Elevate your content performance: 9 habits of good writers


Writing and content creation certainly have never been easier to measure, and with that, I know that when done well, good content can drive performance for a company. But it has to be done well and correctly. There’s a method to the madness, so to speak.

With that being said, there are also habits good writers in a content performance culture have. I discuss those 9 top habits here, including:

  1. Foundational skills
  2. Understanding the goals
  3. Sourcing skills
  4. Interviewing skills
  5. Creative skills
  6. Collaborative
  7. Data-driven
  8. Technology assists
  9. Idea driven

Foundational skills

Foundational skills include an understanding of how people currently consume content. For example, that includes the understanding that online readers often skim content. Good writers understand that and know how to write for the web and how to keep an eye on changes in behavior.

Of course, good writers also have an eye for word usage, proper grammar, and really any other things that could negatively impact the comprehension of the content.

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Understanding the goals

Unfortunately, this still happens: “Hey writer, we need a blog post on topic xyz. Thank you.” Is the writer supposed to guess what the goal is?

For content to drive performance, we have to start with a goal:

It’s also important to understand who the content is targeting, specifically where they are in the customer journey before starting and what prompted the request.

So, one of the essential habits of good writers is understanding why the content is needed. Once that’s decided and understood, it’s time to make the content unique.

Sourcing skills

Sourcing content is more important than ever – especially when companies want to stand out. That often includes interviews with the experts. I use Otter.ai to transcribe them live. I can then somewhat quickly turn them into written content.

Certainly, internet research can play a role in seeing what’s already out there, and at times, there can be a place to include a summary of what everyone else is talking about. A good old Google search can do the trick here. Or the AI search engine Perplexity.ai also gives an excellent overview and sources of content.

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Interviewing skills

It’s essential to talk to subject matter experts to get unique content. They could be internal or external to the company, So asking good questions is important here and even explaining why specific questions are being asked.

For example, a good question is: “What’s YOUR definition of XYZ?” That can lead some people to wonder: “What? YOU don’t know the definition of the topic for our article?” But, it’s not about whether or not the writer knows the standard definition. It’s not a sign of their understanding of the topic. They are trying to get unique answers from YOU to help your company stand out.

I’ve probably asked that question hundreds of times, maybe thousands, and it usually leads to unique responses or opinions that help the content stand out.

Creative

There are plenty of ways to be creative and good writers make it a habit not just to churn out content but to add a flair of creativity. That could include:

  • How the content is displayed
  • The storyline
  • Metaphors and the likes
  • Wordplays
  • How everything works together – the copy, design as applicable, and other pieces

Creativity can help our content stand out and be unique, and that’s part of a good writer’s thinking and production process.

Collaborative

To take writing to the next level, one habit of a good writer is to collaborate. That means keeping calm when people do not understand the process quite yet or why something is being done a certain way. They work together, collaborate, and push things forward toward the goal.

On the back end, they are highly collaborative when edits come in well.

Data-driven

When I started my content creation career (then called journalism), looking at the data or using the data to make decisions wasn’t a thing or even necessary. Today, I look at the numbers and see what works and what doesn’t, including:

Technology assists

With the emergence of AI, we can now brainstorm content ideas, outlines, headlines, and more. Certainly, there can be a line to cheating when using AI for the wrong tasks. But, the best writers use technology in the right way. I mean, think of spell check. That wasn’t a thing in the world of typewriters but has certainly become an accepted and perhaps expected software assist.

Idea driven

There are always more ideas for content. Always. I was actually writing a different article and then came up with this idea and, after verifying it’s potential for success, proceeded. I will still do the other peice, but while I was working on that, this idea popped up. Working on content can lead to other content, and good writers make this a habit as well: Track what else can be covered to drive the content strategy and its performance forward.



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