What to Look for in a Professional Content Writer

poodle with glasses sitting at a desk

Every business needs content. Not the bland, me-too nonsense that so often clutters up our in-boxes and feeds, but genuinely useful, interesting content.

Content that lets a business stand out amid the clutter and noise. Content that moves prospects closer to a sale. Content that can become a powerful differentiator for your company.

And increasingly, businesses are having a tough time finding the writers who know how to create that kind of content over time.

According to some recent research by Content Marketing Institute, the demand for content writers has grown by 320 percent … just over the past year.

And while in the past, about 10 percent of companies struggled to find qualified professionals, that’s risen to 32 percent this year.

One of the reasons I think organizations struggle is, they don’t always know what qualities will make for a genuinely productive, profitable hire. And as you might guess, I have a few strong opinions about that.

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The Surprisingly Simple Key to Enduring Success Habits

ghost figure in pumpkin patch with Autumn leaves

Are you addicted to productivity advice?

I was, for a long time. I bought every system, book, and blueprint out there.

I had a very spiffy David Allen-inspired GTD process that was only 642 steps long and took a mere 3 hours a day to implement (during which time I wasn’t actually, you know, getting anything done).

That wasn’t David Allen’s fault, by the way, it was mine. But I don’t think I was alone.

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The 7 Keys to List Posts that Are Worth Writing (and Reading)

canvas painting of scattered numbers

A lot of smart writers can’t stand list posts.

What’s a list post? It’s also known as a numbered list post, or a (shudder) listicle, and it’s a post whose headline features a numbered collection of things. This post, for example, is a list post.

There are an awful lot of crummy ones out there. The celebrity sites make frequent use of them (These 17 Celebrities Used to Be Hot, etc.). In fact, all of the CRaP blogs use them liberally.

So it’s natural that a quality-focused content writer (like you) might try to avoid them. But that would be silly. And here’s why:

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The 7 Things Writers Need to Make a Living

writer tools: typewriter, glasses, notebooks

If you’re a writer, you might have heard this most of your life.

People don’t make a living writing. You should find something practical to do with your life.

Smart, capable writers grimly pass around war stories on Facebook. Penny-a-word assignments, clients who don’t pay, disdain for our craft, and disrespect for our profession.

And yet.

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Two Important Announcements for Writers

First, you may have seen yesterday the abrupt announcement that Google is, at least for the moment, discontinuing their Authorship functionality for search results and webmaster tools.

For those in our Authority community, as well as those in our Certified Content Marketer program, we’ll be holding a special live Q&A session with Brian Clark on what this means for web writers as we move forward. Just log in to your Member Dashboard to find out how to attend. You’ll also get your usual Tuesday email with all of the instructions.

And secondly, if you aren’t in one of those programs yet, the window is closing to join the Certified Content Marketer program at 5:00 PM Pacific time today.

If you’re a professional writer who could use more assignments, better pay, and the best shot at the most interesting, rewarding projects, it’s well worth your time to check the program out.

Grab all the details here — and remember, the deadline to enter is 5:00 PM today.

(And Authority members, don’t forget — make sure you’re logged in to your account in order to get your preferred pricing on the program.)

Update: As promised, the Certification program is now closed to new applicants. But you may be interested in joining Authority, our community of web writers and marketers. We offer a wealth of information, advice, and support, with fresh exclusive content nearly every month of the year.

Learn more about Authority here.

The 3:00 a.m. Secret Question That Drives Meaningful Success

image of graffiti with word Secret

“I want you to ask your secret question.”

That’s what Seth Godin asked the audience at the end of his generous Authority Intensive session with us in Denver this past May.

The room was packed with fanboys and fangirls (I’m one) who were reeling a little from 45 minutes of intense marketing, business, and life advice.

Your secret question is the one that you can ask without anyone laughing at you, and that I know the answer to but that I’ve never told you before, even though I’ve had 5,600 chances to tell you … and that if I then told you the secret answer, you’d be fine.

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