How To Avoid These Common Pitfalls Of The Novice Content Writer
All businesses need content, to educate their target market and become more successful themselves. However, not everyone is a natural writer. It might be a relief to know that whether you're trying to put together a marketing email, letter, article or book, there are some fundamental rules that will always apply. So that you're not reinventing the wheel every time you write, avoid these common mistakes and you'll be golden.
1. Inconsistent writing style
Maintaining a consistent voice, style and tone throughout your writing piece is crucial, whether it's a marketing email, a website or book. Your job as the writer is to guide the reader through the text, and your content is the vehicle. Making sure there's harmony between all the elements of the piece and providing a smooth ride ensures a positive experience for the reader, and providing the message and offering is one they want, is likely to keep them reading from start to finish.
2. Forgetting your reader
While SEO is important, if you write for Google and not for your desired reader, it could show. Keep your right-fit content user and your chosen format front of mind at all times, and make value creation your number one priority.
3. Bad grammar
People sometimes excuse bad spelling and grammar by convincing themselves that what they've got to say is so valuable that the right person will get the point, even if the packaging a little off. The problem is, they might not. It also undermines your credibility if you're unable to communicate with your target audience effectively. There are lots of free online tools for writers so be sure to check before you post!
4. Using jargonJargon, by definition, is words that are hard for others outside of your group to understand. Rather than help explain your point, using jargon is more likely to confuse the reader. Instead, use simple and easy to understand language within a clear, concise structure.
5. Few or broad keywords
While you should always right for your reader, some keywords are important as they can help your post's ranking in searches. Using keywords correctly is as much an art form as writing itself, so check out HubSpot's guide to using keywords here.
6. Forgetting the 80% rule
Regardless of whether or not you're writing because you have to, or because you love it but you're a perfectionist, only ever do one piece to 80% of your capability then delegate the last bit to someone else. Once you've written your first 80%, hand it over to a second pair of eyes to do their 80%, and you'll end up with polished, mistake free content.
7. Too wordy
Always write what you think your target audience will find valuable, rather than just what interests you. A lot of people don't need so much detail to get a good overview of a concept, product or service and furthermore, most people are short on time. Keep your message informative but concise to keep your readers.
8. Too technical
Just like with jargon and wordiness, unless you're writing for a real niche, like advanced rocket science for rocket scientists, avoid technical phrases. They'll simply confuse the reader. Use language they would use, with a tone that reflects the service to keep people fully engaged and build credibility.
9. Excluding sources
We're writing content, not hyper-sensitive journalism! If you've included a quote, a sentence, statistics or any other existing content in your writing, state where you found it. Plagiarism negates any credibility and trust you've built up, and reduces the quality of your offering. There are so many online tools to help writers, check out this free plagiarism checker before you publish!
Feel free to comment below and add any tips or indeed mistakes fellow writers can learn from, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to delegate your content writing to professionals who'll mind the gaps for you!