Which of These 10 Horrible Blogging Mistakes Are You Making?

blogger

You’ve been writing your blog for a while now, and working hard to create content that will catapult your business to new heights and get you noticed by the world. Just like those experts suggested.

Yet you’re still not seeing the results you expected.

Your audience and your business haven’t grown.

You haven’t seen a sudden spike in social media shares.

Your follower count on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram haven’t suddenly increased.

Your email box hasn’t become a flurry of activity, your online courses haven’t suddenly sold out and you haven’t yet grown your website and blog to a level that you’re happy with.

So what went wrong?

Are you just completely rubbish at writing and would be better off going back to your old job?

Are the experts wrong and blogging isn’t as good as it claims? Or do you need some kind of crazily talented brain to make blogging work for your business and help grow your income?

To answer these in turn: I doubt it. No. And definitely not. 🙂

Absolutely everyone can use blogging to help solve their readers’ problems, add extra value to their clients, boost their public visibility and move forward in their goals to make money from their passion. And it can be quite simple, once you know how.

In this post, I’m going to help you avoid making those horrible blogging mistakes that jeopardise your chances of success and grow a blog that you can be proud of.

1.  Forgetting to listen to your audience

When you write your blog post, your mission is to solve your clients’ needs. But you know that already, don’t you?

The trouble is, it’s far too easy to slip into writing about stuff that you think your audience wants or needs to know. Or perhaps worst of all, just create anything that comes to the top of your head, simply to fill up the space. It’s a big no-no, even if you make this mistake completely unintentionally.

Because all your hard work goes to waste and the result of all your hard work is simply that horrible deafening silence.

A lack of shares. An absence of comments. Nada.

So how come these posts don’t get you the results you deserve?

It’s because you didn’t do your research before you created the post.

You didn’t get your audience’s ‘pain point’.

You didn’t really know what they are desperate to find out about or how they need your help, support and guidance to help you solve their problems.

You didn’t dive into those keywords, get feedback from your existing clients, or simply ask what problems they’re suffering from before you went ahead and created your content.

But don’t worry- this is a very fixable problem, but you need to do your homework.

Next time you write a post, find out this information, use the clues and resources you have to solve real problems that your audience and clients are actually suffering from and use them to fuel your awesome content.

2.  Ranting

Your blog post is a place for you to share your wisdom, solve your audience’s problems, position yourself as an expert in your field, grow your business and make a difference to the world.

It’s not a platform from which you can rant and rave and complain about every problem in the world, every person you hate and throw a pile of negativity out there.

So please keep your blog posts a positive place filled with guidance and love. If you really have issues with something, there are other healthier ways to express this dissatisfaction. Start writing a journal. Start another blog that you can use to rant. Direct your energies somewhere else.

If you don’t do that you stand a high chance of causing offence, creating a bad impression, losing your audience and ultimately causing your business to suffer too. Just don’t do it!

3.  Plagiarism

plagiarism

Plagiarism is a big fancy word that means copying other people’s work.

Never, ever, EVER copy other people’s work. EVER.

Period.

Even those tiny sentences or short paragraphs that you’re just borrowing to use for your blog post. Even if you change a couple of words here and there and shift the sentences around so it looks better.

It’s stealing someone else’s creative work and it sucks. Have I made my point here? Good. 😊

4.  Having big, long, boring chunks of text

If you want your audience to take the time to read your posts, to listen to your guidance and to engage with what you’ve written, you need to make your post as reader-friendly as possible.

This is really easy to do. Just include plenty of white space around what you’re writing. Slice up your words into smaller pieces that are easier to ‘hold’ and easier to digest.

Write short paragraphs with just a sentence or two in them. Hell, write just a word or two in some paragraphs if it helps you to get your point across.

Don’t worry- the writing police aren’t going to throw you into jail. You’re not writing a book, a magazine or an academic text. You’re free to do as you please.

5.  Writing too much jargon

confusion

It’s also vitally important that you speak to your audience in words that they understand.

Even if you’re an expert in your field and know everything about the ins and outs of the HPA (hypothalamic pituitary adrenal) axis or understand the microbiome of the gut perfectly, it’s unlikely to mean anything to a regular person who doesn’t work in your field.

Of course, they might be a pro-active type of person and take the time to Google that word and expand their knowledge or figure the whole thing out.

But either way, unless you break things down and use more everyday language to communicate your ideas, you’ll completely lose them.

