Hiring great content writers: 30 traits to look for

  • What should I consider when hiring a content writer (freelance or otherwise)?
  • What sets a good writer apart from the rest?
  • How high a rate is too high?
  • How can a content writer help me reach my objectives?

30 characteristics of a good content writer

1) Is a master of technique

  • The ability to project a unique voice that can be adapted to the company’s voice as needed
  • A fluid writing style (to facilitate smooth transitions between sentences and paragraphs)
  • The capacity to grasp logic and argue reasonably well

2) Has experience in your sector

  • Understand and illustrate the essence of a story
  • Identify the best angle for the piece
  • Express himself as an insider
  • Understand industry jargon when researching
  • Make the article relevant and relatable for readers by adjusting to their knowledge level
  • Find reliable and apt information sources

3) Is creative

  • their use of original metaphors, analogies, or examples
  • their use of unconventional words naturally
  • their ability to express an idea clearly without using clichés

4) Knows how to research

5) Is a good interviewer

6) Has a keen eye for detail

  • Avoid careless typos and spelling mistakes
  • Emphasise text with bold and italics when appropriate
  • Spot repeated words or double spaces
  • Correct typographies, text sizes or inconsistent formats
  • Be consistent with style, acronyms, abbreviations, style (eg. US vs USA, color vs colour, etc.)
  • Detect abrupt jumps from one argument to the next

7) Has a sense of humour

8) Understands human psychology

  • Why do people behave as they do?
  • How does this affect my audience and my objectives?
  • How does my writing affect their behaviour?

9) Is assertive

10) Knows SEO

  • Identify appropriate keywords for a particular topic
  • (Or vice versa) come up with an interesting content topic and angle based on high-volume keywords
  • Understand the different factors that determine ranking: keyword difficulty, potential for backlinks, how competitors currently rank for this keyword, and how to present the information in a way that hasn’t already been done by others
  • Know how to do internal linking

11) Introduces keywords naturally

12) Adjusts content to objectives

13) Is analytical

  • What sort of titles work better in this industry?
  • Will listicles or in-depth analyses produce better results?
  • How will storytelling affect engagement for this piece?
  • Do my readers prefer jargon or layman terms?

14) Has experience with different content types

15) Is a good seller

  • Content proposals and ideas to their bosses and/or clients
  • Arguments that convert into ideas that readers think are their own
  • Inherent benefits of any product/service

16) Has basic design skills

17) Has a sense of aesthetics

  • White spaces
  • Paragraph and sentence length
  • Text separation in sections and subsections
  • Bullet points and numbered lists
  • Citations and other relevant sections

18) Is a good teacher

  • adapting the material to their students’ knowledge level
  • giving just the amount of context needed to understand the topic
  • knowing how much detail to go into so that the content is relevant

19) Knows how to write a good introduction

20) Is a good editor

  • Removing repetitive or uninteresting text
  • Adding details and context where necessary
  • Shifting paragraphs or sentences around so that the content flows
  • Looking for original, unique, and/or simple ways to put an idea across

21) Identifies problems (and solutions)

22) Is serious

23) Goes the extra mile

  • Including a relevant section in an article that even though wasn’t in the outline, complements the piece
  • Going beyond the resources provided to quote more updated and relevant data/statistics
  • Taking the initiative to conduct his/her own analysis for other keyword opportunities

24) Is open to criticism

25) Can defend an opinion

26) Looks for the best angle

27) Grasps the art of storytelling

28) Is curious

29) Doesn’t stop reading

30) Has empathy

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