One of the highest performing people on your team is your content writer. Today’s content writer has become an indispensable asset to any team, but it’s a role that’s still relatively an anomaly for managers who don’t understand exactly a content writer does … or better yet, should be doing.

Your content writer plays a duel role. On one hand, he’s the bridge between idea and execution. It’s his job to be part of your team from concept to marketing, collaborating on what might work and how best to deliver it. It’s here that he now act as gate keeper, only allowing the best and most effective ideas to cross over that bridge.

When looking for your next content writer, consider the following key qualities that are absolutely non-negotiable…
1. Diversity – This isn’t the typical diversity you might be familiar with. It doesn’t matter if your writer is black, white, brown or blue. What matters is that your content writer can write diversely. Can they create an engaging conversational blog post, curate content for an infograph, research and write a white paper for the 3 different audience types? A well-versed, well-read content writer who can juggle multiple content projects as if they were born to it, is worth his weight in gold.

2. Collaboration – No man is an island and certainly today no department can function on its own. More and more, we’re seeing cross-channel collaboration. Marketing will work with sales and your content person should be no different. In fact, content writers have a higher demand for needing to work with other departments, including design, graphics, marketing, sales, etc. A great content writer will not only be diplomatic but stern, they’ll also be excellent communicators who can get their ideas across and accepted by other departments. A really superb content writer will add to the long list of expectations by also knowing how other departments work. They should more or less know the ins and outs of marketing and design, to start with. This layer of skills ensures that there’s no language barrier when you’re all working on the same project.

3. Curiosity – A recent Harvard Business Review article hailed curiosity equally as important as intelligence. The post written by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, adds to the idea of IQ and EQ (emotional intelligence) with a new tier, CQ (creative intelligence). Premuzic writes on the value of individuals with CQ:

“First, individuals with higher CQ are generally more tolerant of ambiguity. This nuanced, sophisticated, subtle thinking style defines the very essence of complexity. Second, CQ leads to higher levels of intellectual investment and knowledge acquisition over time, especially in formal domains of education, such as science and art (note: this is of course different from IQ’s measurement of raw intellectual horsepower). Knowledge and expertise, much like experience, translate complex situations into familiar ones, so CQ is the ultimate tool to produce simple solutions for complex problems.”

Curiosity is also about more than just problem solving. A curious content writer does two things: first, they’ll be able to add more depth to your content strategy by being able to draw on what they’re learning; and second, they’ll be more adaptive to inevitable marketing shifts. If there’s a new way to do it, they’re more likely to know about it, suggest it, implement it, and still be successful. The modern day content writer cannot be fossil minded – and a way to check for this is to ask what they like to listen to and read. Have a conversation with them to see if they can draw on various references, thoughts and ideas. What you’re essentially looking for is cognitive gymnastics.