We’ve all had that horrible experience when you start talking to someone and the conversation flows onto that topic that they’re extremely passionate about. Before you know it, they’ve started spewing everything they know; complicated jargon and information that you’ve never heard of before and probably don’t understand either.

And we all know what happens. You switch off, even if you really don’t mean to.

You keep nodding along, trying to be polite and acting like you understand when inside you’re desperate for the conversation to be over.

Don’t be that person.

Don’t tell them about the brain-gut axis, tell them about the way their brain works with their gut to keep them healthy.

Don’t refer to the HPA axis- tell them that their hormones work in balance to keep them healthy.

Break it down for them, use words they’ll be familiar with and help them to understand easily.

6.  Forgetting to include a CTA (call to action)

Every single blog post you create (or newsletter or social media post, for that matter!) needs to contain a CTA.

This allows the person who has read and enjoyed your post to get even more value from what they read.

It will give them easier access to your future blog posts, podcasts, newsletter and other content and further support. It will empower them to make the life changes they’re looking for.

They will be the first to know if you launch any online programmes, host any webinars or even offer face-to-face retreats or coaching and can grab a spot before they sell out.

And of course, you get to build your audience and community, develop your business and make a living from what you love.

Now, you might have noticed how I started by talking about how including a CTA benefits your audience before I mentioned how it benefits your business. This was for a very good reason.

It’s because this is how you have to think about your marketing.

You can’t fall into the trap of believing that it’s spammy or too salesy or even taking advantage when you add a call-to-action or mention your products or service. You’re not.

You’re not forcing anyone to sign up (people are too clever for that, even if you were completely unscrupulous and tried!). You’re offering extra value to your clients and giving the world a greater chance of accessing your wisdom, experience and expertise.

Your CTA doesn’t need to be long or fancy. You can just add something like this at the bottom of your blog post:

“Want to know more about working with essential oils? Check out my Essential Oils Therapist course by clicking here.”

Then add a link to the correct content and you’ve done it.

7.  Not writing blog posts consistently enough

writing a blog post

The trouble with Google is that they’re like a grumpy relative who wants you to call on a regular basis just so they know that you’re OK.

It’s no good calling one week on a Thursday at tea time then leaving it for a couple of weeks and calling on a Sunday morning at 8am then phoning the next day, then leaving it for a week or so again.

It’s irregular. It’s inconsistent. And it looks like you don’t care.

The same goes for Google.

Google needs to know you care. It needs to know you’re serious about producing high-quality content that will benefit your audience. And just like that grumpy relative, it will reward you finely for making the effort (but there probably won’t be any homemade fruitcake involved, sorry!)

The way you keep Google happy is simple. You post on a regular basis.

Although I’d recommend that you publish a keyword-rich blog post on your website at least once per week, you don’t have to do it this often.

If you know that your schedule is super-busy and you can only manage to post once a fortnight or even once a month, then that’s OK too. It’s not ideal, but it’s OK.

The key is to post it on the same day at the same time.

Remember, keep that grumpy relative happy.

8.  Not adding social media sharing options

You could triple your audience and grow your business massively if you simply add social media sharing buttons to your website.

Yes, it’s that simple.

You’re making it much easier for your audience to share what they love with friends and family by including these buttons, so they’re much more likely to do so.

Otherwise, even if they do think their Great Aunt Jessie would benefit from reading your post, it will take an extra effort to get it to her, so the idea might just fade and they won’t bother at all.

Something similar happened to me earlier today on my morning run.

I was enjoying a fantastic podcast and thinking about how much a friend of mine would love to hear the very interesting discussion that was going on.  So when I arrived back home, I just clicked on the ‘share’ button on the podcast app and he was listening to it within minutes. Brilliant! Extra love for my friend and an extra listener for the podcast.

It’s usually very easy to add social share buttons to your website if you don’t already have something there via a plugin. If you’re not sure how to do this, speak to your website technician or techy friend.

9.  Not including images

photograph

Gone are the days when you’d call up a website (on dial-up?) and gasp as a text-only article magically appeared on your screen.

These days, the internet is just as much about high-quality images, both photographs and video, as the words themselves.

So, make sure you’re including at least one relevant, high-quality image with every blog post you create.

Images help break your text up into smaller chunks and add more white space (see point 4 above). They make the blog post more visually appealing. They help illustrate your point and they also help the reader connect better with the content of your blog post.

