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How to assess content writer skills


Content writers contribute to multiple aspects of a business. They use the written word to raise brand awareness, establish brand voice, describe company values, educate consumers, increase visibility online, and foster better communication.

But only some content writers can deliver the informative, original, and thought-provoking content companies need to build customer engagement, beat the competition, and drive the business forward. 

It takes individuals with a unique skill set to generate high-quality content that attracts your target audience and aligns with their needs. How can you determine if your candidates have these skills?

From idea generation to best SEO practices, this article shares essential skills to consider when hiring content writers and the benefits they can bring to your business. It also covers the specific skills tests you can use to assess your content writer candidates, such as an SEO copywriting skills test.

What is a content writer skills assessment? 

A content writer skills assessment is a skills-based hiring technique to help you recruit the best talent. Finding the most suitable candidate can be time-consuming for an employer or recruiter. Reading resumes and conducting interviews can reduce your time for onboarding or other duties, especially when the position attracts hundreds of candidates.

The assessment of content writing skills comprises tests that help reduce the candidate pool quickly. Only those with the specialist requirements for the role make it to the interview stage, where you can get to know them better and learn more about their skills. Ultimately, the assessment will reveal if your applicants can:

  • Write clearly and concisely using straightforward language 

  • Create engaging and informative content backed by credible sources

  • Research content topics thoroughly but promptly

  • Adapt to different writing styles, audiences, and brand tone of voice 

  • Optimize content using search engine optimization best practices to increase visibility in search engines and drive traffic to your website

There are plenty more tools you can use, too. You can create assessments that include tests or questions specific to the role you’re trying to fill. For example, if you’re hiring for a content marketing role, you might prefer a candidate who can handle marketing analytics to improve their content through data-driven insights. In this case, the Marketing Analytics test is valuable.

A content writer assessment can also include tests to measure soft skills, such as adaptability, creativity, and collaboration. These qualities ensure your writers can work on various projects and work well in a team, communicating effectively with editors, graphic designers, marketers, and anybody responsible for delivering outstanding content.

Why are content writing skills important? 

Hiring a skilled content writer brings countless benefits to your company, whether it's a startup business or a digital marketing agency supplying content to clients on a global scale. Here are some reasons why content writing skills are vital regardless of company size.

The quality of writing is better

Hiring a content writer with relevant skills, such as attention to detail and creativity, is one way to ensure your company consistently delivers quality-rich content for your target audience. A strong candidate will have a natural flair for writing, including the ability to:

  • Use grammar and punctuation correctly

  • Spell correctly according to the client’s location

  • Structure the content appropriately to ensure readability 

When you hire a candidate with these skills, it’s easier to share your company’s message, establish your brand identity, and create a positive impression of your company to readers. 

For example, suppose you’re a small business offering vegan-friendly skincare products made from all-natural ingredients. A content writer can use their talent for communicating and storytelling to convey your business’s commitment to ethical practices, highlighting the benefits of using your creations.

It saves time and resources 

Recruiting skilled content writers is more efficient because delivering quality content reduces editing time. A candidate without advanced writing skills is more likely to produce poor content. That poor-quality content means you or your other employees must spend time editing the piece. 

Although you can fix spelling and grammar mistakes reasonably quickly, these minutes add up over the week. Some articles may require a complete rewrite to meet quality standards, adding more time.

Having a skilled content writer saves resources because you can delegate all writing tasks to that employee, giving the rest of your team more time to work on other projects. It streamlines your content creation system, minimizes revisions, ensures the team meets deadlines, and enables your company’s system to function perfectly.

A skilled content writer can establish you as an expert 

Content writers are the team members providing your target audience with information about your company, its mission, and various topics that help your brand remain relevant and worthy of readers’ attention. Choosing a skilled content writer ensures you convey the correct message and provide compelling and fact-led information. 

When content writers share this valuable knowledge, it helps to establish your company and its team as experts in the field. For example:

Suppose a software development company wants to position itself as an expert in the tech sector. The recruitment team hires a skilled content writer to create expert guides for their blog, for example, a how-to guide on mastering software development. 

Using research skills to study the latest trends and developments in the sector, the writer produces an insightful, easy-to-understand guide that quickly gains traction among software developers. The company’s reputation strengthens because industry peers trust the content.

