Being an effective content writer requires more than understanding the basics of grammar, punctuation and sentence structure. Content writing is an art form unto itself, and a successful writer needs to wield a wide range of skills to pen articles that are not only well written, but that will engage readers and drive search engine rankings. If you want to be satisfied with your content writer, here are five key skills he or she should possess.


One of the most overlooked qualities of a writer is also one of the most important. Nothing turns off a reader more than misspelled words, especially when it comes to names and proper nouns. The writer’s goal is to offer a pleasant and simple reading experience. This is interrupted every time a reader needs to make sense of run-on sentences, misplaced punctuation or other errors.


Content writing is a balancing act, and writers need to be organizational acrobats. Most of the time, writers are managing a variety of projects, and possibly for a number of different clients. Being able to keep track of each project’s requirements – and due dates – is paramount. Missing deadlines can ruin a client’s marketing strategy and forever destroy his or her confidence in the writer.

SEO Familiarity

An individual could be a master of the written word yet still not help a client’s content show up in search engines. Success means understanding how to craft original and relevant content that will drive web traffic. Writers should know how to effectively employ keywords and titles to influence customer action. Staying on top of the latest trends is as important as search engine algorithms are always in flux.

Understanding the Audience

Great writing doesn’t mean anything if no one reads it. Research is an important part of content writing, but the first thing writers need to explore is the intended audience. Understanding the reader and what they want to read is key. Additionally, some clients require a specific style of writing, so a content writer needs to be able to quickly adjust his or her approach from project to project.


A writer who lacks integrity lacks credibility, and one who lacks credibility lacks readers. There is a lot of content on the internet, but that doesn’t give a writer free rein to claim another’s work as his or her own. Plagiarism is a crime and one that can ruin the careers of writers and clients alike. A successful content writer brings a unique perspective to a subject and injects personality into the content. Readers don’t like being manipulated, so writers also should avoid misleading headlines or unsubstantiated claims.

Like a good meal, there are a lot of ingredients that go into content writing. These five skillsets should be at the top of every good writer’s menu.

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Author's Bio: 

Web Content Development is a full-service digital marketing company offering web design, video, graphics creation, SEO, content services and Reputation Management. We have nearly 30 staff, write over 100,000 words a week and work on long and short term reputation management, web design and SEO projects.