10. Not including hyperlinks

Hyperlinks provide a great opportunity to lead your audience onto more useful information, help solve their problems and in turn help build your business.

But that’s not their only superpower. Google will actually pay you more attention and push you higher up the search results if you include hyperlinks in your blogs.

It’s always a good idea to include at least one link to a non-competitive authority site in your niche if you can, as well as including links to other useful and relevant blogs on your own website whenever you can.

Be careful though. Don’t go overboard with the links as there comes a certain point when they stop becoming useful and just look spammy. Remember those old websites in the 1990s and early 2000s? Yeah…you know what I mean.

Use at least one hyperlink, preferable about 3-4 if you can.

 

So, if you’ve just realised that you’re making these cardinal blogging sins, then it’s time to head to your blog and start fixing it!

With just a small amount of effort, you can transform the positive effect that your blog posts are having on your business, add extra value to your audience, build your brand, position yourself as an expert in your field and a whole lot more.

If you need help figuring out what you’re doing wrong and want to use blogging to help your crush your business goals and earn a living from your passion, please reach out and contact me. I’d love to work my magic on your website.

Now it’s over to you. What is the biggest mistake you’ve made on your blog? Join the discussion in the comments below.

 

AUTHOR: CHARLOTTE WITTS

Charlotte Witts Copywriter

Charlotte Witts is a writer, editor and entrepreneur who specialises in health, wellness and environment topics. Hire her here or follow her on Facebook. 

horrible blogging mistakes

How to Write an Awesome Blog Post that Converts

write blog post

Yes, you really can write a great blog post for your wellness business.

Even if you’ve always considered yourself to be completely rubbish at writing. Even if the very thought of creating a blog post makes you want to throw in the towel on your business and join the rat race again.

Yep- blog posts can be THAT scary.

But there can be no avoiding it. You NEED to create useful content for your business. Writing strong, compelling blog posts are a brilliant way to do it.

So let me show you how you can create a great blog post for your business without breaking a sweat.

I’ll break it down into a step-by-step guide that will help you implement everything here quickly and easily, starting with a quick recap on why you should write those blog posts.

Why should you write blog posts for your business?

Read anything about digital marketing and you’ll be told that blog posts will simply help attract more customers and get them to buy.

And whilst that’s undoubtedly true, that’s only part of the story. It’s also far too heartless and shallow and could draw you into believing that your audience is just a number, not made up of real-life human beings.

[There’ll be none of that cut-throat, hard sell nonsense around here, thank you very much.]

Instead, writing blog posts will allow you to solve your audience’s problems in an easy format that they can refer to an unlimited number of times and use this information to benefit their lives. You don’t need to spend hours of your valuable time repeating yourself to help as many people as you can.

You can guide your audience, support them and help them as best you can without needing to be face to face too.

Ultimately, you can make a bigger difference in the world.

When you write, you’re also reassuring them that there are people in the world who understand the challenges that they’re facing.

That there is hope and you can make a difference. They’ll trust you.

You empower them to make the changes they need to overcome their health problems, transform their mind, body and spirit, achieve optimal health and start living their best ever lives.

Of course, all this means that they’re more likely to turn to you for extra help if needed, but that should never be the focus when you write your blog post.

You should always be thinking about your audience and making a difference in the world.

So now we’ve got that out of the way, let’s have a look at exactly how you can create a great blog post for your business, even if it’s not your greatest strength.

Here are the steps we’ll be taking:

Writing a Great Blog Post [Summary]

  1. Consider your blog post topic
  2. Make a decision
  3. Develop the takeaway
  4. Brainstorm
  5. Write the blog post outline
  6. Start writing
  7. Edit
  8. Add a CTA

Now let’s have a better look:

1. Consider what you want to write about

Yes, this is a pretty obvious thing to say.

But you’d be surprised to hear how many people don’t really know what they want to share in their blog posts. They just know that they need to help their audience somehow and that it’s good for business. When it comes to inspiration, they feel really stuck.

That’s why we’re first going to take some time thinking about what to write.

Now, you shouldn’t have to pluck out of thin air to get ideas for your blog posts (unless you’re feeling particularly inspired!) If you’ve done your homework when it comes to writing awesome blog posts and marketing your wellness business, you should have a good idea of what you need to cover.

