Content is King and original content reigns supreme. It’s what makes the search engine bots happy, keeps the algorithms churning, and gives content writers like us good search engine rankings. Ultimately, it’s how we get paid. There’s no playing its importance and we’re all dedicated to putting out our absolute best content every time… but it doesn’t always go as planned, does it?
I’ve been doing this for a few years now and I made a lot of mistakes when I was just getting started, it’s all par for the course! Here are 3 of the most common mistakes content writers tend to make and how you can avoid them.
Problem 1: Not Writing Often Enough
Have you ever stumbled across a blog and got really into its content but then you realised they hadn’t shared new content in over a year? Or you signed up for an email list but the emails come in so infrequently that you struggle to remember who they’re from? It makes you wonder if they’re still in business or serious about what they’re producing, doesn’t it?
That’s a mistake most content writers make, especially when they’re just getting started. We burst out the gates with all these amazing ideas, content flying out the wazoo, and then… nothing. We get busy, we forget to make updates, we get caught in the trap of perfectionism, and we risk losing the interest of our readers.
The best way to avoid this is to create a writing schedule that allows you to focus on creating content in batches. You don’t need to post them all at once but having a bank of content at the ready will be extremely helpful if things get hectic or you’re simply dealing with writer’s block. Life happens and that can affect how frequently you communicate with your audience but if your income relies on maintaining consistent communication, you better get on that writing plan soon!
Another option is to outsource your writing tasks to a content writer.
Emjae, did you just suggest outsourcing my writing? I thought you wanted me to learn to do it myself!
I do but here’s the thing – there’s a ton of content to be written and you have a lot on your plate already! There’s nothing wrong with outsourcing your writing if you know you aren’t able to keep up. And if you aren’t comfortable outsourcing all aspects of it, you can outsource the planning and research portion to a writer or your assistant. Have them create an outline and then you can build from there. Sometimes we just need a little kick to get the creative engines going.
And speaking of a creative kick – you can purchase done-for-you articles that you can edit to suit your brand and tone. I’ll let you in on a little secret, come closer… I’ve used DFY articles to help me get started when I feel stuck. One site I can vouch for is CoachGlue. You should check them out and see what they have to offer to get your creativity going!
Problem 2: Always Sounding Like a Sales Letter
Money is important, there’s no going around that but you can’t treat every piece of content you share as a moneymaker. In general, all your content should provide value to your readers and while there’s certainly a time and a place to use sales pitches, not every blog post, email, or video should be a hard sell.
Jeffrey Gitomer once said, “People don’t like being sold – but they love to buy. By only ever using heavy sales language, you run the risk of alienating your readers. Think of an acquaintance who only ever reaches out to ask for money or that family member who only ever talks to you when they need a favour. You don’t want to be perceived as that kind of business, one that only cares about what it can get from its customers.
Mix it up a little! Create interactive content, provide them with information, or ask them to engage with you. Answer your readers’ questions. Address their fears. Discuss changes in your industry and how they may affect them. Talk about how much fun you had on your weekend retreat that you hosted with select clients. Give them a behind-the-scenes look at your office or how you record videos. Show them photos of your team members who keep the gears of your business running.
If you want to keep them coming back for more, you need to build a relationship with them. These are all topics people can relate to and they will feel like you’re speaking directly to them, wanting to help them, instead of just wanting their money.
Remember who you’re writing for and think about what would make them want to stick around, what would make them trust you, and look forward to what you have to say. Use that to guide the tone and content of what you write!
Problem 3: Not Proofreading Before Publishing
Those bright red lines are there for a reason – someone spelled ‘curiousity’ incorrectly again and the Grammar police are about to get them… You don’t want that person to be you! Making mistakes does not make you a bad writer but it can be embarrassing to see them popping up in your published articles and emails. Proofreading has to be a key part of your writing process.
For the most part, we’re writing for the internet where the rules are more casual than the writing we learned back in school but we still want our content to be easy to read and free of grammatical errors. It can do severe damage to your credibility if you’re constantly producing content with errors or if your clients and readers have to be making corrections.
How do you feel when you see typos in your local newspaper or some other authoritative resource? Don’t you wonder why they don’t have a proofreader on the payroll? Does it make them look sloppy or less professional? Your clients are more likely to focus on what you have to offer if they can make it through your post without the distraction of a typo.
The quickest solution is to hire a proofreader but that might not be in your budget just yet. You can do what I do – let your content sit for a few hours or days before you go back to edit it. It’s hard to spot errors after spending hours working on the content. Our brains will read what should be there instead of what they see (a bit of psychology for you). Giving yourself a break before returning to it helps you see your content with fresh eyes.
You can also reduce the number of mistakes you make in the first place by using software like Grammarly. This is an extension you add to your browser that points out grammatical errors as you type. It’s like the built-in spell check but on steroids. The free version will provide you with synonyms, highlight redundant phrases, and correct basic mistakes. The premium version will go as far as suggesting completely new ways to make your point. It’s like having an editor sitting on your shoulder.
Don’t ghost your readers, don’t oversell, and don’t put content out there that hasn’t been edited – three simple solutions to 3 common problems! If you’ve been trying to work through these issues I hope the suggestions I’ve shared will help. And if you’re just getting started you’ve got a bit of a leg up on the rest of us by learning from our mistakes!
What other challenges are you facing right now? Share below or reach out by email! Let’s see what solutions we can come up with together!
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