6 Skills All Great Writers Have That Will Help You To Improve Your Writing Skills
If you want to be a successful content marketer, there’s one thing you must be able to do: you must be able to write.
Writing is involved in almost every type of content creation there is, for example….Emails, blog posts, and books, as well as scripts written for video marketing, podcasts and courses.
“The key thing that you need to know is that you can improve your writing skills just by studying the works of great writers, you can learn what makes their writing great. And with practice, you can improve the effectiveness of your own writing, which means more traffic, subscribers, and customers”……..Neil Patel explains in his post “Learn from the Best: 6 Skills All Great Writers Have (and How to Learn Them)”
Neil has studied a wide variety of top notch writers (who are also great marketers) over the years and noticed that they all have certain skills in common:
1. Having a big vocabulary doesn’t make you a great writer
- The measure of a writer is not how big his or her vocabulary is.
- As long as you have a decent vocabulary and understand the fundamentals of grammar of the language you’re using, you can be a good writer.
- The reason why great writers use simple words and phrases is because they write for the reader, not themselves.
- Their readers want their information in the simplest and easiest to comprehend way.
- How can you apply this?
- This is a very simple skill to develop: just write.
- When you’re writing something, write down the first things that come to mind instead of searching for more complicated words instead.
- Don’t worry if you make mistakes; you can always fix them when you edit.
2. Do you care how your readers feel?
- When writers focus on themselves, their writing is not compelling to the reader.
- The answer is to develop empathy– which means that you can understand your readers’ perspective: their problems, interests, personality, and other relevant aspects of their lives.
- The best writers use empathy both to understand what readers need to hear (solve their problems) and to determine the best way to teach them.
- Some audiences need to be shown direct solutions; others need step-by-step directions; while others need a gentle prod in the right direction.
- When writers truly understand their audience and then focus all their attention on writing that will help the audience as much as possible, it shows.
- As you get better at empathizing with your audience, your writing will improve.
- Here’s what you can do to practice this skill and develop empathy:
- Follow this five-step process every time you create content:
- 1.What problems (and related problems) do your readers have around [topic of choice]?
- 2. How significant are these problems (very serious? or just minor pains?)
- 3. How do you think your readers would describe these problems?
- Use steps #1-3 to outline your post. Create an intro and headlines that a reader would not only understand but would see and think, “I was just wondering about that!”
- 4. After writing the content, look at every single sentence/paragraph and ask yourself: “Does my reader actually care about this?” If not, either rephrase it, or take it out completely.
- 5. Study all comments you get on your content (whether it’s a blog comment, review, email, etc.). Try to understand why a reader says they do or don’t like it.
- Create a simple checklist using these five steps, and follow it every time you write.
- If you do, you’ll notice that your content will start to resonate with readers more and more and when it comes to your business, this type of resonance is very important because it tells the reader that you understand them.
3. Great writers aren’t born overnight
- Whomever you think of when you think of great writers, it’s important to realize that they were not born that way.
- They all shared one thing: a drive to be a great writer.
- Right now, you need to check if your motivation to become a better writer is enough to get you to the level you want.
- The most important thing you need to determine is this: do you really want to be a better writer?
- Determine your goals, and then figure out what you’ll need to do to get there.
- For example, if you want to be a blogger, start by taking a look at your favorite bloggers.
- You will need to develop your own system that keeps you accountable:
- Step 1 – determine what you need to do to become the writer you want to be.
- Step 2 – determine a schedule that you can stick to.
- Step 3 – find a way that will hold you accountable.
- When you’re feeling motivated, you’ll have no problem writing. But when you’re not feeling motivated, this accountability plan will keep you on track.
- Step 4 – forget about the result, and focus on the process.
- Don’t worry about traffic stats and other metrics while you write; just focus on writing well—the result will come.
4. “I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time”
- Think of it this way: your content has a message that has a certain value to your readers.
- The longer your content is (if the value is held constant), the lower the intensity.
- If you really want to inspire your readers to take action, your writing needs to blow them away.
- It needs to provide value at a fast enough rate so that it feels to them as if a light bulb went off in their heads.
- In other words, your writing needs to be of a high intensity.
- The more unnecessary words you have, the lower the intensity of your writing will be, and the smaller the impact your content will make.
- How do you cut out the “fluff”?
- To practice, go through your content, sentence by sentence, and ask yourself if there is a simpler way to get your message across.
- Here’s a brilliant article on specific edits that you can make to make your writing more powerful to get you started.
5. I’ve never seen a great writer that doesn’t have this
- The best writers can write about any topic in their niche and put some kind of unique spin—angle—on it.
- Besides being unique, that additional something is also insightful and adds to the value the reader gets.
- Great writers read and practice things in all sorts of fields.
- It boils down to specific traits, they all possess high levels of curiosity and an open mind.
- Some points will be difficult to explain no matter what niche you are writing for.
- For example, maybe you’re trying to explain to your readers how to write in a conversational tone and why it’s more interesting to their readers.
- If your readers don’t understand your explanation, reading it over and over again won’t help them.
- But often, when you make a point in a different context, it becomes much clearer.
- So, how do you do it?
- You’re making connections that other people don’t think of naturally, and that’s what adds a unique angle to your writing.
- In order to do this, you need two things:
- Experience – The more experiences you have in life, the more connections you can make.
- Practice – At first, you won’t make these connections naturally. When you write about a complex topic, force yourself to come up with five connections you could use to explain your point. Over time, you will naturally notice good opportunities.
6. Want to become (and stay) a great writer? You need to have this…
- The final skill that the best writers (in a marketing context) have is adaptability.
- Each form of content has its own quirks.
- Although your writing style will be more or less the same, the best writers know how to tailor their writing for each form of content such as:
- blog posts
- Kindle books
- social media
- On top of knowing how to write for different formats and audiences, great writers keep up with change.
- How do you develop adaptability?
- You need to learn how to respond positively to changing circumstances. And in the marketing world, things change fast, which makes it even more important.
- The first key takeaway for you is this: adaptability comes second.
- First, you need to hone your initial skills which means that you should pick one main format of writing and focus as much of your attention on it as possible.
- For most, blogging is a great place to start.
- Once you’ve put in the time and effort to fully understand how to write great blog posts, you can move on to the next format, be it email, social media, or something else.
- The second key takeaway is that you always need to be looking for what’s next, whether it’s a new form of content or changes happening within an old format.
- When you see a new type of content becoming popular (e.g., lately video content and podcasts), give it a try because you can always learn something from it to become a better writer.
- You should always be testing different ways of reaching your audience.
Being a great writer will be very valuable for the foreseeable future, no matter which industry you work in. And even if you’re not an experienced writer today, you can become one with practice: all great writers had to start from some point.
Use the above skills however you please, whether it’s to get more followers, subscribers, a better job, or take your sales to a new level.
Just start practicing today 🙂
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To Your Success,