Here’s a recap:

  1. Check your blog post ideas spreadsheet

Hopefully, you already have a spreadsheet overflowing with ideas that you’ve been adding to as and when you get ideas, so you can easily refer to this when deciding what to write about.

[Contact me if you need help doing this]
  1. Which of your audience’s problems could you solve?

Your next consideration should always be your audience. What problems have they been sharing with you lately? What are their biggest struggles? How could you solve these problems with your blog post?

  1. Which keywords should you include?

Next, have a look at those long tail keywords you’ve researched.

If you haven’t done that yet, have a look at this blog post that will guide you through the process.

Remember that these are words that you know your audience is already searching for, so if you base your blog post around these, you’ll know they’ll be appreciated.

  1. Are there any special events happening soon?

It’s also worth having a quick look to see if there are any special events happening soon that relate to your target niche.

For example, if you’re a yoga teacher, you might want to base a blog post around International Day of Yoga 2019 (which happens on Friday 21st June, if you’re interested).

Or if you’re working as a women’s health coach, you’ll probably want to create something around International Women’s Day.

You get the idea. 🙂

  1. What about trends within the target niche?

Also think about any trends within your industry that are worth mentioning.

Perhaps everywhere you turn, people are excitedly talking about smart jewellery, or fasting for health or green smoothies or whatever.

You can give your point of view on these topics and help your audience understand if and how these things can benefit them too.

2. Decide on your blog post topic

decide your blog post title

Once you’ve gathered together all your ideas, it’s time to make a decision.

Which of these will you write your blog post about?

It’s super important that you get really specific and narrow down your ideas as much as possible at this stage.

Because, as tempting as it is to share all of your knowledge and expertise with your audience and solve all of their problems in one fell swoop, you’ll do nothing of the kind if do this.

You’ll only overwhelm them with information if you do this and your blog post is less likely to solve their problems and give them the answers they were looking for.

Keep it short and sweet.

To illustrate what I mean, let’s say you’ve decided to write a blog post about hot flushes and the menopause.

You can’t just give it the title ‘Hot Flushes and the Menopause’ because it isn’t specific enough, it won’t appeal to your audience, nor will the title give Google cause to send you tons of website traffic!

Instead, be more focused.

Why not write, ‘The 5 Easiest Ways to Cope with Hot Flushes at the Menopause’? Or ‘What Your Hot Flushes Say About Your Hormone Balance’?

Again, if you need more help with this part, reach out and send me an email and we can figure it out together.

3. Develop the ‘takeaway’

gift

To help you stay focused and write an even better blog post that converts, it’s really important to remember why you’re writing.

What was the point of writing this post? How do you want to help solve your readers’ problems? What difference did you want to make to their lives?

If you’ve worked through the previous steps properly, this part of the blog writing process should be very straightforward and take just a second or two. You should know what you’re doing and know how you want to help.

Here are a few examples to explain what I mean:

  • You want your reader to understand how stress affects their fertility
  • You want your reader to understand which nutrients are vital to consider on a vegan diet
  • You want your reader to understand how running can help them boost their mood and overcome depression

Now write this sentence down somewhere very obvious where you can refer to it often. Grab a large piece of paper and a pen, write down the ‘takeaway’ and display it somewhere obvious where you can refer to it often.

4. Brainstorm!

write

Now comes the fun bit- thinking about what information you’re going to share in your brilliant blog post.

Grab a piece of paper (or a Google Doc) and write down as much information as you can around your chosen blog topic.

Ask yourself:

  • What do my readers need to know about this topic?
  • What would really help them solve their problems?
  • Are there any myths that I should clear up?

You can use the takeaway(s) that you developed earlier to kickstart your thought process and make the whole thing much easier for you.

If this sounds too much like hard work, don’t be afraid to make an event of it.

Sit back somewhere comfy, put on your favourite music, grab yourself a glass of your favourite beverage and enjoy the process if you can.

You know soooo much, so share it with your audience!

Don’t be afraid to record your thoughts if you’ve never been a fan of writing.

Whilst doing this can make it harder to organise your thoughts later, it often helps you to get into a flow and get those ideas out of your head and onto a page.

Bear in mind that you don’t have to do this all at once, either.

If you get frustrated, you hit a wall and that stream of ideas runs dry, take a break. Get away from your computer and do something else. Go walk the dog. Hang out with your kids. Make yourself a coffee.

You’ll feel much fresher when you come back.

