While we might have an idea of what we want to say, sometimes we have the wrong idea of how to say it. You might go one way because you've seen it done that way elsewhere, but it doesn't mean 'elsewhere' was correct!
Here are five common mistakes and how to avoid them.
Huge Chunks of Copy
Think about how you read online copy. How often do you skim over a whole section? I bet you haven't read more than the first paragraph of the 'about' section of a website.
You skim over long pieces of copy because of the long paragraphs. Your reader will look at the size of what they have to read, see how hard it looks, and look for shorter paragraphs or pictures.
Great word economy will cut down the length of each sentence. You know that key on your keyboard next to the quotation marks? It's the 'Enter' key. Press it as much as you can and break up a 20 line paragraph into five paragraphs of four.
Poor Basic Grammar
You're a smart person! You're showing your work (whatever that is) to the world, but if you're an adult who isn't confident using the correct there/their/they're, to/too and your/you're, maybe it's time you learn.
An expert in any field will lose the respect of their reader when they don't use basic grammar correctly.
It doesn't matter if you're a content publisher or a mechanic, you need to reward your reader in some way. Someone reads/watches/listens to your content to gain information, to be entertained etc.
Don't publish a joke if you're not going to deliver the punchline.
Don't tell people to visit your mechanic if you're not going to tell them your location.
Don't say you're going to highlight common mistakes and how to fix them if you're not going to provide a solution.
I read a story where a guy was checking out underground tunnels. He wrote about why the tunnels were important and how intense getting prepared was. He made his way into a secret tunnel, turned a corner and found a locked gate... so he went home. End of story. What a waste of time!
Tell me how you picked that lock and found a mysterious underground lake... or don't publish the article at all!
Writing Just 'cos
Ever read an article where the writer knocked up 300 words only to end by copy + pasting a tweet?
If you're writing like you get paid per word, you need to reconsider what you're doing. If you can write an article that's 20 words long, write it, publish it and leave it alone. There's no point crackling lame jokes and clutching at vague ideas to flesh out your piece.
Using buzzwords and convoluted phrases like 'omni-channel ecosystem'. What does that mean? Surely you could sell more product if you gave a definition, or made it understandable without a Masters of Bullshit.
After a bit of Googling, I'm still unsure what 'omni-channel ecosystem' means.
Sometimes you will need to do something your readers hate but you should do your best to limit how much you do it - after all, you want your work to be successful.
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