Skills in content writing drive traffic to your site 

A candidate with SEO copywriting skills, such as the knowledge to use keyword research and meta tags, can drive more organic traffic to your company website because their content ranks higher in search engine results. 

This result improves the content’s visibility, which means more people will see your website and discover your business, increasing the opportunity to drive sales and business growth. 

In addition to SEO practices, skilled candidates can create high-quality content that drives traffic because people share the content. One client might read your website’s content, recognize its value, and share it online with friends and social media followers. 

Good content can humanize your business 

People struggle to connect with faceless companies because there is no human connection. Customers and clients who can’t connect with you are less likely to trust your products or services. Being transparent with your audience is essential, and content writers can help.

Hiring a candidate with advanced content writing skills can help you create an authentic connection with your audience, and according to Stackla data, 90% of consumers believe authenticity is important when determining which brands they like and support.

Pie chart good content can humanize your business

Skilled writers can build these connections through empathy, storytelling, and relatable messaging in their content. They can craft content that resonates with the reader, driving audience engagement. 

User engagement is great for exposure because it encourages people to interact with your company, for example, through the comments section or by sharing your company’s articles online.

Fosters trust and loyalty 

Building trust and loyalty with customers, clients, and stakeholders is crucial for any company, whatever products or services you sell. 72% of business leaders consider trust in the company to be the most vital factor when buying a product or service, according to the 2020 Customer Service Index report from Five9.

Skilled applicants can help you build trust and loyalty using skills like communication and thorough research to show authority and expertise in their writing. When content is correct, insightful, and valuable, it positions your company as a credible source providing knowledge that people can rely on. They can also instill trust when they:

  • Are transparent about the company’s strengths and weaknesses

  • Are consistent in content creation and tone of voice across all company channels, including the website and social media platforms

  • Produce unbiased content to align with ethical practices

  • Use a customer-centric approach to show care toward customers

  • Provide evidence of company success in their writing, for example, through customer reviews

What skills and traits are important for content writing? 

When assessing content writing candidates, you must consider some essential skills and traits. To perform in the role, your next content writer needs job-specific skills, including technical skills like computer literacy and proficiency in word processing applications. They also need personality traits like curiosity and willingness to learn. 

Look for the following hard and soft skills in your talent pool.

Strong writing skills

First and foremost, a content writer must have excellent writing skills to produce high-quality content for your company. These skills include using grammar and punctuation correctly, writing clearly and concisely, using uncomplicated language, and avoiding jargon.

Poor-quality content negatively impacts your company’s image, undermining your credibility and professionalism. 

For example, suppose you’re a skincare brand, and your writer publishes an article promoting your new anti-aging moisturizer. 

If the content is full of typos, lacks scientific research, and doesn’t include essential information like the ingredients and their purpose, readers are unlikely to buy your product because they can’t take your company seriously.

Content writers who deliver concise, actionable, subject-specific information that includes examples, call to action, and case studies are likelier to engage your target market because it’s trustworthy and relevant. 


A content writer’s workload can differ daily, depending on factors influencing deadlines, such as campaigns and news stories. They might have manageable days and days that require a fast turnaround of content to meet unexpected deadlines.

Content writers working for agencies with multiple clients must switch between projects, adapting their writing style and tone to match individual projects. 

For example, a recruitment company might use a formal and matter-of-fact tone of voice, which its content writer should be able to use consistently with each article. The outcome of this consistency is that readers connect with the company and its content.

Therefore, the ability to adapt is an essential skill to fulfill all project requirements and keep clients happy.

Brainstorming skills

Brainstorming is an excellent skill for content writers because it assists with the creative process, including idea generation, where writers can think creatively and experiment with different ideas and approaches when planning content, such as blogs or newsletters.

It’s also an opportunity to discover new angles on well-covered topics already circulating online, providing readers with fresh insights to educate or inspire them.

For example, a content writer working for a fashion publication must write an article about essential beach clothing. The writer brainstorms ideas to find new ways to excite readers about organizing their beach collection for the summer. 

They consider consumer trends, such as the desire to shop more consciously. To connect with the publication’s conscious audience, they propose a how-to article on using beach attire all year long. 