5. Write a blog outline

outline your blog

Once you’ve brainstormed your ideas for your blog post and carefully considered what you need to include, it’s time to get the foundations of your blog post built.

We do this by creating a blog outline.

Many people do their best to avoid creating a blog outline because they think it somehow limits their creativity or that it’s simply boring. They’d just prefer to sit down in front of a blank document and get writing.

Now, if that works for you then congratulations! Make the most of that skill!

But for most of us, the blank page is a scary thing that makes our brains freeze up, our self-editing monsters go into overdrive and our internal blog GPS go haywire.

We need to create a blog post outline because it helps remind our subconscious brain that we do know what we’re doing. We do know what we’re talking about and we can write this blog post because we’ve already written an outline.

Blog outlines also help you stick to the core nuggets of information you want to share with your audience, instead of going off on a tangent and getting lost. (BTW- when you’re passionate about your niche topic, that’s 100% normal!)

You’ll also help create that oh-so-special blog post gold- FLOW!

‘Flow’ is what helps carry your reader along through your post. It’s what helps them understand exactly what you’re trying to share. It’s what helps them feel like they’re having a conversation with you that flows naturally from idea to idea. It’s what makes your blog content awesome!

So here’s how to create your outline:

  1. Write a working title

Go back to your original blog post idea.

What did you want to write about? What is your audience’s ‘takeaway’?

Use this to create a working title for your blog post. You can (and should) tinker with this later to make it even better, but for now, let’s just get something written down.

Let’s use that ‘Hot Flushes and the Menopause’ idea as our example.

  1. Break it down into subtopics

Consider how you could break your main idea into subtopics or sections. For example, if we use the menopause example, this could be:

  • What are the symptoms of hot flushes?
  • What causes hot flushes?
  • How can you control your hot flushes naturally?
  1. Add your knowledge and wisdom

Under each of these points, fill in some of the ideas you came up with when you were brainstorming earlier. Aim for at least 3 under each subtopic.

For example, you could say that you can control your hot flushes by:

  • Eating a vegan diet that is high in healthy fats
  • Doing weight training at least three times per week
  • Getting better sleep

Again, make sure you’re cutting ideas that don’t belong here. Just because you thought of them earlier in the brainstorming session doesn’t mean they should be included. You can always keep them for another time.

Remember, this is meant to be a rough guide. You don’t need to write the entire thing at this stage.

I often find that it helps to write an outline, then have a short-medium break and think about something completely different for a bit.

Then when I return to the outline, I can often think of more important facts to share with my audience.

Remember to include space at the top of your blog post outline to include a short introduction and a short space at the end to add your conclusion and your call to action. (CTA)

6. Start writing

writing women

Ready? Get set? GO!

Now is the time to start elaborating on your notes and turn them into a full blog post!

I recommend that you don’t start trying to write your introduction first unless you’re feeling particularly inspired. This can often be tricky and it can lead you straight into the arms of writer’s block and feeling like you’re never going to write that post!

Instead, start at the first subtopic or even the second if it helps you to get creating that blog post.

The key is to get into the flow of writing without trying to correct yourself or edit your thoughts as you’re writing.

Completely ignore those little wiggly red or blue lines that pop out on Google docs or on Microsoft Word (or other word processing programme for that matter) as much as you possibly can.

We’ll be going back and correcting them next so don’t you worry!

If your a technophobe or you just prefer writing by hand you can also create your blog posts just like you did in high school- with a pad of paper and a regular pen. What matters is that you relax and allow your thoughts to flow.

When you’ve written everything you want to say, make sure you add that introduction and conclusion then breathe a big sigh of relief. 🙂

7. Edit!

scissors

Nearly there! Now you need to go through and edit your work carefully before you upload it and/or hit publish.

I recommend that you start by reading your blog post sloooooowly, paying close attention to every single word.

(Pro tip: Reading it out loud can really help spot those mistakes!)

Don’t skim. Don’t allow your mind to wander. Focus on reading.

Correct any mistakes you come across such typos or grammatical errors and make any improvements that you feel it needs.

You can also use the built-in spellcheck or an app like Grammarly to check your work.

But bear in mind that they might not use the correct version of English for your audience and can often point out errors that aren’t there. Nevertheless, they can be a useful tool if used wisely!

You can also add extra bits of information to your blog or move things around if you really need too.

