Experience has taught me that content writing is not as easy as it sounds. As I mentioned in a previous article, some people are born writers, and some people, including me, need to invest time in developing certain skills.
Now that the “content marketing is king” syntagm is written on everybody’s lips, pretty much everyone calls themselves a content writer.
But are they, really?
Everyone Gets Better In Time
I believe that everyone has the capacity to learn, accumulate, and analyze the information they receive on a daily basis, so that they make the most of it.
After all, we all get better by practicing, no matter what we do for a living, and that includes the profession of being a content writer.
Every writer will develop a certain style of writing with time, will find the right structure for his/her articles, will know how to format the text and will know how to understand his audience to write better content each time.
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No one’s perfect, and we should accept that. Have patience with your content writer, and if you don’t see any improvement after a few weeks, then the job is simply not suited for him/her.
I may not be an HR expert, but I think I know a little bit about content. And I also know that, in spite of what everyone may think, content writing is an individual job, but it doesn’t need to be treated that way.
If you’re confused with what I’m talking about, here are 7 attributes that make a content writer unwanted.
Doesn’t understand that content writing is team work.
This may come as a shock to you, but it’s correct. Some writers may not understand this, but before they can actually start writing an article, they have to consult with the team and discuss what the best strategy is for the client.
Each team member has a different vision, and only together they will be able to come up with the best ideas.
He/she doesn’t want to receive feedback on his work.
Assuming that your content writer is not a know-it-all, then all of his/her work should be revised by someone with much greater experience.
Some writers may think that they are in some way superior, and that they don’t do anything wrong. Ever. But they are humans, and they can be wrong as well.
If your writer is not happy about receiving feedback for the content he/she writes, then he’s no good for you, and your company.
Doesn’t want to improve.
I think this is the worst impediment. Not wanting to improve is related to not wanting to receive feedback, because feedback is crucial to improving his writing.
Making the same mistakes (even if they are little ones) over and over again, will only stop him/her from evolving into a better writer.
Wants to do everything by himself.
From coming up with ideas and writing the pitches (for the clients, or for your blog), to publishing the post, the writer does not want to involve anyone in this process.
As I said before, even if it doesn’t look like it, content writing is a team effort, and a good writer will understand this.
Keeps everything to himself.
Imagine that one day you’re going to ask one of your colleagues, “Hey, what’s <unsub> writing about right now?” (unsub=unknown subject=the writer. I chose not to give him/her a real name, so that I don’t offend any of you). And your answer will be, “Umm… I really don’t know.”
In that moment, you will realize that the writer keeping all this information to himself, and I’m pretty sure it’s not a ‘life or death’ secret.
Is not open to discussions.
When everyone gathers around during a break, or at lunch, to share what they have been up to, and talk about their ideas, in a casual way, he/she is always there to listen. Never tells what he’s doing, or whether he/she needs any help.
Some people may think of him/her as an introvert, but the writer has been on the team for a while now, so there’s no reason why he/she wouldn’t open up by now.
Or maybe he’s just like that all the time. But why he’s still on the team, I don’t know…
He never asks for advice, or ideas from others.
At Squirrly, all of the content team members make pitches, whether it’s for our blog, or for our clients. After our clients choose the pitches, they are divided between the content writers.
We don’t really keep track of who made what pitch, because we don’t want to assign it to the person who had that idea necessarily.
Sometimes, even I would get the chance to write an article based on a pitch another team member wrote. And that’s okay. This gives me the chance to ask my colleague what he had in my mind when he wrote that pitch.
I would have struggled ten times more if I didn’t do this. The content team members are a valuable resource to the others, and if your writer does not understand that, then I believe that he’s not going to succeed in this field.
What makes a good content writer in your opinion?
In my opinion, what makes a good content writer is the ability to adapt. Of course, it’s important for him to know grammar, how to write a good headline, or how to make his article easily readable. But aside from these assets he can improve in time, if a writer is exactly how I described above, then he will not survive on the team.
I believe that the type of behavior I listed above is unprofessional work ethic, and that you should avoid hiring these types of people. Of course, you can try to reason with them, explain to them why they shouldn’t be acting like this, and if you don’t see any change, then it’s best to let them go.
Now, I want to know. How do you define a good content writer? Are these seven attributes I listed above a bad sign for a writer? Let me know down in the comments.
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