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The Five Cardinal Sins For A Content Writer – Content Writing Mistakes

The Five Cardinal Sins For A Content Writer – Content Writing Mistakes

Content, like many things in life, has its good days and bad days. This directly reflects on the content writer, who is the creator of said content. There are some mistakes that we can avoid to ensure that we do not end up churning nondescript, error ridden or downright, mediocre content. So here are the five cardinal sins/ Content Writing Mistakes that a content writer must avoid at all costs:

  1. Not knowing your audience:

    Before you start writing, always ensure that you know who you are writing for. Remember, the way it sounds in your head when you are writing it, may not be the same way it sounds in the head of your potential reader. Part of not losing the plot, includes knowing who you are writing for. If, for example, you are writing a blog post for a bar of soap, ensure that you know what that soap manufacturer is after. Is he looking for a piece of the 30 something, more mobile upwardly market, or the nascent, “just started earning, so have to feel good instantly” market? A short questionnaire swap with your prospect before the start of a project can do the trick.

  2.  Errors:

    Error 404 is a commonly made mistake in any content writer’s life. This can mean anything and can cover any range of errors from plain and simple grammatical to errors in reporting. Remember, accuracy is key here. You need to get your facts right before you set on writing that engaging and thought-provoking piece of news or blog post. Check and double-check to ensure that you have the facts you need on hand. Do not write a haphazard piece, or a piece ridden with ill-informed and erroneous views. You will shoo away your audience and lose all credibility. Ditto for grammar.

  3.  Writing without a synopsis or summary:

    This can spell suicide from the word get go. As a writer, you will come across many situations that distract and make you entertain multiple thoughts. This is especially true in our social media driven times, where distractions are dime a dozen and perspectives (differing, nonetheless), even more commonplace. So, to ensure that you do not lose the plot, stick to a summary of what you are writing and exactly how you are going to tackle it – point by point. Make a short synopsis before you get started and try not deviate. This synopsis should be drawn up at the research phase itself.

  4.  Verbose, much? Now, this can be a virtue:

    If you are writing a novel. Not when you are sending out a blog post into the great, big void called the Internet, where scores of people inhabiting different rungs of literacy and exposure can stumble upon your piece. So ensure that you keep it simple. Use one adjective per sentence. Do not repeat prepositions. And ensure that you use smaller, simpler words wherever you can. If you tend to go around in circles, proof read twice – once for grammar, and once to come to the point faster.

  5.  Creative expression:

    Knows no bounds. Therefore, remember to be as creative as you can be. Some content writers keep it bland – a sin like no other. It is imperative to follow your heart and do some well intended research. Feeling like writing a food blog post on healthy summer eating? Google fruits and find out what citrus based recipes could trickle into a post on light-hearted salads and smoothies. Use analogies and make your piece truly shine, truly come alive. Try adding texture where none is possible – yes, even in that straitjacket report on the financial outcome of the latest IPO to have come to Wall Street. Make it resonate and let your words really talk.

Ideas and content go hand in hand, as do various writing techniques. Ensure that you put enough tools in your content arsenal to avoid making these content writing mistakes, so that you can successfully build an author platform. Keeping these five basic things in mind while writing is a great way to start. As you grow, your own experiences will sharpen your intuition as a writer. The best trick is to keep writing!

5 Indispensable Tools for a Content Writer

5 Indispensable Tools for a Content Writer

The life of a content writer is not easy. We understand that. It sure is a tough job to produce content which is well written, well researched, factually correct and pleases Google baba enough to list it in its searches! Here’s how we’ve tried to make your life a teeny bit easier by sharing these resource hacks with you. If you were a shoe-maker, these tools would be your elves. Well, you are a writer, and these tools can still be your elves!

1. Tagcrowd

A post which is not search engine optimized might do well to not exist on internet at all. This tool helps boost search engine optimization by enabling you to create your own tag cloud from the text in your content, to visualize word frequency. It gives you an idea about what your post will look like with word clouds and frequencies.

2. Evernote 

From your grocery shopping to your research bibliography, Evernote is the ‘one size fits all’ solution to note keeping. It’s our favorite here at OBOlinx as well. The interface is easy and the layout is clean and simple with tons of useful features. It enables to create entire notebooks so that your notes don’t get jumbled up. The web clipper extension is especially useful when you are researching on something and taking notes simultaneously, instead of switching windows, it enables you to view the web clips while you take notes! The best thing – it syncs your notes automatically, allowing you to start from where you left off, on any of your devices – laptop, desktop, phone or iPad!

