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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!