Being a professional doesn’t mean you are 100% perfect at your trade. It only means you have gotten good enough to keep your mistakes to the barest minimum. Even as a professional there are still some mistakes you are likely to make in the process of putting content together.
In this article, I have outlined 8 common mistakes that even professional writers sometimes make. The goal is to help you identify these errors and help you figure out how to avoid them.
Mistake 1: Not outlining before writing
Outlining seems so much like an amateur thing to do and this is probably why most professional content writers don’t bother to do it anymore even though they really should. Outlining your content before writing helps you create a structure for your work. It gives you clarity and ensures that you cover all the crucial details. Outlining also helps you work faster since you now have a clear picture of what you want to write before you begin.
You can begin by writing a quick introduction to your article then pen down a summary of the major points you want to cover in your article. You can then proceed to expand them afterward. Your outline does not have to be complex or contain all the details of your article. Just a few bullet points will do. It is a simple 10 minutes exercise that most writers overlook but can save you hours of your time in the long run.
Mistake 2: Using Copyrighted Images
One of the most important features of every good content is using good quality images. It helps to keep your readers engaged and can make your content a lot more interesting. However, in a bid to add more color to your article, most writers make the mistake of simply grabbing related images from Google and pasting it in their article. This is a form of copyright infringement.
Although a lot of writers get away with this terrible practice, it is unprofessional and can have serious consequences if the owner of the picture takes legal steps. A more professional approach is to use free to use stock photos or simply make your own images. There are several websites where you can find good quality stock photos online.
Mistake 3: Poor Search Engine Optimization
SEO is the act of writing content in a way that makes it relevant to internet searches. This is one of the essential skills every professional content writer should have. Search Engine Optimization involves writing in such a way that your content shows up on the first page of search engines (especially Google). This is super important since most people rarely go past the first of Google when they search for stuff online. So, if your content is not optimized, it is will be difficult to discover it unless someone finds the URL directly.
Although SEO in itself is a technical skill and you may require some training to do it right, it is good to know the basics. It simply involves knowing how to include relevant keywords in important parts of your article based on what people search for and how they search for it. A lot of professional writers lack basic SEO skills. Many others simply use bad SEO practices like cramming too many keywords into their write-up. As a professional, you should at least know how SEO works and try your best to keep up with standard SEO practices to keep your content relevant.
Mistake 4: Not Carrying out enough Research
Good writers are not just good with fanciful writing or merely crafty with words. The accuracy of your content is important as well. This is why you must comprehensively research every topic you write about.
Expect your audience to include people who are knowledgeable about the subject you are writing about. It would look bad on your reputation if you are caught presenting wrong or misleading information. Don’t just make stuff up in your head or assume you know enough about a subject to write about it. Doing your due diligence with research will allow you to write confidently and help boost your status as an authority in your niche.
Mistake 5: Writing Pointlessly Lengthy articles
The truth is, there is no standard length for an article. A lengthy read isn’t always a bad thing. But you have to ensure that your article is not being pointlessly lengthy. As a professional, you don’t want to overload your readers with long and potentially boring content. Don’t add fluff or filler to your content just to reach a specific word count. Short and precise content is always better than a long and uninteresting post. Always try your best to find a balance between value and length.
Mistake 6: Not knowing your readers.
A good writer writes with the reader in mind but a lot of professional writers actually make the mistake of writing without knowing who their readers will be. When you do this, you are unlikely to connect with your readers in a meaningful way. Consequently, your content may be great, but it won’t speak to the readers as it ought to. Studying your leaders will help you know the right tone to use and will even determine the register of words to use in your article. So in addition to researching the details of the content you want to write, get to know your readers too.
Mistake 7: Writing too fast
I know this doesn’t sound so much like a mistake, because there is no standard writing speed. But as a writer, you have to understand that your writing speed will influence the quality of your content. This is not merely about making mistakes or overlooking important facts when you write too fast. Think of it this way, a person’s writing speed is always different from the reading speed of anyone that will read the article. So even though your mind can easily process the long sentences and big words that you use when you write, your readers will have a hard time processing them. This is because human eyes tend to skim over the content. So try to slow down as much as possible to make your content less agonizing to read.
Mistake 8: Not Double Checking Everything
No matter how good you get as a professional, you are still human and you are prone to errors. Having too many errors will affect the overall quality of your work and hurt your reputation as a writer. Before posting your final draft, you should go through it and fix little grammar errors or spelling mistakes. You should also check for plagiarism using an online plagiarism checker tool to ascertain the uniqueness of your article. This will help to ensure the quality of your writing and the integrity of your work.
Improving is an important part of the cycle of growth. Even as a professional, there are still some terrible habits that may be hurting the quality of your work. Hopefully, this post has helped you to identify some of these horrible mistakes and you can get down to fixing them right away.