To say that we’re in a state of content shock would be an understatement.
The term, coined by keynote speaker and social media expert Mark Schaefer, refers to the exponential publication of content compared against our stagnant and limited ability to consume it. Put another way, today there’s more content than ever, but we still have the same 24 hours a day to split up and make time for it. Our available time does not grow with this increase in content.
So what’s a content creator to do?
Sign Up for E-News
To be sure, low-quality content is a waste of time. If you can’t provide a unique perspective with value, don’t bother.
To figure out how to create quality content that accomplishes your specific goals, it helps to know what not to do
Here are the top 10 things most content creators do wrong when it comes to blogging:
#1: They Start Without a Clear Focus
If you start each blog writing session with a blank page, you’re doing it wrong.
Top content creators flesh out their ideas before they ever put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard).
Here are two ways you can log and marinate ideas before writing your next blog post:
- Create a process for capturing ideas before you need them. This process should incorporate tools you already use—unless you’re just getting started and are looking for recommendations. I use Evernote and Trello to capture and organize ideas as I get them.
- Create an outline before starting your first draft. An outline helps you structure your eventual final product without the pressure of perfection. Use the time you spend outlining to grab any statistics and quotes you’ll need to support your final piece so that your first draft doesn’t require the use of the internet (and can thus be distraction-free).
#2: They Worry About SEO to the Detriment of Their Human Reader
Content written for SEO is useless if it fails to account for the ultimate end-user: a human.
Although it may seem like you have to compromise; you don’t. With the right technique, there is a way to find balance—especially as Google’s algorithm gets more sophisticated.
Learn more about how to write for both humans and computers.
#3: They Don’t Think about SEO Until After Drafting an Article
One of the keys to bridging the gap between humans and computers is incorporating a target keyword (and semantic keywords) into your article naturally. It’s a lot harder to do this if you wait to do keyword research until after the article has been written. Instead, start your article already knowing what keywords you need to use.
Using a WordPress SEO plugin like Yoast ensures that you follow on-page SEO best practices as soon as you’ve decided on a keyword and start writing.
#4: They Use “I” More than “You
Most bloggers need to do a better job of putting themselves in the shoes of their target audience. Defining customer personas is one way to get in the right mindset but it doesn’t necessarily need to be this complicated.
The easiest way to make sure your blog has the right focus? Pay attention to how often you use words like “I” versus “you” in your writing. After all, if it’s all about you, what’s their reason for paying attention?
To dig deeper into what your target reader is interested in, use analytics tools (like Google Analytics) to dig through past content performance. Determine which topics have the most readers and best engagement (using metrics like time on page) and create more content like this.
#5: They Don’t Optimize for Social Sharing
It helps to be thinking about content promotion as you’re writing content so that you can highlight interesting stats, quotes, or takeaways that seem like social media gold.
Of course, the bigger crime is failing to optimize content for social sharing at all. When you publish a new blog post, you’ve really only done half the work (or less) to ensure it’s success. Use tools like Missinglettr and Social Warfare to help each piece reach further on social media.
The bare minimum should also include:
- A compelling meta title and meta description
- Click to Tweet callouts
- A call to action at the end to share the article, engage in the comments or get in touch with your business
#6: They’re Too Much in Their Own Heads to Ever Publish
For all the content that the general public has access to, there are plenty of articles that are technically completed but never published.
The beauty of running a blog? It’s not a newspaper, unchangeable once printed.
With blogging, you can always make changes later, as you find opportunities to improve your content. And you should update content frequently—it can help your Google rankings.
So just hit publish, already.
#7: They Exist in a Bubble
People may not be forthcoming about what they think unless you’re proactive about asking for their opinion. As you build a following, be sure to tap members for their opinions. You don’t necessarily know what people think about your content unless you ask them directly.
#8: They Don’t Have Measurable Goals
…Which usually also means that they don’t have a long-term plan. Without goals or plans, it’s hard to find purpose—which can eventually hurt your motivation and your ability to keep your blog going.
How do you know your blog is successful unless you’ve first defined your most important key performance indicators (KPIs)?
#9: Their Content Isn’t Unique
This is not to say that it’s copied—more so that it’s so similar to what’s already out there that it’s boring.
Here are a few ways to write something worth reading:
- Get controversial
- Share your opinion
- Take a new stance
- Challenge the status quo
#10. Their Formatting Hurts Readability
Whitespace, bullet points, and short paragraphs. Did you notice how I broke up this topic in a way that kept you reading and scrolling?
If you instead present readers with blocks of text, it won’t matter how good that text actually is. If someone feels frustrated with the reading experience, they will give up on it.
Final Thoughts: 10 Common Blogging Fails to Acknowledge and Avoid
With the right approach, your blog content can go from boring and unreadable to the type of marketing asset that accomplishes goals.
What would you add to this list of common failures by most content creators? Drop Janeene a note to [email protected]
Janeene High is the owner of Results Driven Marketing, a 100% women-owned business headquartered in Wynnewood, PA with an office in Philadelphia, PA. Janeene and her team have been helping customers increase qualified traffic to their websites by using the latest SEO strategies. If you or your business looking to be found by more people that need your services, contact RDM or give Janeene a call 215-393-8700.