But remember that you can’t just go in and insert sentences willynilly (*Brit Eng= at random)

Everything needs to make sense and needs to fit into the flow of the whole text you’ve created. If you do decide to add anything new, you’ll need to go back through and re-edit your blog to make sure it fits perfectly where you’ve added it.

Once you’ve worked through once, read through again, just in case. It’s surprising how easily mistakes can slip through the net!

8. Add a call-to-action

Let’s face it-your blog post has a job to do.

It’s there to solve your readers’ problems, yes.

But it’s also there to help you grow your wellness business, foster a strong community and ultimately, help you earn a living from doing what you love.

That’s why you need to think about what you want your audience to do once they’ve read your blog post.

You don’t want them to click away and forget all about you, so what action would you like them to take?

If they’ve reached the end of the post, they’re almost certainly engaged and interested in what you’ve been talking about. You’ve given them information that they’ve found useful or interesting and they will probably be receptive to any extra resources that you can offer them to continue to solve their problems or become part of your community.

This is when your free lead magnet comes in very handy. You can just mention your free download, or email series or consultation, encourage them to sign up and link it in for easy access.

You can also link to your social media pages and tell them to like you on Facebook or follow you on Instagram or Pinterest. (Make sure you include those links at the bottom of your post.)

Alternatively, you could ask them to share their thoughts in the comments section below your blog post. Whilst commenting isn’t as common as it used to be, it’s still a great way to engage with your audience and kickstart your community.

Whatever you do, make sure you’re prompting them to do something. Otherwise you’ll be wasting an easy opportunity to build your business.

 

As you can see, there are many steps that you’ll need to take if you want to create an awesome blog post, but I guarantee they’re worth the effort.

  • You’ll include exactly the right information that will solve your reader’s problems.
  • You’ll create a focused blog which flows beautifully and guides your reader from beginning to the end. You’ll better connect with your audience and show them that you care.
  • You’ll help Google to notice you.
  • And you’ll also get better results from your efforts and build your passion business.

Now I want to hear from you. What part of creating blog posts do you HATE the most? How do you get through? Let me know in the comments below.

 

AUTHOR: CHARLOTTE WITTS

Charlotte Witts Copywriter

Charlotte Witts is a writer, editor and entrepreneur who specialises in health, wellness and environment topics. Hire her here or follow her on Facebook. 

 

How to Write Better Content for Your Business

how to eliminate mistakes in your writing

Have you ever taken hours trying to write content for your business, only to see it fall flat on its face? 

No fanfare, no shares, nothing going viral.

Just silence and that horrible feeling in your stomach that tells you you’ve wasted your time.

Again.

You can practically hear those crickets chirping away in the background as you check your statistics ‘just one more time’ to see if anyone gives a hoot about the content that you’ve created.

Worse still, your closest competitor might get in touch to give you the heads up about that horrible glaring mistake in the content you’ve created…

Nothing spells disaster for your brand image and your business overall more than poor quality content like this. 

Content riddled with typos, grammatical mistakes and misspelt words. Content without shares, likes or comments.

Content that’s so hard to read and understand that your ideal client simply clicks away and goes to find another expert in your niche. (Because you certainly don’t appear to be one.)

If you’re like most entrepreneurs, at this point you start asking yourself stuff like;

“Why am I even bothering to create this stuff if no one notices?”

What do they all know that I don’t?”

And… “Is my business doomed to failure before it’s even taken its first step??”

 

So, let me reassure you that your business almost certainly isn’t about to crumble before your eyes. And you definitely are on the right track when you create that content.

But perhaps you need to give your strategy a tweak or two.

That’s why I’ve created this fab guide: to help simplify the content creation process and help you hit that publish button with confidence.

Follow my tips, and you won’t just create better content for your business.

You’ll also iron out those irritating mistakes, provide extra value to your clients, help those search engines to notice you more easily, and to start growing your business beyond your wildest dreams. I’ve tried to get into detail with each point, without getting you completely overwhelmed with details.

Then finished up with a checklist that you can work through each time you create your content to transform it from embarrassing to WOW!

Download the free printable worksheet here.

So now we’ve got the basics done, let’s get on with the show!

1. Check for typos, misspellings and other small mistakes

There’s nothing worse for your brand image than publishing work that contains tons of spelling mistakes, typos and other words that just shouldn’t be there.

Yes, we all make these tiny mistakes from time to time (yep, even me!), but they absolutely can’t let them slip through.

