Spending hours on drafting a creative copy, but a few minor errors, and all that can go in vain. Content writing is a beast among the general writing subcategory.
Being a good and professional writer doesn’t guarantee a compelling copy as there is more to perfect grammar and creative ideas. This article will cover 10 of the most common content writing mistakes that even professionals can make.
So, let’s get started with the thing that decides the fate of your article, the introduction:
1. Not Giving A Pitch Of Your Idea In The Introduction
Generally, the audience leaves within a couple of seconds of accessing your website. This leaves a negative impact on your website, increasing the bounce rate. An increased bounce rate with decrease your SEO rankings.
Visitors don’t then plan on ever returning to your site. Because when visitors visit your website, they don’t find anything immediately fascinating. This lack of interest and fascination leads to you losing prospects.
If the introduction isn’t compelling enough, users don’t feel like scrolling further and exit the site. You can rectify this content writing mistake with a concise, fascinating, and compelling introduction.
Write a killer introduction that hits directly to your readers from the first line only. Don’t directly throw in pointers or tips; first, make a background. Create a situation that your readers can resonate with while giving an insight into how the article is going to solve their issue.
Storytelling is one of the most common writing tips to keep the audience hooked. Adopt this practice in your content writing; once you evoke curiosity in your readers, they will want to know more.
Hence keeping the audience on your page for longer. Consequently, reducing bounce rates and improving SEO rankings. But, to keep your readers interested in your content, you must know your readers, what fascinates them, and which sort of content do they resonate with?
This brings us to our next content writing mistake that writers often make; writing without a clue about the readers.
2. Writing Without A Clear Understanding Of Your Audience
Are you even sure you know what you’re writing if you don’t know who you’re addressing? Writing without knowing your audience is as vague as writing a book about SEO that’s addressing a toddler.
Without knowing your audience, how can you evaluate the level of comprehension of your readers? What fascinates them? What problems are they looking to solve, and how can you cater to their problems?
The process of knowing your audience isn’t tough. Follow these common writing tips to gain insights into your audience, and develop a readers’ persona:
The first step to knowing your readers is knowing who they are.
- What’s their gender?
- What’s their age group?
- Where do they live, and where do they originate from?
- Do they study? What’s their level of education?
- Do they work? How much do they earn?
Knowing the demographics of your audience can help you create a more personalized copy for them. Prioritizing their problems and interest. You can get to know your audience by using tools to analyze the audience of your website, like Google Analytics.
The next step in creating a personalized copy targeting your intended audience is putting yourself in their place.
Step into their shoes
Be critical of your writing from the writers’ point of view. Sell them a solution rather than features. They’re not interested in knowing how good a product you’ve created but how your product can solve their problem and make their lives easy.
Did your copy solve the issue that your intended audience was looking to solve? Talk about your solution in such a way that you’re highlighting how the audience will ease their life by adopting your solution.
One crucial element while addressing your intended audience is the tone. Be careful about your tone; next, we will be discussing the tone of the copy.
3. Using A Non-Professional And Over Casual Tone
Being highly respectful towards your readers will make them read your content. It’s a win-win situation for both. While readers love a casual tone, don’t go overboard, making it too informal and disrespectful. At the end of the day, there has to be a boundary.
Readers are fond of casual tones because it makes the copy interesting, keeping the boredom away. And if you write in a casual style, readers might even read long paragraphs because the tone is so compelling.
However, this doesn’t imply that you cross all boundaries. Maintain formality and keep up with norms but in a casual tone. Don’t start incorporating non-professional words and phrases into your copy.
Readers will love content that is engaging, easy to comprehend, and simple. But if you cross the boundaries once, the readers aren’t coming back. As an example, take a look at both the sentences below:
- Yo, bro! Check out these crazy life hacks about gaming.
- Hello! We hope these impressive life hacks keep you fascinated.
