customer or the editor for before it gets published.
5. Pitching (Marketing)
A writer can write the best quality article that is original, but what is the use of a top class, unique article that cannot reach the target audience or readers? As a writer, you need to be pitch or market it to the editors or readers well. Using today’s digital channels, making it discoverable. Knowledge of HTML, CSS, SEO and other web and mobile technologies and platforms could be very useful. A writer should provide an article that is SEO friendly with the specified and relevant keywords. He should widely share it through the various social media platforms, forums such as Twitter, Medium, Tumblr, Linkedin, Facebook, Quora, relevant online publishers, dedicated article and blog sites, and directories etc. as needed to ensure widespread and maximum reach.
How to stand out in the crowd
As a writer, you will need to develop your own unique style and tone of writing without copying it from anybody else. Communicate and express your ideas freely, in a manner that is short, simple, and easy to understand. You can connect the dots and relate things, provide solutions, engage your reader through a story. Ensure that you answer the questions what readers are seeking in. A writer should be disciplined, organized, persistent, communicable, responsive, open for fair criticism of the work and willing to improve. He should practice his skills day in and day out until perfection, without giving up irrespective of highs and lows in life and develop his own specialty. It is the surest way to stand out in the crowd.
Besides these essential skills listed above, it is important to satisfy your client, it is not just a tick of the box activity. You need to have clarity in requirements and the motives of your client, and should also able to read between the lines beyond what is stated, understand the hidden or the implicit requirements that are beyond the obvious, the psychology of the readers, the intent, the objective of the article and know the pulse of the readers and accordingly you should write an article that motivates the reader to take the appropriate action, which could be either subscribing to the email list, or downloading the free resource, making a purchase according to your customers need. A writer should delight his clients and readers.
To be a successful writer, besides a passion for writing, let’s quickly recap, the essential skill sets required, these are, Strong Research, Structured, Organized, and Proofreading, Storytelling, Reviewing, Editing and, and Pitching (Marketing) besides these primary skills a lot more such as being disciplined, listening and communication skills, understanding the pulse of the readers, their likes, dislikes, styles, intents, tone their demographics, psychology, Client Satisfaction etc. To deliver a strong and memorable reading experience so that he keeps on returning to your newer articles as well.