Are you a small business owner looking to hire an SEO content writer?
Or perhaps you’re still debating, questioning whether you should hire someone or create your blog yourself.
Or maybe you’re a freelancer looking to become a blog writer, exploring the world of content creation, and wondering what the crucial skills are.
Whatever the case, if you’re new to this particular world, there are a few basics you need to know.
Of course, you’re already aware that there are dozens (if not hundreds) of types of writers in the world.
And of course, you also know that each specialization requires unique skills.
There are copywriters, technical writers, grant writers, novelists, journalists, opinion piece writers, speechwriters… the list goes on and on.
Each of these jobs requires different skills, because the function of the finished material is different. The crucial difference here isn’t always the writers themselves… many writers can write in a wide range of styles.
The crucial difference comes when we ask ourselves: what is this piece for? Who is it written for, and what is its purpose?
When we consider the function of quality SEO content, we can determine the traits necessary to be a great SEO content writer.
The 7 Key Traits Every SEO Content Writer Needs
Every writer needs a few basic skills, no matter the area of specialization. But some are specific to content writing, and are crucial for creating posts that will not only be well-written, but effective.
So whether you’re looking to hire a content writer, or to hone your own skills, let’s take a look at seven key traits you’ll need in your quest.
#1 You Have a High Degree of Personal Organization and Motivation
Okay, so this is technically two things. But organization and motivation go together, and having one without the other is not going to get you the results you want.
Statistically speaking, if you’re an SEO content writer, you’re most likely a freelancer. You might work with specific companies, or you might work solely for yourself. Whatever the case, a lot of self-motivation is what’s required here.
You will probably be working at home or at a cafe. No boss will be standing over your shoulder, telling you that you have until the end of the day to complete a given task. The benefit is a high degree of autonomy… but you’ve got to provide the motivation yourself.
In addition, you need to be organized. The more organized you are, the more productive you can be.
In addition (and this is important once you take on multiple clients) organization helps you learn what your own personal limits are. How much you can reasonably expect to complete in an average day, and how to avoid burnout.
Part of being a responsible freelancer is being honest about how much you can deliver, and how quickly you can deliver it.
If you’re a business owner, both of these become even more important. Of course, business owners tend to be highly motivated already, and have to have the attitude that they are responsible for the big picture.
But if you’re a business owner and you’re creating a blog yourself, you’re going to need extra helpings of both motivation and organization. Web blogs drive traffic and boost sales, but they take a lot of work, and they take constant updates.
Amidst all the other things you have on your plate, that’s going to require some extra energy.
#2 You Have a System
This is a little different from being organized in a professional sense.
This is more about efficiency, and knowing you can complete a task.
Although quality and readability will always matter, an SEO content writer doesn’t have all the time in the world.
You’re not George R. R. Martin. You’re not guaranteed to hit the New York Times bestseller lists, so you don’t get to wait five years (or more) between starting a project and finishing it.
Content creation requires speed and focus. Although you frequently have enormous freedom as far as what goes into a given piece, there is another sense in which it’s a bit like being on an assembly line.
When you write for a business blog, you’re creating a product, and there are certain expectations for the quality of that product and what it’s going to contain.
If you know what the steps are, you will set yourself up for success.
First, you want to research your topic and the business surrounding it. If you’re a business owner writing your own blog, you’ll already have this knowledge down cold.
Second, you want to develop an SEO strategy. That means coming up with keywords and topics that catch the readers attention.
And third, you want to create quality work at a steady pace. If you’re a freelancer, your business clients should be able to rest assured that their posts will be updated regularly, and that the material will be relevant to their customer base.
Everything becomes much easier when you know what the steps are. When you have a system you can count on, you wind up with much more confidence, and you can get a lot more content out the door.
#3 You Deliver on Time
Of course, this shouldn’t be a surprise. Blogs that lose their momentum will also lose the notice of search engines.
For the professional SEO content writer, this is a no-brainer. If you’re a freelancer who can’t deliver posts on time, you’ll likely lose clients or be out of a job.
If you’re a business owner, the repercussions are less immediately obvious, but they’re still there. A blog that’s not being updated will gradually see less traffic, and you’ll see less profit as a result.
#4 You Have an Attention to Detail
When people think “blogs,” they often think of someone’s random thoughts, splattered on a rambling post about their private lives.
A professional blog is not that.
Don’t let the term “blog” fool you. When you’re producing a professional blog for your business, you’re creating the very first content that many new customers will see.
You only get one chance to make a first impression, so make it a good one. Your blog should be well-written, easy to read, and contain proper grammar and punctuation.
Above all, it should be engaging.
Readers can usually forgive a misplaced comma here or there, but they need to be interested in what you have to say.
So pay attention to detail… but also pay attention to keeping their attention.
#5 You’re a Research Superstar
There is a lot of substandard material on the web. Some of it is the result of writers who don’t understand their subject. In other cases, it’s because writers are writing in their second language. All too often, companies attempt to outsource writing to non-English native freelancers. This usually results in subpar content.
Whatever the case, if there’s something you don’t know, you have to be ready and willing to find out.
Researching a new topic is a lot of work, but it’s also one of the joys of being an SEO content writer. You’re constantly learning new things, and then solidifying them in your brain by teaching them to someone else through your blog posts.
It’s one of the most rewarding parts of the job: you’re always discovering something new.
But you have to be willing to do the work.
#6 You Have a High Level of Adaptability
One of the challenges of working with many different clients is that they’re not all operating with the same goals.
One business might want content that has a very simple tone. Others might want a lot of personality, humor, and playfulness in their content.
So you need to be able to adapt to the needs of your client, and the expectations of their customer base. That becomes easier with practice, but if you want to be a good SEO content writer, always remember that you shouldn’t get too stuck in your ways.
After all, you are writing for someone other than yourself.
#7 You Know Every Piece Is for a Specific Audience
When you’re writing SEO material, you have two audiences.
The first is your human audience. These are the customers and web surfers that will come your way, interested in finding out more about your business.
The other is your search engine audience—this is where your SEO preparation is going to become critical.
You’re looking to incorporate specific keywords that will catch Google’s attention. If you’re writing dozens of posts for one blog, you also want to make sure that these keywords answer a variety of questions, in order to cast a wide net.
You also want to create a steady flow of fresh content so that search engine archives are constantly seeing that you have new material (this boosts your visibility).
And when writing for people, you need to create not only engaging content, but clickable headlines.
A great strategy is to do your SEO research at the beginning, before writing a single post. Get a feel for what the big picture is going to look like. That way you know that when you’re finished with a round of blog posts, you’ll have a range of keywords represented, and you’ll be writing for the right audience.
The SteadyContent Solution
Perhaps all this seems like it’s a bit much to handle. After all, being an SEO content writer can be a full-time job, and if you’re a business owner, you already have a job that’s more than full-time.
But fortunately, at SteadyContent, we can take the pressure off. Our writers exemplify these seven traits. And with a team of over 500 individual writers, you can rest assured that your content will be well-researched, well-written, and completed in a timely fashion.
Interested in a test run? Check out our short-term introductory packages, and see what’s right for you!