No. There isn’t one single trait, or skill, needed to make a content creator great. Content creators must have several of the traits/skills on the list to consistently produce original content that is readable, engaging . . . and credible.
But wait. There’s more.
There is a staggering quantity of bad original content out there. The why of this is actually pretty easy to diagnose. First and foremost, there are many, many thoughts and ideas that cross our brains every single day. Not all of these thoughts (probably very few) are worthy of becoming a post or other content for audience consumption. Too many mediocre thoughts do leak outside our heads and onto our social media channels. It’s the same as going to an all-you-can-eat buffet and heaping the plate so full it can barely be carried back to the table. This is when a communications diet may be warranted.
Not every idea needs to end up on the communications plate.
So strategic thinking and ideation may be one reason why all this lousy content is happening. But plenty of these ideas are great and worthy, so there’s another reason we have to consider in our diagnosis. Great content doesn’t miraculously appear out of thin air because you have a thought or even a terrific insight. Ideas are important, but if you can’t execute because you don’t possess at least a few other traits, the original content won’t be great. It won’t be great consistently. One particular skill stands out above all the other skills needed to execute well.
Let’s not kid ourselves. Writing matters.
Writing matters a lot. It matters because when it’s not good, it not only doesn’t show your ideas in the best light, it makes you look like you don’t care.
Bad writing is like pitching new business to a client in a wrinkled, stained shirt and torn sweat pants.
Every day I read original content that contains some wonderful insights buried deep within poor writing. Now is a good time to note that this isn’t about English, or any other language, as a second language. There is bad writing in every language. While grammar and spelling are important, we’re not talking about perfection here. (Busted. I ended a sentence with a preposition.) It isn’t about that. This is about highlighting a great idea or insight with credible writing that is as engaging, readable and entertaining as possible.
When bad writing happens you’ve not only lost my attention, your ideas and reputation are circling the drain.
If you don’t write in a way that puts your ideas in a good spotlight, it’s probably smart to find some help. It’s not about being intelligent or not intelligent. Somewhere along the line, we seem to have developed a lack of respect for the skill and art form of writing. Possibly for liberal arts as a whole. That’s a mistake. Not everyone can write in a way that engages broad audiences externally and internally for our organizations. It’s not possible to be good at everything. Not everyone should try to be a brain surgeon. My developers would really like me to steer clear of mucking around in the code of our ContentWeb application. They’re right. I’m nowhere in the vicinity of being able to do that job. Of course I should stick to what I’m good at. (Oops! Another preposition at the end of a sentence.)
Ideas are the heart of great content. But they can’t stand alone. Content creators need many traits and skills to consistently put out great content. Most if not all of the traits on the list above, at least with regard to content creation, are symbiotic. Basic business writing is one thing, but if we’re going to develop the best content creators we can on our teams, we have to respect and cultivate the important skills and talents needed to do the job. Once we’ve done that, we’ll go from all-you-can-eat communications junk food to five-star communications fine dining. (Yep. Just pushed that metaphor way too far.)