Are You Making These 6 Mistakes When Writing Online?

Are You Making These 6 Mistakes When Writing Online?

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Jay Dillon

Director of Strategy and Creative at Inbound Experts
Jay is a digital marketer and producer whose creative and technical skills have developed digital brand strategies and sales campaigns using a range of complex internet applications from stand-alone websites through to Facebook API integrations.
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Are you somebody who just loves to write? It feels like you were born to write and words course through your veins.

You’re well-read and have a lavish leather bound library of the classics. You own some of the finest business pieces ever written, from to Blanchard to Branson.

You run a tight content marketing ship and you know how to achieve results using inbound techniques.

If this is you, carry on! But if not, read on to discover some vital (but common) mistakes you may be making when writing for the web. These are the things that are holding you and your writing back – and once you stop breaking these rules, you’ll be writing effective online content with the best of them.

Not targeting your audience

Understanding your audience is the simplest and most efficient way to increase engagement. And the easiest way to get your reader’s attention is to understand their pain points.

What are their concerns? Not future, off in the distance concerns – today’s concerns.

Tailor your content to these pain points.

Take this article for example – people begrudge writing. Every piece of advice they read is to write, write and write some more. People hate it; they’re unsure, worried and downright scared. This article answers some pain points and identifies some “what-not-to-dos”. It answers a pressing need and is also a variation on the sea of “how-to-write” pieces out there.

Efficient targeting of these concerns also means staying on topic. Don’t start talking home loan interest rates if you sell self-improvement services.

And remember: keep it fresh. Your audience will grow to expect things from you which will keep them coming back.

Ignoring “web only” rules

Abiding by some unwritten rules of web writing can get you far. While a lot of flimsy rules exist, there are some you can bank on for almost any piece of writing.

First, more is not always better. If there’s something you can say in fewer words, say it in fewer words.

A nice (and free) tool you can use is Hemingway App. This web-based beauty allows you to copy or type text into it. Then it measures, hard and very hard to read sentences, simpler options for words, identifies adverbs, and passive voice. As you may have guessed, the less of those in your text the more concise it is.

Second, is keyword stuffing. We know you’re trying to target SEO eyes, but we aren’t silly. People can tell when you’re overusing a word for optimisation purposes so don’t do it. You may only get one shot to impress a customer. Why risk it?

Last, is linking both internally and externally. In this article, we link to previous Inboundly posts. We also link to reputable 3rd parties, which is beneficial for SEO. Link back and forth and encourage your readers to explore your online presence.

Producing poor quality content

Needless to say, spelling and grammar in 2015 is non-negotiable. You’ve heard it before so let’s not dwell on it; sometimes the little red squiggly lines of your Microsoft Word spell-check just aren’t enough.

If I spelt, spelled and spilled like this, Word has no issue. Read your work and re-read it.

It’s a popular belief that you shouldn’t edit something you’ve written – but some of us don’t have the luxury of an on demand proofreader or spouse to go through our writing. A handy trick is to read the text backwards. This forces you to read and engage with what you’ve written. You’ll pick up errors easier this way (seriously, try it!).

It’s also a good idea to make Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com close friends of yours. They’ll save your behind when you least expect.

Not publishing regularly

Regular writing has a huge number of benefits for both your business and you personally.

For business it:

  • Results in more traffic and lifts your search engine rankings.
  • Consolidates your presence and creates regularity keeping your readers coming back.
  • Gives you fuel for your social media channels. Sharing posts from months ago is ok if mixed with new content.
  • Breeds ideas for future writing. Doing a ten-part series on how to start a vegetable garden could lead to an online course on how to grow roses in the winter, or how to start a florist.
  • Once you have enough, you could roll the best parts into a published book.

Personal benefits:

  • Regular writing makes you better at writing.
  • It clarifies thoughts and helps cultivates creativity.
  • Your other writing will benefit – emails, texts messages, notes on the fridge.

Forgetting SEO and social

As mentioned, a major advantage of writing online is to increase those SEO scores.

Its effectiveness may not be what it used to be, but targeting long-tail keywords can pick you up a few wayward search visitors.

Think of long-tail keywords as specific phrases people might punch into a search engine. Think, “blue Mazda 323 for sale Melbourne”, or “How to change a mountain bike tyre”. These phrases are asking a particular question that you can base the entire article around.

But please, keep it natural.

If I see you stuffing these long-tail key phrases in un-naturally, we’re going to have words.

Another important player in your online game is getting your work out there for people to see. Make sure you share and encourage to share. Again, this keeps your social media churning over and keeps your readers engaged.

Set yourself up a content syndication system and you’re on your way.

Last but not least, have fun with it

Like the impossible fitness plan, if you hate your content plan you won’t stick to it.

With practice, you’ll find yourself sticking to these rules when creating content for your brand without even thinking about it. Remember them and you’re well on your way to a successful inbound campaign.

And don’t forget to have fun with your audience. If you’re enjoying your creations, chances are that others are enjoying them too.

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