Neil Patel’s 8 Mistakes Even Professional Content Writers Make made me think of what mistakes I commit most often when I write content and how to avoid, if not eliminate, them. Mr. Patel is absolutely correct. Content writers and even other types of writers sometimes make mistakes when writing content. It is an undeniable fact.
This post is a spin-off from the above article and I would like to share some tips (from my experience) on how I avoid these mistakes when writing content.
- How to break through writer’s block.
Writer’s block is a bummer. No matter how hard you try, nothing pops in your head. You end up spending hours staring at your PC with nothing, not even a single idea to start writing. How do you break through it?
Mr. Patel is right in saying you are wrong thinking you cannot break through it. You can but only with time. What I meant by this is you allow yourself time. Do not force yourself to break through the block. Instead, stop writing, relax, do not think of anything – perfection, rejection, and all the things that break the rhythm of writing.
Try doing some of the things that make you happy – drink coffee, eat a slice of cake, or gobble a plate of your mom’s spaghetti – anything that relaxes your mind for a little while. At the same time, try to think of the topic for your content. In this relaxed state, you will discover that ideas flow easily, you are able to focus, and ideas develop freely. You are not pushing yourself.
- How to edit your work.
Like writer’s block, editing your work requires time. You do not rush. You are extra careful of the needed corrections and revisions. You check every bit of information, data, source, figure, etc. to build that solid piece of content.
Consider an audience for your content. Ask somebody to critique your piece. When my son (a professor and an English major college graduate) is around, I let him read my articles. It is thru honest feedback that you get sound ideas and new approaches.
You need patience. If you start getting confused, consult Hubspot, Thesaurus, Grammarly and other online tools to help you. You can also consider this editing checklist for the process. Your content has to be real but not overly meticulous turning your content into something cold (lacking warmth to connect).
- How to proofread your work.
Proofreading is like being a director with a stick on your hand. You strike the artist with every little mistake he/she makes until the artist perfects the act. It is a tough job. Nobody wants to do it but you have to do it.
It is very important that you make a habit of proofreading your content more than once. Examine your content for typographical errors, grammar and spelling mistakes, etc. You do not proofread the content as a whole but with the smallest details.
Print your content. I always do this. It is much easier to proofread every little detail from a printout. Use a ruler under each line of your content while reading. You can also use a blank paper. You do this repeatedly – backward and forward. For more of how to proofread your content, check this.
- How to research the topic for your content.
You cannot skip this process. You may think it is easy to write about a particular topic because of your knowledge and probably experience. Still, you need to include your sources to support your ideas or confirm the information you are sharing.
Most of the time, I cite sources with the links. I also quote or paraphrase. You can choose any but you have to avoid plagiarizing content. Visit this site that provides in-depth information about plagiarism.
Researching a topic is truly exhausting. But today there are already a lot of available sources and it is not only found in the books, magazines, and encyclopedias in hard copies. There is already the internet. In addition, you can also do interviews with people and groups of people.
- How to use pronouns in writing content.
One of the lessons I learned when writing content – you have to write in the second person (you, your, yours). Writing in this way makes it seem that you are talking to your audience. You create a call to action.
You make a personal approach to your buyer persona by addressing them. Writing in the second person creates a warm feeling between you and your audience.
I recommend this type of writing because it makes you think about your intended buyer persona or your target audience. With them in mind, you will not think what you want or desire for yourself but what your audience expect from your product or service.
- How to be careful in writing – not too fast nor too slow.
I agree with Mr. Patel that you should write according to the type of content you have to write. Topics that relate most to your experiences are easy to write. Those that need intensive research or those sensitive materials may require slower pace because you have to be careful about your sources.
- How to understand your readers.
Your readers also include your target audience or your buyer persona. They are the ones that will use your product or your service. Are they male or female? What age bracket do they belong?
What do your readers specifically like? What are their backgrounds? Are your readers literate? Are they living in the city or in the provinces? Do they have easy access to the internet? Are your readers physically challenged?
Frankie Maden shares us this line – We don’t think like our users.
- How to make an outline for your content.
I do not write an outline sometimes. You can create outlines in your mind without writing them. Do not be misled and take this for arrogance. You can do outlines mentally especially if you do not have enough time to finish an article or you have a deadline to catch.
However if you have ample time and you need to provide clear direction for your content, create an outline. You can visit Convince & Convert to learn how outlines hone your content and improve your writing.
I stop from this but you should not. Practice, practice. Even if it doesn’t make perfect, it makes almost perfect.