Which one sounds more compelling? Obviously, the second one. Sounds so much more tamed, professional and casual, doesn’t it? Improve the tone of your copy by adopting the following common writing tip. The best way to improve your tone is by reading casual yet professional copies by other content writers.
Critically analyze how they structure their copy, what principles, and what content writing formats they follow? How do these content writers send their boundaries while writing in a casual tone?
Another common writing tip is to improve your vocabulary overall. Additionally, try to keep up and follow famous blogs and bloggers, especially those with a huge fan following.
4. Don’t Write Content That Doesn’t Add Value Or Solve A Problem For The Reader.
Similar to what we discussed earlier, rather than selling a product, focus on adding value and proposing a solution. Stop focusing on how impressive and fascinating your creation is. Content copies should explicitly promote businesses, products, or services.
Remember, you are a content writer, not a marketer or advertiser. Your task and objective vary from them. Your audience comes looking for a solution to their problem or simply to add value to their knowledge.
You don’t want to ruin the readers’ expectations by advertising your product. This way, they’ll leave for good without the intention of returning. Because a reader places trust in your copy, trying to add value and propose a solution. You don’t want to betray them.
Keeping up to their expectations will eventually reward you. Value is dependent upon your offering. A reader would expect interior design ideas from a construction website and common writing tips from a writing service provider. However, structuring is generic; try these tips:
The Opening Scene
Start with some context as a background. Include the problem that you’re proposing a solution to. The best way to do so is by storytelling. Create a scenario so that the readers can resonate with it.
Hit away the value immediately after you’ve engaged the readers. However, it’s still too early to speak about your product. Just focus on the value right now to further indulge them in your copy.
Offer A Solution
After the reader has committed to reading your article, it’s time to bring in your product. Again, don’t directly speak of how fascinating your product is. Instead, speak of how your product will benefit the reader. Write from a reader’s point of view than from a business point of view.
Conclude With A Call To Action
Concluding with a call to action is the best strategy to conclude. This is where your reader is vulnerable, so cash in the opportunity and hit them with the call to action.
5. No Quality Vs. Quantity Formula
Contrary to popular belief, length doesn’t impact popularity. Focusing more on word length rather than quality and value will force your readers to leave. While long articles are excellent, messages shouldn’t be repeated.
Benefit from a long-form copy and deliver as much value as possible. Content copies rich in information that is valuable will increase traffic because readers would be intrigued to share it with their fellows.
A common writing tip to incorporate here is understating what the topic demands. If you’re going to write about mistakes, include rectification tips as well. Adding meaningless information to make the article lengthy will bore away the readers.
Rather than writing a pointlessly long article, keep it short and valuable. This will save you resources and your readers their time. Furthermore, it can hurt your credibility, and new, improved content won’t matter either.
6. No Outline
The outline is the guide to your entire copy. Writing without an outline is similar to hiking without a map; you get lost and confused. Additionally, it can also affect the flow of your article. It can make things seem like there is just thrown in without a connection.
This is what readers absolutely dislike. They like reading in a flow, where one point leads to another. Starting with the outline of your content copy will give your copy a strong structure and also add clarity to your writing.
To correct this content writing mistake, follow the following common writing tips:
- Accumulate all important things to discuss in the form of bullets
- Draft the introduction and conclusion, including the call to action.
- Adjust all relevant information that you haven’t included yet
This will give you a clear picture of what to write and include in your copy. Additionally, it will ensure that you write a complete copy without missing out on any valuable information. At the same time, it may take some time. However, that’s better than an incomplete unstructured copy.
7. Poor Search Engine Optimization
SEO is the science of improving your rankings on search engines, leading to higher traffic inflow. A lot of content writers fail to optimize their content, reducing the visibility of the content.
Any search engine prioritizes rich-quality content to present to its users. With improved technology, standards have increased too. You cannot manipulate your way to the top; you need to work for it.
