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5 Writing Mistakes Almost Everyone Makes (And How You Can Avoid Them)

5 Common Writing Mistakes

Writing isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Even as a freelance content writer in the game for five plus years, I still have my off days.

While you certainly can’t always be perfect in your writing, the key to churning out professional copy is self-awareness. Recognizing when and where you’re making mistakes is the first step towards drool-worthy content.

Below, I’ve outlined a few of the most common mistakes that even professional writers make, and a few ways you can avoid repeating them.

#1. Failing to Edit Your Work

Before you say “duh, editing is writing rule number 1” ask yourself if what you’re doing is real editing or just proofreading.

An editor will go through your content and pick out grammatical errors, yes, but they will also add and remove information as they see fit. Take a similar approach.

Edit to make a positive change in your writing. Edit to engage and refine what you have to say. This goes way beyond red-marking spelling and grammar errors, and I would argue it’s more important.

#2. Not Researching the Topic

Say you sell jewelry and want to write a post about the most common types available. You might think you have enough knowledge in your noggin to come up with a killer blog without doing any research. And you’d be wrong.

Every single piece of content you create—particularly for your business website—should be well-researched. Information is constantly being updated, and what may be considered up-to-date information today might be irrelevant tomorrow.

Let go of your ego and do some research on the topic you’ve chosen. Pull together quotes from industry leaders and respected brands and include them in your content to build authority.

If you’re trying to boost traffic via SEO, do some research on your topics and titles to make sure they’ll target the right audience.

#3. Writing too Fast

Putting content, blog posts, or articles on your website just to have them there isn’t going to do you any good.

I constantly work with clients who want their content yesterday, simply because they don’t understand the importance of slowing down and creating valuable content for their audience. I don’t blame them. Google will quickly make you yesterday’s news if you fail to regularly post fresh content on your website.

Don’t get caught in the trap of pushing out blogs for the sake of having them. Instead, write slowly and simplify what you want to say. A well-written piece may take time to create, but it will serve your goals better in the long run.

#4. Not Thinking About Your Audience

If I were to ask you who your audience is right now, you’d probably say something like “Moms aged 25-40 looking for xyz” what you’re less likely to say is something like “a woman who works 6 days a week, is raising 2.5 kids, and is passionately into sports.”

My point is, demographics only go so far. As a writer, it’s your job to know exactly who you’re speaking to. What does their life look like right now? Are they struggling to keep food on the table? Do they want a way out of their financial troubles? Do they suffer from a higher than ideal body weight but are hopeful there is a way out?

Each piece of content you write should be targeted to a certain person, not to a generalized group of people. You should know that person like the back of your hand. When they get up, what social media sites they prefer, and what they like to eat are the kind of details you have to have if you want to create an effective content strategy.

#5. Not Creating an Outline for Your Article

This goes back to English class, but the rules remain the same for blog writing.

An outline keeps your thoughts in line as you begin to write, and it makes the process faster. Before your fingers hit the keyboard, you’ll know what you want to say if you have an outline in place.

Conclusion

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that your content doesn’t really matter. Not only is Google looking at it, so are your potential customers. Be cognizant of these mistakes and work tirelessly to avoid them in your writing.

As a freelance writer who specializes in web copy, I am constantly working to improve my writing. If you need relief from your company blog or could use some help writing content that sells, then drop me a line. I’ll happily help you create content that improves your website.

 

What’s a Writer Worth? —A Realistic Look at Copywriters

Succinct, original and well-written copy goes a long way towards improving your stance in Google’s search engine results page (SERP). A top ranking page is like the holy grail for small and large businesses alike. That coveted no. 1 spot brings traffic to your website like nothing else can, and gives you greater opportunities to make a sale.

The problem is, you probably don’t have time to put on makeup and wash your face in the morning, let alone sit down and churn out in-your-face content.

So what’s the solution? Many in my area turn to an Austin, Texas freelance writer to help them craft copy with a kick. But what is the real value of shucking out hundreds, if not thousands of dollars to an expert? How can you quantify their value?

The Changing of the Tides

In 2011, Google completely reinvented the world of copywriting. Writers and web owners had to rethink the way they crafted content as Google announced a software program called “Panda” that would penalize sites that had ‘thin’ content.

Flash forward 5 years, and we’ve gone through nearly 30 Panda updates, all of which have had a dramatic impact on how writers write and web owners view content.

Gone are the days of stuffing keywords into a blog post and getting somewhere on the first page of Google. Today, smart writers know there is much more involved in getting ranked than simply posting an article here and there.

That’s where you can start quantifying value, it starts with the knowledge that Panda exists and how to write copy that isn’t in conflict with these changes.

Your Customers Prefer It!

Nearly 70 percent of consumers report that customized content is vital for their purchasing decisions. Infographics and blog posts represent the vast majority of this customized content, and can only be effectively executed by a professional copywriter.

Over 80 percent of customers feel more positive about a brand after reading customized content as well.

Companies agree about the importance of well-written content, and with good reason. Enterprises that post a blog on their site at least 15 times a month get over five times the traffic than businesses that don’t.

Affordability

While copywriting rates vary, and are based on factors such as experience, type of content produced, and time spent to craft it, content marketing remains one of the more affordable marketing options.

Data reveals that content marketing costs 60 percent less than traditional marketing with three times the leads produced. That’s a convincing number for any business, but start-ups and small businesses reap the greatest rewards.