Considering alternative ways to use beach clothing meant the content writer could generate original content to resonate with their audience while fulfilling the project’s requirements. 

Research skills 

Content writers dabble with an extensive range of subjects, from healthy eating and beauty to cars and technology. However, content writers are only experts on some topics. Excellent research skills often attribute to their informative and audience-centric content that shows expertise and ability to write market-specific copy.

The ideal candidate can research thoroughly and promptly grasp a topic to write about. They can cover topics intelligently, even without previous knowledge of the subject. They know how to source relevant information from high-authority sources to enhance the quality of their writing, giving readers factual and credible content.

For example, if a content writer needs to write legal content, they might research their facts from official government websites and find statistics to support their statements.

A thirst for knowledge

Content writers who continuously strive to learn new things and build upon their existing knowledge are precious to your company. This natural willingness to learn means they can continue to provide audiences with new and original content that engages people.

Since the role of content writers is continuously changing with new advancements in technology, such as artificial intelligence, you must hire candidates who want to keep up with these changes, adapt their skill set, hone their skills, and improve their writing.

Editing and proofreading 

Editing and proofreading skills enable content writers to assess and perfect their work before it reaches the team’s content editors. These skills save time in the content creation process because the content reaches the editors in perfect condition and is free from errors. It can then go to publication more quickly, ensuring teams meet deadlines and freeing up time for other tasks. 

Sound understanding of SEO

Content writers can produce exceptional content, but that doesn’t matter if nobody is reading it. That’s why skilled hires have training in search engine optimization to ensure your pages are visible to readers, inviting more people to your website and keeping them there. 

They are proficient in SEO tools such as Google Analytics 4, Google Search Console, and Semrush to maximize efforts to get your business on the map.

Time management 

Time management is a requisite of a strong content-writing candidate because a typical week at work revolves around deadlines. Content writers often juggle multiple writing projects simultaneously, and to succeed requires self-discipline and the ability to prioritize tasks based on deadlines.

They must schedule time for research, fact-checking, planning, writing, and editing while considering problems that might disrupt or slow workflow, such as writer’s block. 

Overall, good time management skills results in delivering content on time, consistent publishing content, and high-quality content rich in research and free from mistakes.

Skills and traits tests 

Using TestGorilla’s skills and traits tests, you can formulate an assessment to discover applicants competent in content writing, ensuring the best talent for your creative team. Below are some tests to consider when making a custom assessment for your candidates.

SEO copywriting

Having a content writer on the team who’s also proficient in copywriting can be a bonus if you have a variety of writing projects. But this test is also ideal for identifying skilled online content writers who can optimize content to bring more traffic to your website and convert visitors into paying customers. 

The SEO Copywriting test evaluates a candidate’s understanding of SEO best practices and how to help website pages rank on search engine results pages. It addresses their ability to perform keyword research, implement keywords effectively, and use on-page and offsite SEO.

Content strategy 

The Content Strategy test will help you discover candidates who can resonate with your audience and grow traffic to your website through quality content. It focuses on content for conversion, measuring performance, and increasing the findability and distribution of content. 

Candidates who do well in this test can nurture the entire customer journey to drive results for your business. It assures you they can take a strategic approach to content, effectively optimize content, and master language for the right audience.

You can use this test to find your next head of content, content strategist, or content marketing manager.

Branding strategy 

You can use the Branding Strategy test to elevate your brand strategy and refine your company’s identity. While this test mainly targets brand marketers and strategists, content writers play a pivotal role in helping you define, position, and develop your brand because they create the content to build brand awareness and establish your voice.

Technical SEO

The Technical SEO test is another way to review candidates' skills in SEO, but it takes a more thorough approach to help you find experts. It tests the analytical and technical aspects of SEO, including backlinks, URL structure, and performance tracking. It also covers their ability to use Google tools and algorithms to boost search engine results.

Google Docs

Google Docs is one of the best word processors for content writers, and you can test candidates' proficiency with the Google Docs test. It assesses their knowledge of core functions, such as editing and formatting text, sharing documents, collaborating, and inserting elements like images, charts, and tables.

Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word is another popular software for content writers. Offer candidates the Microsoft Word test and check if they can use the software independently to format documents, collaborate with others, and include elements like images, graphs, and footnotes to present valuable information within their writing.