While SEO is pretty complex, we will highlight some of the most common SEO mistakes for you to rectify:
Targeting Search Engines
A lot of people have a misconception that SEO is for search engines. In reality, SEO is for humans; they’re the ones who’ll actually improve your rankings by reading, liking, sharing, and engaging with your article.
Focusing too much on SEO can produce difficult, confusing, and low-quality content. So, instead, focus on the people and prioritize their needs.
No Or Bad Research
Research is essential to know your audience, competitors, trends, and keywords. You need insights into these factors to form a strategy and outline for your content. With research, you’re just headed to a dead end.
Instead of ranking for popular keywords, rank for unique, narrow, and in-demand keywords. Since they’re in demand and unique, so decreased competition with good traffic. Consequently, increasing your chance of a higher ranking.
Stuffing keywords for the sake of SEO is another content writing mistake made by a lot of people. While you may manage to squeeze them, they can affect clarity. So, rather than stuffing, go for a natural and smooth implementation.
Including links can make your work content more attractive to the audience and search engines. But link quality is crucial too. Good quality links include links relevant to your content, leading to reputable websites, and links valuable to your audience.
Be sure to adopt a strong on-page optimization strategy, including meta description, title tags, heading keywords, and image tags. Ignoring them can severely affect your SEO strategy.
While these tips may help you design an optimized copy, it is crucial to proofread and edit your work after completion. This brings us to the next section of our article.
8. Never Assume Your Work Is Perfect
Submitting a piece without rechecking is one of the biggest content writing mistakes a writer can make. It doesn’t matter how amazing your grammar is or if you were a spelling bee champion in school. Anyone can make mistakes; hence, it’s better to crosscheck.
Grammatical, spelling, or style errors can leave a bad impression on the reader. How many times have you left a piece midway because of such mistakes? Because we indeed have done so a couple of times.
People wouldn’t care about how well you’ve presented the idea or how much value is being proposed in your copy if you failed to rectify minor errors before publishing. This can also question the credibility of your site.
To not waste your efforts, rectify this mistake by proofreading once you’re done writing. Don’t immediately proofread; instead, take a break. So that your eyes and brain also get a bit of rest before re-reading the entire piece again.
Another excellent practice is to read aloud. Because while writing, your brain and eyes may get familiar. But your ears don’t, so that way; you’re getting feedback afresh.
9. Submitting Unedited Content
As a content writer, it is highly unprofessional to submit in unedited content. This can create both frustration and confusion for the reader. Editing and formatting your content copy can help readers distinguish between crucial information.
If the whole copy is of the same font size, the reader will miss out on important information without any editing or bullets. Moreover, it may just bore the reader away because there won’t be anything fascinating in your copy to keep them hooked.
Resolve this content writing mistake by:
- Highlighting valuable information in bold and italics
- Make use of bullet pointers and numbered list
- Increase font size of heading and subheadings compared to the remainder of the body. With the main heading in the biggest font size, followed by the subheading and then the remainder body
This way, the reader will easily distinguish between sections and not feel like your content is not a giant paragraph.
10. No Consistency
Consistency is essential to polish your writing skills. It frees you from writer’s block too. Failing to create consistency will slowly make your readers forget about you, vanishing into the fade. The only way to correct this mistake is by producing content consistently.
Select a certain day and time to publish content. This will make your readers aware of your posting time, and they shall revert to your website. Creating a habit in your audience, forming a regular fan base.
Like any other skill, content writing even requires practice. You can’t just wake up one day and decide to be the best content writer. Start with practicing and improving your writing. Gather feedback from fellow writers and editors.
You can also look for content writing mistakes we’ve discussed earlier and improve your writing accordingly. The more you write, the better you’ll get at it. If you’re not writing professionally yet, start writing for different journals or magazines that accept guest articles.
Start with knowing your audience, followed by an excellent outline and an intriguing introduction. Remember to add valuable information and conclude with a call to action. Proofreading and incorporating feedback are essential to produce your best content copy. Happy Writing!