The Benefits of Hiring a Copywriter

Whether you’re looking for high quality SEO content, blog posts, Press Releases, or even infographics, hiring a copywriter can be the best thing you’ve ever done for your business. Companies that use a qualified and professional freelance writer can expect:

  • Improved Customer Engagement
  • Increased Brand Awareness
  • More Traffic
  • Better Conversion Rates
  • More Free Time!

While quantifying the exact ROI for a writer can be difficult, there is no doubt that hiring a professional to handle your content will bring tangible results.

If you’re in the market for a freelance writer in Austin, Texas, I’d love to hear from you. I work with small businesses and individuals to craft compelling copy that builds a relationship with readers. Contact me to learn more about how I can help you improve your online web presence.

Conversion Killers in Your Copy—3 Tips to Overcome Them

conversion killers, web copy, sales

Think back to the time when you bought your first car. You probably walked eagerly to the dealership and drooled at the mouth contemplating which car on the lot would be yours.

You knew what you wanted, but the question was, would you get it.

A dealer met you on the lot and said things like, “Oh, this is your first time buying a car, eh? Well, I’ll make sure you get exactly what you’re looking for.”

The only problem is, he didn’t.

In fact, he did exactly the opposite. He hooked you up with a Junker that your parents approved of but you couldn’t stand to drive. You knew right there and then that you would never trust another car salesman again.

While this is an extreme case, it shows what happens when you have a negative experience with someone in the sales industry.

And it happens to all of us. We lose trust, and build up resilience to the false claims and smooth talk that flows effortlessly from those who are clearly only in it for the money.

Unfortunately, this ‘resilience’ can translate into paranoia over time. The more negative experiences we have, the more distrustful we become.

Fear of Being Fooled

The fear of being fooled by a salesperson is very real indeed, and it can play a pivotal role in killing any chance of conversion for your business. Unfortunately, these conversion killers in web copy are more than prevalent in most small business websites.

You can make all kinds of claims, but the reality is if you can’t provide some sort of evidence, you aren’t likely to win people over. Your audience doesn’t want to be a fool, and they will play it safe by choosing not to make a purchase.

3 Tips to Fight Back Against Conversion Killers

Fortunately, there are ways to move people past their fears and distrust.

1. Provide High Value Content

The more powerful and understandable your content is, the better your chances are of converting.

Don’t just post one article that contains high value content and leave it at that. Be consistent, and fill your website with valuable information that persuades your readers to take action. You may even need to hire a professional writer to keep up with the web copy on your site. Do what it takes to build credibility. It’s an investment that will pay off.

2. Build Trust

Most people mistakenly put design above content when building a website. However, your web copy has a powerful influence on your audience.

Make sure to add sections where your picture is clearly visible, where your contact information is available, and place plenty of reasonable calls-to-action. You can also add a FAQ section where you respond in your own words to questions and concerns your customers might have.

The goal is to build trust by letting people know you are a real person.

3. Put Your Customers First and Demonstrate Value

Proving you are trustworthy isn’t easy, but if you put your customer’s needs front and center, you have a better chance of succeeding.

Focus on what they want to know when they arrive at your website. Ask yourself what type of web copy you need to touch their hearts. Demonstrate the value you offer through consistency and commitment, and you’ll defeat conversion killers once and for all.

If you’ve scanned through plenty of sites looking for the best Austin writers for your web copy, I understand the struggle. I help small businesses achieve high value content that converts through powerful blog posts, articles, and of course web copy. I’d love to chat with you about how to improve your sales. Contact me here and we can start brainstorming on how to expand your website’s conversions!

How to Effectively Engage Users Through Written Content

written content Let’s face it, you’re only reading this sentence right now after you scanned through the page to decide if it was worth reading. Am I right?

Well, according to the Nielsen Norman Group I am.

Their research shows that people rarely read every word on the page. There is simply too much information on the web to sort through, and most people stop before they start.

I don’t blame them. I’m guilty of doing the same.

For those of us who own a website and publish content, the question remains, however. What do we need to do to get people to read what we’re writing? Fortunately, the Nielsen Norman Group asked that question for us, and came up with a few techniques we all can use to increase user engagement and lower bounce rates.

Highlight Your Keywords

According to Nielsen, highlighting your keywords is an effective way to grab user’s attention and give them a reason to read your text. You can do this by either using hypertext or by incorporating typeface variations.

Create Meaningful Sub-Headings

Don’t write your sub-headings just for SEO sake. Instead, attach meaning to them and make sure they relate to the paragraph that follows.

Use Bulleted Lists!

Nothing grabs the attention quite like a well-written bulleted list. Perfect for conveying succinct information and powerful enough to engage and inform, bulleted lists are a lifesaver for website owners who have trouble ‘connecting’ with their audience.

Get to the Point

Concise, meaningful, and easy to read content is critical for gaining an audience. Nielsen found that concise, well-written, scannable, and objective copy excels up to 124% better than “fluff” copy. So, get to the point, but be objective without making your text boring to read for the best results.

Be Credible

Hyperlinks to original content and citations for your resources are important to users. If your copy is well written and supported by facts you should have no problem gaining a following. Avoid copy-pasted articles and make sure you either are an authority in your niche or have the links to back up your thoughts.

Click here to read the full results of Nielsen’s findings and see how they figured all this stuff out, and then compare your website to their conclusions. If you discover holes in your web copy, shoot me a message and let me help make your content readable.

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