The journey of content writing can be a tough one and as we learn the ropes we can make mistakes. There are mistakes that we can easily fix and others that will require a bit more effort.
Making mistakes is an important part of growing. So don’t be ashamed of your past writing and the mistakes you may have made. Instead, use it as a learning opportunity to make your writing better than before.
In this post, I want to share the ten most common content writing mistakes and what you can do to fix them. I know how hard it can be to get your writing right and I want to help make your life easier!
Let’s get started!
1. Content That Is Too Long Or Too Short
The number one mistake when writing content is that people either make their content too short or too long. As a content writer, you need to achieve the right ratio between text length and word count. Short copy or long copy? That’s a question that will be answered by your target audience.
If you are targeting the education market, it is wise that your content is longer than average so that it can include more details about different aspects of your business. For instance, if you deal with training courses and seminars, you can write a detailed guide with case studies and testimonials from past attendees.
A popular length for content these days is between 800 and 1,200 words. You can use tools to measure the word count of your content such as Word Counter. You should also read your content aloud to yourself before sharing it on your blog or social media channels. This way you can easily tell if it sounds too short or too long without having to worry about the number of words in each paragraph.
2. Content That Is Too Pushy Or Over-Selly
Next up is over-selling in your writing. When you have too much of it, it is likely to turn people away or make them question the quality of your products. What can you do to fix this problem?
Create an outline for your content. This will give you a general idea of what you should and should not do in each part of your writing. By creating a checklist, you can easily tell whether there are parts that need to be edited or rewritten before publishing the content.
In addition, you can build trust with your readers through effective storytelling and case studies. This will show that you know what you’re talking about and you’re not just trying to push something on your followers.
3. Focus On The Wrong Content-Type
In the wrong content type, more often than not, it’s the purpose of your blog that is directing the type of content you should be writing. If your goal is to have more traffic, then writing long-form posts such as list posts or product descriptions will suit your needs.
However, if you are trying to grow an email list, then short-form content such as list posts or “top ten” posts will work better. The point is that you should choose the right type of content by your target audience and not just for your business goals.
The ultimate goal of writing is to help people solve problems or remove a pain point in their lives. And when you do that, they’ll start taking action and make a change because of your content. If people are suffering from a problem, then they’ll be much more likely to buy your product.
The new Facebook algorithm should also play a role here. When you’re writing content for Facebook, you should focus on writing long-form articles such as case studies and essays instead of list posts or short blogs.
4. Writing That Has Unclear Arguments Or Weak Headlines
To my knowledge, the number one thing that can kill your content is the lack of clear arguments or weak headings. The secret to making an effective argument is the headline. If you can’t write a good headline, then your content is often doomed before it even gets started.
It can be hard to know what exactly to include in your headline, but there are three things that you should keep in mind when creating a killer headline:
- Keep it short. Readers can only focus on a few things at a time. You need to make sure that your headline is not too long and will catch their attention before they scroll down.
- Make it catchy. Because you only have a few seconds until they will lose interest, you need to grab your reader’s attention right away! This means creating a memorable headline for your content that is also catchy and easy to remember.
- Use numbers or action words to make it clear what the purpose of your post is about.
5. No Action Steps In Your Content
One of the biggest mistakes that content writers make is to forget to provide actionable advice that will help their followers take action. Consider this: if your content doesn’t guide you in taking action, then what’s the point of reading it?
Whether you’re writing a list post, an article or a full-blown sales page, there should always be some kind of takeaway advice that helps your users make a change. When you don’t give people a way to take action, then they will likely leave your blog without following up.
A great way to write this into your content is by including a call-to-action (CTA) at the end of your article or posting.
Take, for example, this headline from Matador: “How To Get A Better Night’s Sleep In Less Than 15 Minutes.” The main point of this post is to be able to get a better night’s sleep in less than 15 minutes. However, instead of just asking people to visit their website, Matador uses a CTA that encourages action: “Click here to get the free guide.”
Matador provides this free guide as a benefit to taking action by visiting their site. And if they get enough people to visit their site and opt-in for the free guide, then it’s more likely they’ll buy something in the future. It also improves the overall user experience of their blog.
6. Writing That Is Not Relevant To Your Audience
If you want to be successful writing content for your brand, then you need to cater to the needs of your readers. This means that you have to understand who they are and what they are looking for in your content.
One way to get ideas for writing topics is by researching popular questions on Quora or Yahoo Answers. Or ask your friends what kind of problems they’re having with whatever it is you’re writing about.
Once you’ve picked out a few questions to write about, make sure that they are relevant to your audience. You shouldn’t write something that isn’t directly related to your audience. This is a good way to lose the confidence of your readers and make them think that you don’t know what they want. If a post is completely unrelated, it will just be a waste of their time.
Your readers will appreciate you for providing content that is relevant to their interests, but they will click away when they don’t feel like you are speaking directly to them.
If you ever get stuck on a topic or need some inspiration, feel free to check out my article about how I find ideas for blog posts.
7. Updating Too Often
Another bad thing you should avoid doing when writing content is updating it more often than necessary.
It’s tempting to post new blog posts on a regular basis so that people will be interested in what you have to say. This often backfires because the frequency of your posts causes confusion instead of clarity. It’s like you’re switching gears from writing one type of content to a completely different type of content and it confuses the readers.
Try to stick with one or two updated blog posts per week unless they are very high-quality and relevant to your audience.
This will keep your readers coming back for more and if you update often enough, they will want to read your new posts before anything else.
8. Not Having Goals
There are lots of benefits from writing high-quality content that you shouldn’t overlook.
For one, it will help to increase your brand awareness, build up your audience and establish you as an authority in your industry. The more people that read your content, the more likely they are to remember you and subscribe to anything else that you put out there.
Another benefit of writing content is the potential of earning revenue through advertising or affiliate links in order to make a profit and generate passive income.
Either way, you’re improving your business and brand without needing to do anything physical. All you need to do is sit back and write.
9. Engage with your readers
We’ve all heard the old adage: if you build it, they will come. It’s a catchy phrase that makes us want to believe that just by creating something, we will find a ravenous fan base waiting for it. But the truth is, no amount of content will be as successful as it could have been had we taken the time to market and engage with potential readers beforehand.
Engaging with your readers means responding to comments and messages, sharing their posts and asking questions about their business on social media. You can also post calls-to-action or “shout-outs” by tagging people in your posts. The more people that interact with you, the more likely they are to follow you. And if they follow you, then it’s easier for you to relay information about anything new that you’re working on or have for sale.
10. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
The last thing that you should avoid doing when writing content is feeling too comfortable with what you’re doing. It’s easy to get stuck in a routine and get bored of writing the same things over and over again. If this is happening to you, then stop what you’re doing right now and take a break from your website.
It’s important to remember that blogging is supposed to be fun. Taking breaks is a good way to get your creative juices flowing again.
In addition, you should challenge yourself to write in different genres and styles. If you’re writing blog posts, then try writing some essay-format content on Medium or LinkedIn. If you write about books and movies, try writing short stories for Wattpad or Watten. It will keep your mind fresh and help you improve your skills as a content writer.
New to content writing? Well check out our content writing guide.