Either they have command of ordinary grammar or not. Training, for me, is how to boost output of those able to effectively write and zero in on site/product, and enhance their ability to define, etc. Add to that the writer learns how to condense and personally edit. Get the most out of the least number of words. These skills can be taught, but ONLY if the person has ordinary grammar/language skills. If you're sending them back to school for that:
Might be easier to fire the current bunch and hire again. If you have to train ordinary language skills you've expended way too many dollars and lost too much business.
This is not the answer you were looking for, but a GREAT editor is a really good investment.
A great editor would know what types of articles would be popular, who would be able to handle the topic best (i.e., who would have a certain level of expertise in the area), and how to provide constructive criticism to the writers.
and the better the writers you have, the better the editor you need. Great writers need great editors.
I hope this helps.
(Experience: Four years as a journalist writing for print newspapers and business magazines.)
...grammar and spelling are very important as a content writer.
I agree, those are fundamental requirements. ;)
My experience is that writers either get it or they don't. The only training I give is to be specific about what I want the content to be about. If they're decent writers they'll be able to follow good writing practices as outlined by tangor. Other than that, I don't think a writer can be trained.
The basic qualities a content writer should possess are good English, correct grammar and he/she should be very thorough with the spellings. A writer should not make the content boring, in fact should make the readers always wanting for more. So a training in the above requirements is a must.
The only training I give is to be specific about what I want the content to be about.
That's very, very important. The job of a content writer becomes much easier if they have a clear understanding of the assignment. In the absence of specific guidelines, writers struggle to meet the client's requirements.
Some people can read guidelines and understand what a client wants. Others prefer to see a sample page to understand style, formatting, etc. The more specific a client can be about what he or she needs, the easier it is for a writer to provide it.
It depends on what you want your writers to achieve.
I've spent 10 years writing for a living either full time, or freelancing alongside my SEO and Social Media work. I also work as a tutor to Journalism students on a top post-graduate course in the UK, so I've got fair bit of experience in what makes a good writer.
If you want the bare minimum, then some common sense guides to basic grammar and content briefs will do the job (Spell-checkers will cover typos).
But traditionally, spelling and grammar weren't part of the writer's job - they were part of the Sub-Editor role. One main reason is that it's a lot harder to spot mistakes in your own copy compared to checking something submitted by someone else.
And I'd completely disagree that you can't train a writer - I've been part of training people with no writing experience to become award-winning journalists, so it's very much possible. The bit you can't train is the passion and desire to write, and any good writer needs to be constantly curious. If they've got those two qualities, they could be writing for a national newspaper etc in 4-6 weeks of hard training.
Don't over-do it; I have attended a "web-text seminar" once and it was plain silly. Some wannabe web expert telling you about keyword density formulas, perfect lenght, high number of nouns, etc. In fact, the texts and their (there we go again) style needs to be matched with your target audience and not with any form of standard to start with.