I'm a digital and inbound marketing consultant, so much of my job involves writing blog posts for my clients. It's not all I do and of course, when people ask I often give this elaborate answer around how I strategically implement marketing campaigns, generate content and research new marketing trends. Then I'm left with a blank stare and bring my explanation up to the 30,000 foot level: "I write content...mostly blog posts, but other stuff too."
For those of you that recently started blogs, congrats! People are quick to judge bloggers and deem it as a job that takes little skill and effort.
But you realize that it's not as easy as it looks and I imagine you're dealing with some unexpected challenges. Here are 4 most common mistakes that beginner bloggers make and how to correct them.
Mistake #1: Your Writing is Stiff
Blog writing is vastly different from those tedious research papers from college. Drop the fancy words, tell a joke or a story--make your blog and writing relatable and entertaining.
Solution: Be Conversational
Try writing like you talk. Say what you want to write aloud using a dictation app and then cleaning up the writing in the editing phase. It'll feel silly initially, but the more you flex your writing muscle, the better you'll get. It's ok to be conversational because people want to be reassured that they're doing business with a person, not a robot.
Let's all make a pact now to move on from the boring business babble.
Mistake #2: Your Topics are Too Broad
When people first start blogging, they tend to focus on big box topics like:
- "Email Marketing Best Practices"
- "How to Make Money as a Solopreneur"
- "Everything You Need to get Everything You Want"
There are so many nuances in each of these topics! So instead you've got to get specific.
Solution: Be Specific
Hubspot wrote a fabulous article about how choose a topic. I'll wait here while you jump to their page to give it a read...
Back? You know that once you've picked a topic, you need to narrow down your angle with a "working title." Once you've nailed down both of these things, it will be so much easier to begin writing. Plus, determining your angle will help keep your writing focused.
Mistake #3: You're Not Editing Your Work
Everyone. Must. Edit. I'm sure it sounded stunning in your brain as you were dumping your stream-of-conscious ideas onto the page, but nope! Not everything is great to read after the first pass.
Solution: Be Honest and Edit
Every writer, no matter their experience, needs to edit their work. I would encourage you to take 30 minutes to fix typos, edit run-on sentences and improve the general flow of your pieces.
If you need a checklist to help remember all the crucial elements, Grammar Girl has got you covered!
Mistake #4: You Focus on Perfection
News flash: your blog post will never be perfect. Ever.
There will always be more images, wittier jokes or additional edits that can be made. But the best writers also know when to stop editing and just hit publish.
Solution: Be Good and Hit Send
While you would never want to publish a post with factual inaccuracies or grammatical errors, a missed comma won't affect the number of leads generated. After all, there is a point in which seeking perfection has diminishing returns.
Besides, if you or a reader finds an error, all you have to do is update the post. No biggie!--because perfect is the enemy of good.
If you're new to blogging and find yourself making some of these same mistakes, don't be too hard on yourself. Follow these suggestions and you'll be well on your way to becoming an experienced writer and blogger!
Got specific questions about blogging? Please leave a comment below and we'll get back to you. Throughout the month of September, we'll be focusing on "Back to Blogging" basics and related topics.