Are You Making These Content Mistakes?

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Posted by: Jennifer Horowitz

Content MistakesContent is the lifeblood of your online marketing campaigns.  You are writing Blogs, articles, web content, sales content, ads, tweets, Facebook posts newsletters etc.

Ensuring you put the best possible content out there is important.  So here are some very common mistakes we see and some advice on how to avoid them.

Bad Spelling/Grammar: Make sure you edit your work.  I’m guilty of this one myself.  I think in spurts and when the content is flowing I don’t want to stop to correct errors.  That’s OK.  Go with the flow.  But be sure to edit when you are done; and if you are like me and don’t catch your own errors, get outside help.

NOTE: In an attempt to satisfy everyone that will now be scrutinizing my work to see if I am following my own advice, I’d left some errors in here.  See if you can find them.  🙂  LOL

Size Matters – When It Comes To Content: You don’t want to give too much but you definitely don’t want to give too little either – that just blows your credibility and makes it look like you are all smoke and mirrors with no real value.  Just like Goldilocks, you have to find the one that is just right.  So aim for offering enough value that you actually help people, without pouring out every little gem your brain has.

Over-using Your Content: You want to use your social media to drive traffic to your content BUT you don’t want to post the original content in a zillion different places.  Post it on your site and once it’s been indexed, put it on quality article directories (with slight tweaks and variations to keep it fresh).

Feather Boas: There is an endless supply of content online – much of it boring, stilted, regurgitated and of little value.  Dress yours up.  Don’t be afraid to show some personality.  Use analogies.  Share stories and insights and opinions.  Make jokes.  Be controversial.  Have fun with it.  Make people feel like they are talking to the real you and not just hearing some corporate fodder that you have to spit out.  Don’t be afraid to look foolish.  (So many of my attempted jokes have flopped – but it’s OK because they got people responding and engaged!)

Always Think Optimization: The spiders are going to be crawling your content so always try to work some great phrases in there for SEO.
Be Current: If there is news in the world that you can relate to your content, go for it.  Everyone loves a good pop culture or news reference to make a point.  Show people your content is new and fresh and current.

Be Loud & Proud: Don’t forget to include a strong About The Author on articles you submit.  Make sure there is no question that you wrote the content and make sure they know who you are, what you offer and how they can reach you.  Offer value in the body and scream your marketing message in the bio!

Short & Sweet (Just Like Me!): Since I’m just under 5 feet, I’m a fan of being short. 🙂 Remember to keep your sentences and paragraphs short and sweet – too much text lumped together is intimidating and isn’t skim friendly.

Headlines and Sub-Heads Are Your Friend: Make strong points and guide your reader through your piece by using compelling headlines and sub-heads.  It breaks up the text and also gives compelling peeks at the content covered when someone skims before they commit to actually reading the content.

Pictures Are Worth A Thousand Words: While the key messages will be delivered in your content, you should also use imagery to jazz things up and help make a point.

Avoid Jargon: Most people think industry jargon makes them sound smart but more often than not, it just confuses readers.  Remember KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid).  It’s one of the best copywriting rules.

Format, Layout and Visual Presentation Are Key: If someone takes one look at your content and decides it’s too overwhelming it doesn’t matter if it’s the best content ever written, no one will read it.  Be sure you format with plenty of white space, bullet lists, bolding etc.  It helps you highlight key points and it also ensures the page looks pleasing to the eye.

Comments (12)

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    Bhushan Reply

    Grammar is surely a big matter here.I think if the vocabulary is big here then it can do very good work here. A simple but smart work perform like coffee at evening.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:07 am
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    Bonnie Reply

    Short and sweet…I like that Jenn. Yes…you may be short but you are sweet. And good things come in small packages! And I agree…content is so important. But I like the point of including a picture as well. A great picture can help tie in the visual, as we are a visual society. And just like short and sweet…a picture is worth a thousand words.

    Thanks for the wonderful info!

    October 4, 2012 at 8:25 am
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    doug_eike Reply

    You’re right about the length of posts–they should be long enough to give value and short enough to avoid boredom. I’ve found that giving value is difficult in less than about 800 words. I shoot for around 1200 words per article. Of course, if your blog includes snippets of information in frequent posts, fewers words would be fine. Thanks for the insights!

    October 4, 2012 at 9:52 am
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    Ricky Shah Reply

    Post length and content size does matter a lot. Even, I also make sure that I post around 800-900 words article whenever possible. Using sayings, idioms adds more value to the content, but is not possible to stuff it in each and every article.

    October 5, 2012 at 1:38 am
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    Suchismita pai Reply

    Jargon. I find that it is becoming increasingly more common everywhere. Most often though, it sounds impressive, but does not say much. Also people who use short-forms and acronyms do not realize that not everyone knows these. So keeping it simple and meaningful is a great idea.

    October 5, 2012 at 7:28 am
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    Aditya Reply

    Keeping the content short and simple is the way out of the dark.One can lead to top with the simple content as everyone can understand it,using some acronyms can make it difficult for some.And having an eye catchy title can make the content more interesting to read on.

    October 9, 2012 at 2:36 am
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    Glenn Reply

    Nice work Jennifer,

    The sentence length is one of the best ways to ensure that your content is easy to read. It’s an area that I have to constantly focus on.

    Thanks for sharing,

    October 26, 2012 at 1:23 am
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    Andrew Reply

    Great post Jennifer ,

    As a freelance web writer, these are great points to remember. Keep up the interesting posts! Here are a few other points to remember: http://www.andrewthewriter.com/web-content-blunders-how-not-to-turn-off-your-audience/

    Andrew

    January 6, 2013 at 9:06 pm
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    John Romaine Reply

    “too much text lumped together is intimidating and isn’t skim friendly.”

    So true.

    There’s no easier way to lose a visitor than by having huge chunks of overwhelming text on the page.

    February 5, 2013 at 9:33 am
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    Lee Reply

    Hi Jennifer
    I have just started putting pictures in my posts and can’t understand why I haven’t done this from the start. As you say one picture is worth a whole bunch of words as a lot of people are just flicking through and not reading the whole post. Where I have been lacking though is with sub headings so for re iterating there importance.

    Thanks lee

    February 20, 2013 at 12:33 pm
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    Yogesh Reply

    Making spelling mistakes and using bad grammar impacts badly on visitors and your subscribers. Jeniffer you have come with an awesome article as we must know the mistakes so that we can avoid them. Thanks for sharing…

    May 11, 2013 at 2:41 am

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Are You Making These Content Mistakes?