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Hakar Mahmoud shares 3 skills every content writer needs to succeed

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It’s easy to think that you have what it takes to publish content online if you have the writing chops. However, there’s a difference between writing good articles and sharing content that actually engages the reader. According to Hakar Mahmoud, a celebrity fitness instructor turned digital marketer, crafting search-optimized content requires much more than professional writing skills.

If you feel confident about your writing skills right now, that marks an excellent starting point. But if you want to take things to the next level, Hakar says you must have the following skills to succeed.

1. Diversifying your writing styles
It’s difficult to find success as a content marketer if you stick to only one writing style. Longtime SEO content writers know that they can spend the morning writing about performing the right exercises to get washboard abs and then write content about construction equipment in the evening.

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Aside from the fact that content for different clients varies in style, Hakar suggests paying attention to the tone you use. Since readers can hear the words on the screen, you must put words together to bring the right tone. Some content calls for a serious tone, while others do better when they’re lighthearted and infused with a bit of humor.

Putting in the time and effort to diversify your writing styles and perfecting tone enables you to engage your readers.

2. Understanding search intent
Not all content writers are familiar with core SEO concepts. But if you want to succeed, you need to have at least a basic understanding of how search engines work. One of the most critical skills you can develop is understanding search intent, which simply refers to the purpose behind search queries.

As a content marketer, you can’t afford to toss topics at the wall and see what sticks. Taking a more proactive role gives you a better shot at capturing the readers’ attention and turning them into customers. Hakar recommends coming up with multiple topics and thinking of unique ways to present them while ensuring that they satisfy the user’s intent.

Whether your audience looks for information, prepares to purchase a product, or feels ready to complete a transaction, your job is to deliver the exact content that meets their needs.

3. Prioritizing value over keywords
Finally, all content marketers must learn how to put less emphasis on keywords and place greater importance on value. It’s understandable for novice content writers to focus too much on keywords because many marketers make them sound like the be-all-end-all of content marketing.

Hakar knows this all too well, having experienced it in the early stages of his digital marketing career. But over the years, he has learned the importance of providing real value to readers rather than creating content just for the sake of ranking.

Keywords still have their rightful place in optimizing content for SEO, but care must be practiced when using them. Otherwise, you risk creating content that doesn’t read well, ultimately turning off your readers and forcing them to hit the back button.

Challenge yourself to make original, high-quality, and relevant content that answers the question of search engine users. Remember that you can always find inspiration by looking at the SERPs, checking what’s already ranking, and figuring out what they’re doing right.

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