When your audience reads them they can’t help thinking that:

1. You just rushed through creating this content and don’t really care about solving their problems

2. You aren’t well educated and so probably aren’t someone that they can trust to solve their problem

3. That you don’t really know your stuff when it comes to your unique niche.

The fact that you DO care about solving their problems, that you might hold a degree from a prestigious university and you really ARE an expert in your field doesn’t really matter if you get this wrong.

spot writing mistakes

Here’s what you should do:

  • Slowly and carefully read through your text to check for mistakes.
  • Watch for similar words. Pay close attention to words like ‘their’, ‘they’re’ and ‘there’; ‘to’, ‘too’ and ‘two’; ‘cite’, ‘sight’ and ‘site’. They might sound the same but they have a very different meaning. (They’re called homophones, in case you’re interested!) If you’re not sure which is the right version, check in the dictionary or hire yourself a proofreader/editor.
  • Use a spellchecker. Ok, so those spellcheck tools and sites definitely aren’t foolproof- far from it. But they can be a useful handy tool that will help you spot and iron out the most glaring of your mistakes so your content is closer to flawless. Start with the free Microsoft Word spell checker function, then consider using Grammarly to help point out anything you missed. Again, don’t rely too much on these as they aren’t always right.
  • Double check your apostrophes. Apostrophes are those little punctuation marks that look like this: [‘] You use them in sentences like ‘Charlotte’s writing is awesome’ (;)) or ‘It’s a lovely day for a trail run’. They either show possession (ie. That the thing you’re talking about belongs to someone) or indicate that you’ve missed out a few letters. Handy, right? But get them wrong and you’ll completely change the meaning of your sentence and potentially harm your brand image too. Again, software like Grammarly should point most of these out for you, but also keep your eyes peeled for the following:
    • Its vs It’s
    • Wrong use of the possessive apostrophe: such as ‘Do you have any CD’s that I can listen to?’ ‘I love being a child of the 1990’s.‘ or ‘My healthy homemade pizza’s are the best in the world!’

2. Check Your Grammar

Again, you need to make sure that you’ve created your content in a way that actually makes sense in English.

Without a doubt, the best way to do this is to take time to read your text out loud, even if you’re in a busy cafe or coworking space (just whisper under your breath if you have to!)

This will force you to slooooow right down and pay really close attention to the words that are right in front of you. As you read through, you’ll start spotting those minor mistakes or things that just ‘don’t sound right’ in your head and be able to replace them with something that sounds much more natural and free from errors.

If you really don’t like the sound of that, you can also use the fab free ‘read aloud’ function you’ll find on most word processing software like Microsoft Word and Google Docs.

Of course, other tools like GrammarlyGinger, Grammarix and After the Deadline will also be a great help too. Don’t be afraid to use them!

 

3. Does your content make sense to your audience?

Yes, it sounds like a complete no-brainer. Ridiculously obvious.

But it’s easy to forget that your audience needs to understand what on earth you’re talking about. 

Your audience might not understand those more complicated words, let alone the jargon specific to your niche.

They might not know (or care) what blood sugar levels are.

Hearing the words ‘hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis’ might sound like double-dutch to them. All that complex, technical, medical or ‘woo-woo’ stuff might go right over their head and send them to sleep.

As they say, if you confuse them, you lose them.

You need to break it down.

Keep it simple.

Help your reader understand your message as best you can.

what do you mean?

Of course, that doesn’t mean you have to skip over those important facts. Your prospective clients probably need to know that info you’re sharing. Just make sure you’re explaining it to them as you would to a child aged between 8-12 years old to ensure they understand perfectly.

[If you want to check what age level you’re writing for, have a look at this free tool.]

4. Have you included a CTA?

Every piece of content needs to contain a strong CTA, or ‘call to action’ that will tell your reader exactly what you want them to do when they finish reading.

Every. Single. Piece.

If you’ve created a post for Facebook talking about how eating healthy and nutritious foods can help them rebalance their hormones, you need to tell your audience what step they need to take next. 

You see, humans tend to be lazy.

There’s just so much digital noise out there and we’ve got about a million other things to be thinking about and doing, that your video or post tends to slip far down our list of priorities.

Sure- what you’re saying or writing about might sound appealing to your audience at the time. But after your they’ve read or watched your offerings, they’ll likely forget that you ever existed. Sad, but true.

So make yourself memorable and add extra value by spelling out EXACTLY what you want them to do.

