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10 Traits of Successful Freelance Content Creators

freelance writers content creatorsA guest post bby Lior Levin.

Content is the cornerstone of any successful marketing strategy, and it can take on many forms, from traditional marketing material to ebooks, blog posts, slide shows, email courses, videos, and more.

Today, many small business owners are producing their own content, and there are a few traits shared by those who are very successful at it. Anyone can achieve great content and deliver fantastic results. Below are the common traits of successful content producers and how to develop those traits in your own content strategy.

1. Successful content creators are skilled at distribution.

Unfortunately, great content that has no audience falls into a black hole. In order to see any results from content marketing, the right people have to consume it. The best content creators go beyond production into distribution and marketing.

Try creating a content marketing strategy before creating the content. Find your audience, establish a presence where they are, begin relating to your audience, and then you will have a place to go to when you finally do have something to distribute.

2. Successful content creators collaborate with others.

Collaboration yields incredible results, and those who make connections and then utilize them to build something bigger than what they could do on their own see the fruits of that teamwork early and often. For example, many bloggers band together with other bloggers to develop products that can be sold or given away to grow their email lists.

Use your networking skills to find others in your industry who would want to team up on a content collaboration. The project should benefit everyone involved, and everyone can use their respective networks to market and distribute it.

3. Successful content creators plan ahead.

One way to never run out of content ideas is to plan ahead for what you will do. Editorial calendars are easy to create and can be of great help, especially with frequent content channels like blogging and email newsletters.

You can even plan your social network interaction ahead of time, using tools like HootSuite to create and schedule the updates ahead of time. Planning ahead frees up your day for more content creation.

4. Successful content creators plan in abundance.

There’s no harm in over-creating content. Some bloggers will generate hundreds of ideas for blog titles in a list that they can refer back to. They may never use them, but having a massive pool to choose from ensures that you have plenty of ideas flowing.

In addition to coming up with titles and ideas ahead of time, keep a running list of curated content – videos, blog posts, books, articles, etc. – that you can include in your work. When you include various pieces of outside content (including things like quotes) in your content, you achieve depth and high quality.

5. Successful content creators link generously.

Nearly all pieces of great content refer back to other content in the form of links. Even videos display shortened URLs that are easy to remember so that viewers can visit the links while watching or just afterward. Blogs, ebooks, electronic course material, and even social network status updates should link generously, both to your own material as a business, and external material that will be of help.

Linking to someone else’s content is a form of collaboration. Even though it seems only one way, it often isn’t, as the person or brand on the receiving end may choose to share your content with their network, furthering distribution and recognition.

6. Successful content creators repurpose content.

The best content creators understand what repurposing content means, and do so frequently. A single piece of content – such as a blog post – can be turned into a PDF for download (after opting into a list, perhaps on another website), a video for distribution on YouTube, an audio file for podcasting, and can become part of a larger body of content such as an ebook for sale.

There is no limit to the possibilities for repurposing content, and your goals for the content marketing should drive your efforts to repurpose it. Create a lifecycle for content, such as the journey from blog post to video, as described in this article.

7. Successful content creators write with purpose and intent.

Never create content just for content’s sake. All good content has a purpose, whether it be to drive traffic, increase newsletter subscriptions, attract more followers on Facebook and Twitter, or something similar.

When planning your content ahead of time, write down exactly what the purpose for that piece is. The purpose will help you write better and deliver something of value. Before finishing and distributing the piece, ask yourself whether or not you believe the content is sufficient for what you are trying to achieve.

8. Successful content creators market, educate, and persuade.

The content that top notch creators develop achieves results. For the most part, the content you will create is a form of marketing for your business. Therefore, the content must actually help to market – that is, to bring your products or services to those who need and/or want them. Great content educates its audience, and persuades them to think like you or your brand.

Keeping this factor in mind when creating an outline for your content should help keep it on track. You can also create canned content that you place at the beginning or end of your content that will ensure that your most important communication – such as a call to action – does not get missed.

9. Successful content creators produce high quality material.

Whether you have to outsource the development to someone who is skilled at it, or you become good at it yourself, it’s essential that your content be of the highest possible quality. Videos should be well-executed, email newsletters timely and well-designed, and any sold material must be well worth the money.

There’s a lot of content out there. What separates the good from the great is often a measurement of quality. Your audience will remember your content if it stands out from your competitor’s content, and one way to do that is to execute it flawlessly.

10. Successful content creators measure results and adjust as necessary.

Any successful content creator understands what they are trying to accomplish, and how to know whether or not they are accomplishing it. This is where getting specific with your goals really helps. Set goals that can be measured easily and frequently, and allow the periodic goal reviews to influence any necessary tweaks in direction.

Goals should be both qualitative and quantitative. You can measure qualitative results with surveys and collecting feedback, and you can measure quantitative results with the many forms of metrics analysis out there, including Google Analytics for website and blog traffic, or various forms of social media metric measurement.

This is just a short list of the many ways in which the best content creators stand out from everyone else. These things may only come with time and practice, but they always come to those who put in the effort.

Can you think of any other traits that successful content creators possess?

Lior Levin, is a marketing consultant for the Tel Aviv University’s department of MA in Security, and who also consults for a company specializing in a to do list app for businesses and individuals.

Two newsletters:
Abundant Freelance Writing – a resource for freelance writers including 3x a week job postings.
Writing With Vision – for those who want to get a book written.

{ 9 comments… add one }
  • Good read, I’d be interested in exploring what personality traits make a good content writer. Might look into this myself 🙂

    • Chris, by all means, if you do, keep us posted or write a guest post for me.

  • Dawn0977

    I will definite follow all the tips that you’ve mentioned here to enhance my knowledge in order be an successful content creator. Thanks and i’m looking forward to read more from you.
    Dawn0977 recently posted..Simple Facts About The Pearl Arowana of Australia You Should KnowMy Profile

  • I’m so focused on writing fresh material and keeping new ideas on my sites that I blow past repurposing material. But every good list I see (especially this one) says I need to do this.

    Maybe it’s time I take up the idea (after being hit on the head with a rock for the hundredth time)! 🙂

    Great list, great info. Thanks!

    • Gibson, one approach is to take say half an hour a week or every other week or an hour a month and look at what you’ve written that can be re-purposed or where you can sell second rights without rewriting. You may be pleasantly surprised.

  • This is a really great list of points. Another point I would add is that successful content creators keep up with the latest news and trends in their field. There is no easier way to get ideas for viral posts than just seeing what trending that day and writing a really awesome article about it. What do you think?

  • Pete

    This is great! Now I know what to work on in order to be an great content creator.
    Pete recently posted..piano sheet musicMy Profile

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