As trends, ease of reading, reading aptitude, and search engine metrics evolve, we adjust our content and writing style to accommodate them. Today’s digital ecosystem has over 4 billion people searching for useful information across more than 2 billion websites. It would be irreverent to hand them mediocre content.
In content writing, there are bound to be mistakes. Even with the latest spelling and grammar checking software, some mistakes will be made. After all, software programs are man-made and we haven’t come far enough with AI for them to intuit that you meant to write “form” instead of “from”.
However, just because there’s always a margin for error in every written work doesn’t mean you should be complacent about allowing that error to happen. Remember the saying, “the internet never forgets”? Guess what, the internet can be pretty unforgiving too. Sometimes, all it takes is one simple mistake to sink your entire content writing ship.
While your readers may let you off for a generic mistake like typing “form” instead of “from”, they won’t eat that cereal forever. There are common ‘netiquettes’ that you must observe as a content writer. Here are 5 Unforgivable Content Writing Mistakes to run from with super speed!
1. Subjective one-liners
As a content writer for the web, you must remember that your writing will be read by millions of people. So, you should be intentional about the expressions you use. You must create material that won’t incite controversy as that would be bad for your brand. Unless your brand feeds off controversial situations, then I guess it’s OK.
As a content writer, you must be extremely perceptive to the nuances and undertones of your words, especially in this age of self-awareness. Avoid content that suggests innuendo. Not all jokes would fly in some circles so be certain that your content won’t be offensive to anyone before you publish. Subjective writing can ruin a brand’s reputation and cost thousands of dollars in damage control. Do you remember Bloomingdale’s slip-up in 2015? Whoever wrote that copy didn’t get the memo.
People are sensitive. If you write content for the web, then you must be too.
2. Fluffy writing
Studies show that the average reader has an insanely short attention span – about 15 seconds. That’s the amount of time you have to hook a reader onto your content. If your content is full of fluff, chances are you’re losing valuable readers.
You know that metric that counts the number of times people load a page? Yeah, don’t count on it. The glaring truth is, we don’t necessarily read what we click. What we do read, is content that catches our attention within the first 15 seconds.
The best kind of reader is the one that comes back. So the next time you want to write a 1900 word article, think quality over quantity. Nothing’s wrong with lengthy articles; you just want to be mindful of fluff.
• Make sure your writing is crisp, clear, and concise.
• Eliminate unnecessary words and phrases.
• Be generous with your formatting.
• Bullet point long lists.
• Use effective white space.
• Add factual statistics and figures.
• Put key sentences in bold text so readers can skim through and get the gist.
Long articles produce the best results for lead generation and SEO purposes, but if you focus on the length of your article rather than its content, you’d be better off with a short article packed full of valuable information rather than a long, watered-down version.
3. Publishing without Proofreading
If you went to a fancy restaurant and found hair in your soup, would you go back there? Finding hair in your soup is like finding irresponsible errors in your writing; it ruins the experience.
Bad grammar is inexcusable. Especially when there are tons of free spelling and grammar checking software that are as effective as can be. However, nothing can replace your review. Always go through your content before you publish. The difference between a bad copy and a good one can be as little as night and day.
4. Keyword carousel
There is nothing a search engine hates more than sites with too many keywords and backlinks. Rather than rank high, such sites would rank low as search engines would interpret their content as spammy.
Keywords should be directly related to your niche and strategically embedded into your content in an organic way. Cramming in too many keywords at a time is counterintuitive. As a content writer, you must strike a balance between too many and too little. The same goes for backlinks; i.e hyperlinks to different WebPages for referral purposes.
Content writing is as technical as it is creative; it’s easy to go overboard on ticking all the technical boxes while failing to produce readable content.
5. Ignoring SEO
While we’re on the subject of the technical aspect of content writing, let’s talk SEO. Is your content Search Engine Optimised? SEO and internet marketing are like PB&J. When done right, SEO can increase brand awareness exponentially. A good trick to SEO is to be as specific as possible with your keyword. Pick keywords that are less competitive but still relevant to your readers.
Content is indeed king but the presentation is the whole kingdom. To produce successful content, you must observe these simple ‘netiquettes’ because a mistake can cost you tons in cash and reputation.
That is why we advise business professionals to focus on what they do best – running their business. The ideal situation is one where you outsource your content writing needs to qualified professionals who know better than to sin against your readers and incur their wrath.
To know more about how our content writing skills can grow your audience and readership, call or write to us via Email.