Professional content writers dedicate months of hard work trying to perfect their craft, but that doesn’t mean they are immune to a few minor mistakes.
As a writer, every piece is a journey with different challenges and outcomes. One day you breeze through an entire article without breaking a sweat; the next day you’re stuck on the first sentence for an hour – trying to come up with the best way to get your point across.
The next time you run into a writing roadblock, you can refer to the list below:
1. You forget who you’re writing to
When researching topics, it’s crucial to do research on your target audience first. If you want them to read your piece, you need to identify the topics that get their interest.
Sure, you come up with something that gets clicks. But as the reader gets past the first few lines, they realize that the article isn’t for them. Perhaps you suddenly introduced concepts that are too technical for them, or you’ve presented strategies they can’t afford.
Whenever writing your piece, make sure you target a detailed audience persona that covers everything about your audience. Describe their preferred content type, age, level of income – anything that will help you provide relevant information from start to finish.
2. Your writing reads awkwardly
A lot of writers have this issue, especially those who rely solely on automatic spell-check features. With too much focus on spelling and grammar, you may end up sacrificing the “flow” of your content.
Before you call something “finished”, make sure you proofread the entire article at least once. You should also consider reading it aloud to ensure the words flow out naturally. If it sounds awkward, consider rephrasing it until it sounds better.
3. You write too much “fluff”
Fluff is one of the things you should avoid as a professional content writer. However, it’s also one of the things you can simply get rid of overnight. After all, it’s easy to get carried away and write two paragraphs about something that’s only partially related to the post’s title.
Proofreading and omitting excessive words is a start, but you’ll need changes in your writing habits if you want to fix the problem for the long-term. One way to reduce the likelihood of fluff is to avoid branching out to irrelevant topics throughout the piece. If you are to explain something technical, provide just enough information so that the reader can make sense of the rest of the article.
You should also plan an outline for every article before you start writing. Doing so establishes the direction of the piece and ensures you don’t digress somewhere along the way.
4. You write “thin content”
Writing excessively about unrelated topics is bad, but so is providing information that can easily be found elsewhere. If you want to offer value with your content, make sure you do more than just scrape information from other sources. Also make sure that you share actionable information and your own perspective on the subject matter.
Ran Fishkin of Moz on why thin content will cause your site problems in the future.
Speaking of your own perspective, this leads to the next common mistake that content writers make.
5. Your writing lacks personality
As you write one article after another, you may get tempted to copy the tone of the resources you use for research.
It may not exactly be a tragedy, but unless you instill your own personality into every piece you write, you miss the chance to establish familiarity between you and your target audience.
Remember that the online audience clings to influencers they know and trust. To establish familiarity, use your own genuine language and write as if you’re directly speaking to the reader.
6. You oversell
When visitors comes to your blog for the first time, they don’t really care about your personal brand. All they want is to know what’s in it for them. And if you can’t provide them with a straight answer, then they’ll probably go elsewhere.
Apart from the occasional promotions, everything else you write should be dedicated to helping the audience.
Instead of showing them a list of products they should try, tell them how to use the products and fix their problems themselves. This will help establish yourself as the authority in your niche and foster trust between you and your audience.
7 Warning Signs Your Content Marketing Sucks – Chaosmap.com
7. Writing too fast or too slow
It may seem odd, but your writing speed actually makes a difference in the overall quality of your work. If you write too slowly, then your piece may become fragmented and confusing. If you write too quickly, you may oversee more typographical and grammatical mistakes.
That said, make sure you establish a writing schedule and determine how much you can write at a time. Don’t wait to the last hour so you won’t rush it, but don’t start too early so you won’t disrupt your flow of thought with frequent breaks.
8. You don’t follow an editorial calendar
In addition to publishing posts at the right time, an editorial calendar also ensures you don’t run out of in-demand topics to write about. Although this means you need to plan your content development activities ahead of time, you should still be flexible and cover relevant topics that can arise at any moment.
If you’re working with a team, then an editorial calendar also makes sure you’re all in the same page for big writing projects. A popular editorial calendar tool you can use would be CoSchedule.
9. You use too many anecdotes
Although telling a few stories about your brand is a great way to establish familiarity, you shouldn’t rely too much on anecdotes to support your claim. Always do your research and choose the most recent and reliable resources possible.
To boost the authority of your content, don’t forget to place links to credible sources, especially when presenting statistics or other data. When citing your own opinions, avoid generalizations and look for evidence if possible.
10. You’re ignoring SEO
Finally, you should never forget the importance of SEO when it comes to the discoverability of your content. For on-page optimization, there are several factors you need to pay attention to – from your content’s meta description to your keyword strategy.
Most of these factors are tied to your content. If you’re using WordPress, the best way to get started is to use a plugin like Yoast SEO to receive recommendations on the fly.
You can edit and polish content to perfection, but no one can ever be a perfect writer. If you’re guilty of some of the writing mistakes listed above, then you may need conscious effort to counter them at first. Just focus on one article at a time and always be on the lookout for ways to improve.