WordPress administration

If you want your future content writer to upload content through WordPress, implement the WordPress Administration test. It will tell you if a candidate can create content, edit pages, add images and videos, include links to internal and external pages, and show the basics of using a WordPress site efficiently.


The Communication test establishes if a candidate can communicate effectively using verbal and written language and active listening skills. It covers using and interpreting written communication to understand and deliver messages politely and professionally.

Time management 

Will your future employee deliver on time? Use the Time Management test to see how they handle prioritization and planning before executing work in time to meet deadlines. It assesses how they review their work, communicate with others, and adapt to manage their workflow for the best outcomes.

Content writer skills assessment FAQs

Find answers to frequently asked questions about assessing content writer skills below.

What is the difference between a content writer skills test and an assessment? 

A content writer skills test is a single test. In contrast, an assessment comprises up to five tests to generate substantial insights and a more thorough overview of a candidate's potential to excel. 

For example, combining the Communication, Creativity, Computer Literacy, and SEO Copywriting tests will assess diverse skills to help you make the right hire. 

Do I prioritize hard skills or transferable skills when hiring content writers?

You can benefit from hiring candidates with hard and transferable skills because they will need them to thrive in this field. Hard skills like writing proficiency and research are non-negotiable because they meet the job’s goal of producing clear and factually correct content. 

Soft skills like communication and time management are equally important since they ensure the writer can convey messages and meet deadlines.

What skills do content writers need to create SEO-friendly content?

Writers need a solid understanding of SEO best practices and strong research skills to produce SEO-friendly content

They must implement core practices such as keyword research, keyword placement, using headings and subheadings, writing unique titles, and using internal linking. 

Writing high-quality content for the target audience is also pivotal for ranking higher in search engine results and increasing time spent on your company’s website. 

How can content writers show expertise in different industries through their writing?

Content writers can show expertise about various topics without being an expert. They can do this using their excellent research skills to delve deep into the industry, learning about current news, challenges, and trends. 

They must consider market-specific terminology in their writing to reach the correct audience, delivering quality content in a language they can connect with and understand. 

Are credentials important when hiring a content writer?

Reviewing candidate credentials can assist you in the process of finding your next content writer because it provides information about their education and training. 

However, practical experience, writing samples, and a portfolio of written work can be more accurate because they show the skills the writer posesses. To further determine a content writer’s abilities, you can use skills-based hiring to discover those with the essential abilities for the job.

How TestGorilla can help you find a skilled content writer 

We’ve covered several tests that can assist you in finding a talented content writer. But aside from pinpointing skills, there are a few other ways TestGorilla can help you find and hire the best content specialists for your company. These include:

  • Ranking candidates: Instead of weighing up several candidates' strengths and weaknesses without guidance or statistical information, you can use our ranking feature to make faster decisions. After candidates complete the assessments, you can see their results as a percentage, enabling you to review results quickly and make decisions.

  • Fair assessments: TestGorilla evaluates applicants based solely on their skills and relevant traits for the job through various tests. You don’t have to worry about unconscious bias when making final decisions. You can rely purely on the assessment results.

  • Custom questions: Our tests cover multiple skills and personality traits, but sometimes you might require a more specific method to find the perfect hire. On these occasions, you can use the custom question feature to implement your questions concerning the particular responsibilities of the role.

  • Removing the guesswork: An applicant might have a shiny resume, impressive credentials, and professional etiquette in the interview. But without assessing their skills, you might be left guessing what they can and can’t do. Can they juggle projects and work to tight deadlines? Can they adapt to write about different topics? With TestGorilla, you can find these answers in the initial recruitment stages. 

Start the search to find your next content writer with TestGorilla

Companies need employees with exceptional content writing skills to create blog posts, copywriting, service pages, press releases, social media captions, and any other writing tasks necessary for your company’s content strategy. The content you publish online is delicate and requires a trained individual who can handle the responsibility. Our tests formulated by industry experts can help you discover that candidate.

Are you ready to find a candidate with content writer skills that can develop your tone of voice, educate and inspire your customers, and drive your business forward?

Get started with TestGorilla’s free plan today. This starter plan grants you immediate access to 10 skills tests (including all personality tests), and a choice of question styles, including multiple-choice and essay-style questions.


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