3. Factbrowser

The facts you incorporate into your content should always be from a dependable source and verified by you, as a writer. While people may not appreciate when the facts are accurate (because that’s what you’re supposed to do anyway!), it surely damages your credibility as a writer if they are not correct! Factbrowser to the rescue. This website is a savior when it comes to helping you find dependable sources for studies, surveys, reports, stats and other kinds of facts you need to add some meat to your writing.

4. Grammarly and Correctica 

If you are a content writer, you would know, the wrath of a Grammar Nazi is the worst thing to bring upon yourself. Especially since you are one yourself! (a safe assumption?) Grammar and spelling errors are extremely embarrassing, more so if you are a writer. We may be merciless editors ourselves, however, just to triple check, use tools like Grammarly and Correctica before you publish your posts. Additionally, Grammarly also checks for plagiarism.

5. Headline Analyzer 

People do judge a book by its cover and a post by its title. Only 62% of readers, read past the title (yes I have used Factbrowser for this one). Spend as much time, or more, as you spend on writing the content to come up with a kickass title for the post. And when you think you’ve found it, use Headline Analyzer. This tool scores the title of your post and rates its SEO value, ability to attract traffic and generate shares on social media. It also shows you how far up or down below your post will appear in the search results! Which content headlines will get you most results? Have a look at this post to crack the secret.

Did you know about these tools? Do you think there are other awesome tools we have missed out on? We are all ears!

5 Ways to Build and Improve Your Vocabulary

5 Ways to Build and Improve Your Vocabulary

Knowing how to harness the power of words for your benefit can make for a much smoother career path – be it in interviews, meetings, emails, presentations, conversations and more. If you can express yourself clearly, you have a huge advantage over most. Having a good vocabulary is crucial for written as well as spoken communication. It benefits you not just professionally but also personally. Working on your vocabulary helps you articulate yourself in a specific and precise manner, and is one of the most underrated skills. In fact, the researcher Johnson O’Connor conducted a study over 20 years, and showed that

“No matter which area he looked at, and no matter how he analyzed the data: a person’s vocabulary level is the best single predictor of occupational success.”

Read on to find out about the five simple practices which will help build and improve your vocabulary.

Improve your Vocabulary by Reading

This is one habit that will boost your vocabulary like nothing else can. Set aside at least thirty minutes of your day for some mindful reading. Read business magazines or online business journals, reading newspapers daily is a must – at least the editorials, and of course, if you enjoy fiction, nothing like it. But remember that it is not enough to just read and know the story, the whole point is to build your word power, so when you come across a word and do not know what it means, be sure to look it up. Keep a pocket dictionary handy or an online dictionary on your bookmarks menu. We would also suggest noting it down on a sticky note and putting it somewhere you can see it every day, until it becomes a part of your vocabulary!

Improve your Vocabulary by Playing

Yes, building a vocabulary can be a rather fun thing to do. Make crosswords and word games an obsession and before you know it, you will have gained fabulous language skills. It can be hard in the beginning, but the key is to keep practicing. Most newspapers have a word games section that you can try. There are several mobile apps you can play in which you can also choose to start from a basic level and move up gradually. Our favourites are Wordament, Words Words Words and Text Twist. You can also check out the FreeRice.com website which donates 10 grains of rice through the World Food program for every answer that you get right in their vocabulary quiz.

Improve your Vocabulary One Word A Day

Yes, one of the secrets to a powerful vocabulary – learn one word at a time, everyday. Subscribe to “word of the day” emails. Don’t just sign up for it, make sure you read the emails every day and don’t end up marking them as spam. While it may take you only a few minutes to read it, the benefits will truly be long-term. You can use this link to sign up for one of these programs – Wordsmith.org or Word Of The Day

Improve your Vocabulary by Listening

You might have noticed by now, the amount of stress we lay on this one point in all our communication related posts. Listening intently and carefully is a great way to improve your vocabulary and communication. If you like the way the speaker is speaking, make a note of what you like. When you listen carefully, you will also come across new words and will learn the context in which to use them. If you write the word down and use it immediately in a sentence, your brain will remember the word better. It is also very important to listen to someone who does not seem to be making a lot of sense while speaking, because that is a lesson on the mistakes you have to avoid yourself.

