The advent of the Internet and its many channels of information, such as social media, changed the way American society receives and processes content. Consumers are increasingly turning towards online blogs and article sources of news and information. As an online writer, you have an array of tools and resources at your disposal that were unavailable to historical writers and content creators. Credible, article-enriching information can be researched in a matter of minutes, while grammar and spell-check tools help polish your work to near perfection. Indeed, an online article, when produced and syndicated effectively, can be a powerful and influential force that can attract attention, spread awareness, and motivate action.
Ready to start writing? Great! But before you dive in, take a moment to review the following list. Many writers make critical errors in their flurry of brainstorming and content creation; errors that can make an entire article ineffective. Be sure to avoid these five mistakes when writing your next article.
Mistake #1: Choosing a Broad Topic
When choosing a topic for your article, you want to at least address the core issues or questions surrounding a topic. By choosing a topic that is too broad, such as “Car Safety” or “How to Be a Good Parent,” you are setting yourself up to address a lot of issues and questions. Broad topics typically result in three outcomes: articles that are lengthy, articles that cut corners to address all issues and questions, or articles that skip certain aspects of the topic completely, leaving the reader unsatisfied.
Instead, narrow your topic down to something more specific, such as “Seat Belt Safety” or “Methods of Properly Disciplining Your Child”. This will allow you to fully and coherently answer the big questions and issues while keeping your article at a manageable length.
Mistake #2: Poorly Sourcing Your Information
Do your homework! Unless you are a professional with original, relevant research and information beneath your belt, take some time to review and research the topic you are writing about. There’s nothing worse than giving your reader false information. Not only does it reduce your credibility as an author, it harms the image of the company or website you are representing as well. Most information is easy and free to access, so there is no excuse for misguided information.
Mistake #3: Editing Your Own Writing
Very rarely is the first draft the final draft. It is only natural for the first draft of your article to contain grammar, spelling, and readability issues. Resist the temptation to immediately publish an article you just finished. Instead, take time to edit and polish your writing, and for crying out loud, have another set of eyes read it too. You’ll be surprised how much insight a trained person can shed into an article with a quick glance. Your readers will accept an occasional error, but if your article post is rife with misspelled words, improper grammar, and large blocks of text, they may not take your article seriously. All of this can be avoided with proper editing.
Mistake #4: Failure to use a Consistent Voice
Present. Past. Future. Be consistent. As a writer, your goal is to clearly communicate ideas and concepts to your reader, and that means keeping a consistent voice and verb tense throughout your article. For example, you do not want to have one paragraph written in a casual tone with the next paragraph changing to a technical, cut-and-dried style. Neither would you want to use present tense verbs at the beginning of your article (e.g. is going/he runs) and past tense at the end (e.g. went/he ran). Consider setting additional time aside for a second edit that focuses on correcting these specific issues, as they can break the flow of communication in your article.
Mistake #5: Your Article Doesn’t Connect with the Audience
The topic you are writing about may be very interesting. The article that embodies it might be a literary masterpiece. But this doesn’t mean anything if your article fails to connect with the audience. In other words, your efforts and creativity are wasted if your article doesn’t serve the purpose of the company you are representing. You don’t want your readers to reach the end of your article and say, “So what?” Each and every article you write should spark your readers’ interest to learn more, motivate them to take action, or otherwise connect them with the brand you are promoting.
Not only is writing a great way to connect with the public, it is also a popular avenue to educate them about your services and/or products. Writing is an art form and one should invest time and money into creating well written content for their website, after all, it’s often your first chance to grab the attention of a potential client. Fahrenheit Marketing offers professional writing services for websites in the form of daily articles or brand positioning statements. If you have any writing needs send us a line at [email protected] or call us at 512-206-4220. We would be more than happy to assist you!