5 Key Skills Required For Content Writing [+ 17 Books to Read]

Team Pepper
Posted on 29/11/215 min read
5 Key Skills Required For Content Writing [+ 17 Books to Read]
Hone these five content writing skills to ace as a writer.

Today, content is king, and professional content writers worldwide are constantly trying to update their skills. Moreover, people from other professions have realized the value that professional content writing offers and are working hard to learn how to become good content writers. 

Simply put, good content defines businesses on the Internet. The creation of good content contributes to brand value and positions businesses positively, and it is a component of SEO. Search engines reward good content with higher web rankings.

If you want to learn content writing, you must know the skills that any professional content writer must have. Read on to know what it takes to produce a great piece pf content. Then, move on to sharpening those skills using various content writing tools available online. 

5 Must-Have Skills Required For Content Writing

Improve writing


The five essential skills needed for content writing are

  • Solid research skills
  • SEO skills
  • Innovativeness
  • Ability to focus
  • Meeting deadlines every time

1. Solid research skills

Great writing begins with solid research. Research is the foundation. And today, the Internet presents a massive opportunity with the extensive wealth of online information. From countless studies on every subject to charts and tables, it is all there with the click of a few keys on your computer/mobile device.

The challenge is to discover the hidden gems, sift through reams of data, and distill the pure findings into your original take on the subject. The one quality you need here is patience.

2. SEO knowledge and application

The internet is a machine of hardware and software and a crisscrossing network that connects net-savvy users. One of the essential elements of this complex setup is SEO (search engine optimization). Think of SEO as a set of rules that decide where your website will rank on Google, Bing, or Yahoo.

If you follow SEO principles – dot the i’s and cross the t’s, you can make it to the top of search engine result pages (SERPs). SEO is an indispensable technical skill for a content writer. Invest your time learning SEO if you wish to succeed in content writing.

SEO Tactics


3. Innovativeness

Innovativeness is one of the skills every content writer should have. The Internet is so chock full of content that it is difficult to stand out among the crowd. So, what sets you apart?

You can add new elements to your content story if you are creative. Or, you can tell the same story differently. 

It is like cooking. Sometimes you add novel ingredients to the recipe to create something new. Sometimes, you change the quantities of ingredients added to the recipe. Sometimes you cook them differently. Who doesn’t like a tasty variation of the same old recipe once in a while? Innovate to change your content writing to keep readers coming back for more.

4. The ability to focus

Focusing is a key skill content writers need. There are only so many hours in a day. To produce quality content in time, you need to focus on the task at hand. That is how you will keep your quality in content writing while churning out great pieces of content in bulk as well.

Tips to focus


5. Meet deadlines every time. 

Meeting deadlines is a hallmark of professionalism. If you commit a 48-hour turnaround time to a client, you better put your money where your mouth is. Reliability is another aspect of your professional life that is showcased when you meet your deadlines. Want more five-star reviews? Then, meet those deadlines!

Don’t be like the girl in the comic strip. 


While these are the critical skills every professional content writer must have, you must consistently hone other skills. 

Here is a comprehensive list of 17 must-read books on content writing. 

17 Must-Read Books on Content Writing

If you are serious about acquiring the skills required for content writing, here is a list of 17 books that can sharpen your ability.

1. How to Write and Speak Better by Reader’s Digest

This book is a must-have for every aspiring content writer. It touches upon skills for a content writer extensively. 


2. The Freelance Content Marketing Writer by Jenifer Goforth Gregory

This book focuses on skills needed for content writing that will open up an income channel for you – and a very profitable one at that. 

3. Why Do You Hate Money by Joey Percia

Break into the money-making mindset with this book on content writing riches. If you are looking to challenge yourself to learn the content writing trade and earn a good income, pick up this book.


4. Hooked On You by Ian Harris

Grab the reader hook, line, and sinker with this masterpiece on how to get people to read what you write.

5. Everybody Writes by Ann Handley

This book focuses on writing for the web and is meant to help you create excellent content. This book is intended to make you look smart in every aspect of writing—social media, publishing, or digital marketing. 


6. Writing Tools by Roy Peter Clark

This book lists 50 strategies for better writing. It is a good use of money and time.

7. 3 Months to No. 1 by Will Coombe

A superb read on SEO strategies that will help writers master the dot-com game.


8. The Copywriters Handbook by Robert W. Bly

This book is all about obtaining an understanding of persuasive copywriting step-by-step.

9. How to Write Seductive Web Copy by Henneke Duistermat

This is a guide on writing website copy or updating existing copy. It deals with the how and what of web copy, practically.


10. On Writing Well by William Zinsser

This is a great reference book for writing non-fiction.

11. Master Content Marketing by Pamela Wilson

This book brings you to the content writing ring and helps you win the round by sharpening the skills needed for content writing in the current digital marketing world. 


12. Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller

This book helps you use the right words and cut through the noise.

13. The One Hour Content Plan by Meera Kothand

This is an excellent reference for writing blog posts.


14. They Ask, You Answer by Marcus Sheridan

This is a great how-to guide when dealing with a digital customer.

15. Writing to be Understood by Anne Janzer

This book is a dissection of reader-friendly writing.


16. The Profitable Content System by Meera Kothand

Learn how to write profitably day after day, year after year.

17. Build Your Author Platform With a Purpose by Mimika Cooney

This is an excellent handbook on digital marketing strategies for writers.


In Summary

Writing is a helpful arrow in your quiver when your business is online. If writing is your profession, reading a ton of documents to sharpen your skills needed for content writing is necessary. 

Be assured, the best of writers were probably where you are today at some point in their writing career. They stand where they are today with patience, diligence, and focused intent. It comes with a spirit of purpose.

Be open to learning, and keep writing – it will only add maturity and experience to your content, which are valuable assets. 

Key Takeaways

  • Writing is a confluence of skills.
  • Each writing skill must be learned independently and in confluence with the others.
  • There is no substitute for quality writing in the digital world.
  • Every bit of successful writing has quality reading behind it.


1. Are there different writing styles?

There are five main styles of writing: narrative, expository, persuasive, analytical, and argumentative. Each style requires a different mix of skills.

2. What does a content writer do?

Content writers create the content for print and electronic publications. They possess a set of learned and/or inherited skills that allow them to write content that readers love and relate to.

3. Can the skills required for content writing be developed?

Yes. Reading engaging articles and studying books on writing will help in this.

4. What are the key writing skills?

The key writing skills are grammar, spelling, punctuation, vocabulary, brevity, and clarity.

5. Does content writing pay well?

Yes. It pays commensurate with skill and experience. Top content writers are quite well-off.