Good content is a powerful weapon that has the ability to make extensive audiences engage with you and your business, while keeping you at the forefront of potential customers’ minds. Bad content, on the other hand, will make you a permanent fixture in the minds of discerning readers for all the wrong reasons.
Read on to find out which cardinal sins of editorial creation make for the worst content, and, most importantly, what you can do to avoid them harming a carefully crafted outreach strategy.
A shockingly prevalent issue, poor readability can make the most fascinating article slip by totally unnoticed. You’ll see extraneous pauses and sentences that go on forever, leaving you out of breath when you’re only reading in your head. This isn’t a spelling and grammar issue, either, just a simple case of a writer not expressing themselves in a fluid and natural way.
The solution: use a readability checker. There are numerous free-to-use sites online that will assess a piece of content and give it a readability score, to let you know you’re on the right track. Think of it as a spellcheck with extra gusto.
Ignoring the target audience
It’s easy to assume the best content is content that reaches the biggest audience, but if you alienate the actual target demographic chasing meaningless numbers, the quality of the piece will be compromised. Better to be read, shared and engaged with by relevant people than skimmed, clicked off or ignored by the masses.
The solution: think carefully about content placement. Niche blogs might see less traffic, but it will be meaningful. Plus, a slow burn in terms of shares, reposts and backlinks can prove infinitely more beneficial than trending for 30 minutes.
Writing from a place of ignorance
No content writer can be an expert in every single subject, regardless of how much they claim to be a master of all trades. Ignorance shows. No award-winning content has ever been created after a perfunctory skim of a Wikipedia page, so don’t think you’ll be the first to get away with putting in minimum research and zero effort.
The solution: factor in research time for every piece of content so it can be written with genuine knowledge and interest at its core. Key audiences will be able to tell the difference and are more likely to share something that resonates with their own experiences.
Hiring an amateur
Have you ever noticed that everybody seems to be a writer these days? While most people can cobble something legible together, it takes a particular set of skills to craft succinct, powerful copy – and for that, you have to pay. Using budgets as an excuse for amateur material just doesn’t cut it in today’s competitive content market.
The solution: hire a professional. It might cost you more, but you’ll have to deal with fewer rewrites and will usually have assurances of getting a piece of work you’re happy with.
Relying on spell check
Rule number one of content writing has to be never to rely on spellcheck software. There are a host of things that could trip you up, from predictive text settings through to the wrong dictionary being active on your publishing software – who hasn’t been caught out by US English?
The solution: get in the habit of properly proofreading any and all content. By taking the time to read through an article more than once, you’ll get a feel for the rhythm, flow and tone of the piece, allowing any ‘sore thumb’ words and phrases to be deleted. You’ll also get to recognise which words you frequently misspell and recurrent grammar issues.
Focussing on word count
When is a cliché not a cliché? When it’s a universal truth. The adage of ‘quality over quantity’ can be applied to countless aspects of life, but especially content creation. Don’t use 1,000 words when 100 will do, and never chase word counts, as it will dilute your words and undermine their value.
The solution: get your key points written down and fleshed out, then go back and see if you can embellish a little more. If you’ve made your point, have great readability and your grammar is on point, why try to fix what isn’t broken?
The crux of the matter here is to create with intuition. Write as though you’re having a discussion with an expert on your subject matter and you want to impress them. Forget word counts and jargon and concentrate on producing honest, good content that resonates with the right people.
Looking to improve your content? Get in touch with WooContent today to find out how we can help you.