Writing good copy

Looking to develop your writing skills further? Here’s our list of complementary skills that all writers should learn to supplement their articles with.

List of supplementary writing skills

1. Learn how to optimise content for SEO

Optimising your content for SEO (search engine optimisation) can be massively impressive for any employer. As most online writing projects are ultimately created for the sole purpose of ranking a website better in search results.

Since SEO is massive, you should only focus on your content as a writer. This would include; finding keywords, optimising content, meta and images. Here’s our how-to guide on becoming good at SEO copywriting.

2. Learn country-specific spelling and grammar

Correct spelling and grammar are key. Especially if you’re wanting to come across as a professional writer in the writing industry.

Meaning, if your client’s website is in the UK or US, you need to ensure you’re using the correct UK or US spelling and grammar accordingly.

Caption: Changing the writing language settings in Grammarly’s Chrome extension.

You’ll probably find that spelling isn’t the hard part, due to tools such as Grammarly making it so easy for you. However, the local grammar is what you need to be looking out for.

For example, below are two different variations of the same topic title:

  • Correct UK example – “10 ways I learnt to optimise content”.
  • Correct US example – “10 way I learned to optimize content”.

Notice, that the words learnt/learned (grammar) are harder to spot and that the words optimise/optimize (spelling) are fairly easy to spot (especially when using Grammarly).

3. Learn how to use Adobe packages

Caption: Using Adobe Photoshop to edit images for an article.

Learning to use design software, such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign can also help to complement your writing. As by using these, you’ll have the knowledge to both edit and produce image-based content for your articles.

This can be extremely useful if you’re trying to create a unique crop on an image, edit something in/out of an image or produce an infographic to use alongside your article.

There are hundreds of courses and tutorials out there, which can help in learning these individually. However, we would suggest you download a free trial from Adobe and start off by seeing what you can and can’t do.

A breakdown of specific usage:

  • Adobe Photoshop is great for creating uniquely cropped images and editing things in/out of images.
  • Adobe Illustrator is great for creating infographics and SVG files (vector based) for websites.
  • Adobe InDesign is great for creating ebooks and reports.

4. Learn how to use Google Docs

Caption: Using Google Docs to add comments and suggest edits to colleagues.

If you’re using a freelancing website such as UpWork, this might not apply to you, as you don’t want to giveaway your content before ensuring payment.

However, if you’re on a long-term project or are working on articles with multiple people involved; such as your client, Google Docs is the tool for you.

With Google Docs, you’re able to see who’s done what, when and where. Meaning, you’re able to fully track changes, provide comments and even suggest edits to your colleagues — all within one document.

Google Docs even allows you to integrate tons of add-ons. On top of this, Grammarly’s Chrome extension works here too.

5. Learn how to use WordPress

Caption: Creating a new post in WordPress.

WordPress is by far the most popular CMS on the web, with over 60-million installations.

Meaning, if you’re a full-time content writer, it’s more than likely your company’s website is powered by WordPress, especially if it includes a blog. Therefore, if this is the case, it’s something you should definitely try to familiarise yourself.

Here’s a quick guide to check if a website is using WordPress.

As WordPress is open source, there’s a ton of free information available to learn from. Meaning, we wouldn’t recommend that you go pay for any courses unless you absolutely need to.

Caption: Opening the Help documentation tab inside the WordPress admin area.

To begin with, you should visit the official WordPress website for documentation and also look out for the Help documentation tab inside your WordPress website’s admin area.

To combine both WordPress and SEO copywriting together, there’s a great WordPress plugin we recommend called Yoast SEO. As it’ll help you to correctly implement keywords, meta and images in your articles accordingly.

6. Learn basic HTML

Learning basic HTML can not only be helpful to show that you’re technically resourceful but also show that you’re a competent online writer.

The reason we emphasise online is that there are certain tags that you should use to optimise your article’s content for both SEO and user accessibility.

In terms of supplementing your writing skills with basic HTML, learning the uses of both the <a> and <img> tags, in particular, can be useful.

Within these tags themselves, there are further attributes that you learn too:

  • For the <a> tag; learn about the href, rel and target attributes.
  • For the <img> tag; learn about the src and alt attributes.

They are fairly easy to understand if you consider yourself a bit tech-savvy and you can easily find helpful information on W3Schools too.

Once you’ve covered our list of complementary skills, there’s nothing stopping you from complimenting them into your next article.

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