Improve your Vocabulary by Writing

Even though this may sound tedious, it will take you a long way in improving your vocabulary. Writing helps you form coherent sentences and is a true measure of reflecting how your vocabulary has improved. It need not be tedious, all you need to do is maintain a journal and write as little as half a page a day, even about simple things like how your day was! This habit can be really helpful if you pursue it in a disciplined and persistent manner. We can assure you that two weeks into keeping a journal, you will really start enjoying it! Start today!

Remember that practice makes for perfect. You may follow all of the above advice, however, if you don’t put into use what you learn, it doesn’t matter how hard you have been working. Incorporate into your daily vocabulary the words you have been learning. Express yourself regardless of the anxiety that you may fumble and make mistakes. Make mistakes and then learn from them, and slowly with practice, you will be perfect!

5 Simple Life Hacks to Help You Write Better

5 Simple Life Hacks to Help You Write Better

Being a writer is a full time job. You are not on vacation even when you are on vacation because you are constantly thinking about what to write next! Being creative 24*7 is quite a challenge and a very difficult one to live up to. We, at Oorja Biz Ops have been brainstorming about changes we can bring about in our daily life, to help refuel the creativity. Here are five hacks that will work for you to write better (they certainly did, for us !):

Write Better Hack #1 – Start your day early

Being an early riser has a lot more advantages than you think. This is the best way to give your day a head start. Schedule the first 45 minutes of your day to write five hundred words of anything you can think about. With consistent practice you will see your writing skills improve significantly in just a matter of weeks. Accomplishing a task right at the beginning of the day is also a great confident booster and keeps you pumped up all through the day.

Write Better Hack #2 – Replace the caffeine

Did we hear a collective gasp? We know what coffee means to writers. For many, it can be impossible to start a day without a cup. However, it is a proven fact that a regular dose of caffeine is not a very healthy thing for your body. Caffeine also causes anxiety and restlessness which may not be what you need when you are already on the edge due to work stress. Try and replace caffeine with healthier options like green tea or even regular tea or some other healthy beverage. Might be worth it to give it a shot and notice the difference!

Write Better Hack #3 – Find ‘me time’ 

Gifting yourself some time is the healthiest thing you can do for yourself and the best hack to trigger your writing creativity. Set aside about 45 minutes of your day, every day, to recharge your soul simply by indulging yourself. Cook, bake, garden, sing, dance, paint – whatever helps you connect with your inner self and makes you happy. Finding ‘me time’ can be a tall order given the lifestyles we lead. This problem may be solved by going back to what we said about waking up early. That way, you will have more time than you usually do. Even if it’s just an hour earlier, it still gives you some space to fit ‘me time’ into your otherwise cramped day.

Write Better Hack #4 – Read Often, Read More

Read as much as, or more than you write. Reading helps recharge your intellectual resources and keeps those brainy ideas flowing. Reading fires your imagination – the stuff writers are made of.  As Stephen King wrote in “On Writing”:

If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut. . . .

It’s hard for me to believe that people who read very little (or not at all in some cases) should presume to write and expect people to like what they have written, but I know it’s true. If I had a nickel for every person who ever told me he/she wanted to become a writer but didn’t have time to read, I could buy myself a pretty good steak dinner. Can I be blunt on this subject? If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.

Just like a balanced diet is essential for a healthy body, balanced reading is crucial for a healthy mind and will make you think in different directions. Make sure your reading list consists of a mixed dose of current affairs, fiction and non-fiction. What you read, reflects in what and how you write.

Write Better Hack #5 – Be Honest with Yourself

While it is crucial to have expectations from oneself, at the same time, it is important to have goals which are practical and achievable. Setting long term targets on a high-on-red-bull day, probably isn’t a good idea. What we mean is, enthusiasm is vital, however, a lot of times we tend to become over enthusiastic with our goals and go on over drive trying to achieve them. Being honest with yourself about what you can and cannot achieve in a given period of time does not mean tardiness, it means being practical. But then, a little pressure now and then does help to shoo the devil called Procrastination away!

And finally, after putting our neck on the line, we leave you with the words from our idol and mentor, Seth Godin :

The biggest takeaway for anyone seeking to write is this: don’t go looking for the way other authors do their work. You won’t find many who are consistent enough to copy, and there are enough variations in approach that it’s obvious that it’s not like hitting home runs or swinging a golf club. There isn’t a standard approach, there’s only what works for you (and what doesn’t).

We hope you enjoyed our post. We would love to hear from you on what you do to help you write more and write better!