Do you want them to comment below?

• Share the post with their friends?
• Take a photo of themselves eating avocado with the hashtag #avocadoshealhormones?
• Download your awesome free audio recording which will coach them towards making healthier food choices?
• Or sign up for your incredible online retreat happening soon?

Tell them!

Make it simple. Make it obvious. Add that value.

Remember, you’ve created your content for a reason. Make it work hard!

 

5. Is your writing easy to read?

Did you know that you have just a fraction of a second to grab someone’s attention and encourage them to stick around for more?

If your blog posts, website copy, video or social media post looks too boring, confusing or simply hard work to digest your ideal audience will just walk away.

You need to make the experience awesome so they want to stick around. 

Think of it like this.

You’ve received an invitation to a party that sounds pretty good. Looks like you’ll meet a ton of fascinating people, enjoy plenty of laughter and indulge in some delicious food and drinks whilst you’re there.

So you mark the date on your calendar and look forward to attending.

But when you get there, you’re met by a grumpy, tired-looking old man who doesn’t have much to say. He just opens the door and lets you in.

It’s not looking much better inside. Not much like a party at all.

You’re in a large lecture hall with some professor on stage talking about something complicated that you don’t understand, and a room full of people falling asleep as this man drones on….and on….and on….

You just make your excuses and run away home, disappointed and annoyed. Because you didn’t expect this.

You wanted fun.

You wanted to be part of something. You wanted to be entertained. You wanted to learn something interesting that might benefit you.

You didn’t want to be bored to tears!

So when your ideal client turns up on your website or social media profile, it’s your job to get them to get maximum value from what you’ve created and feel happy, satisfied and entertained by what you’ve shared.

There are many ways you can do this:

1. Make sure your font is easy to read.
 Sure, it might look fun to have something arty like Pacifico but you’re just making your content harder to digest. Stick with a classic font like Arial or Courier or Verdana.

2. Keep it large! 
Avoid using fonts in blog posts, website copy and newsletters in teeny tiny sizes because your readers will struggle to see what you’ve written. I recommend between 14-18 pixels.

3. Break up your paragraphs. Big blocks of text and large paragraphs are harder to read and more likely to deter your ideal client from reading through your content. So forget what you learned in high school and break them up. Don’t be afraid to use single sentences alone on a line, or even a few words.

4. Use bold and italics. Get your audience to focus on the most important information by using whatever tricks you can to highlight it. I prefer to stick to bolds and italics, but you can also use colours, different fonts and different font sizes to make it stand out.

5. Use bullet points. Make lists and other information easier to read by organising them into bullet points and numbered lists. For maximum effect, start each bullet point with a verb and make sure they follow a logical ‘flow’.

 

6. Do you have an awesome title?

Ever seen a blog post or article shared on Facebook and felt compelled to click, even if it wasn’t the type of content you’d normally read?

Yep me too. This is the power of an effective title in action.

It sells your content to the prospective reader. It captures their attention. And it encourages them to click and keep reading. It represents you on Google, on social media and in emails.

It matters much more than you might realise. 

However, there certainly is an art to creating an awesome headline which can take a bit of practice to perfect.

Here’s how to make yours shine:

1. Is the title accurate? Does it tell your reader what to expect?
2. Does it sell the benefits of your content to the reader?
3. Is it sexy? Does it make the reader intrigued to know more?
4. Have you included keywords? (more on this below)

I dedicate a huge chunk of time during the content creation process to getting this right for my clients.

I start with a working title then create several alternative titles we could use, trying to edit, polish and perfect each time until it is concise, exciting and compelling.

You should be doing the same.

 

7. Have you included on-brand images?

Yes, content does look a million times better if you include an image or two, but that’s not the only reason why you should include them in your text.

Here’s why:

You’ll get more attention on social media.

According to Search Engine Journal:

    • Blog articles which contain images are viewed 94% more
    • Tweets containing images are retweeted 150% more.
    • Facebook posts with images receive three times more engagement.

Your content will be easier to read

Remember what I was saying earlier about breaking up text into easily-digestible chunks? Images also help break up your texts and make your content easier to read.

You could get more visible on Google and other search engines

Really! Do the simple ninja trick of adding relevant keywords to the “alt-text” section and your images can be ‘read’ by the search engines and ranked more highly.

Ideally, include a minimum of 2-3 images in every piece of content that you create. Of course, if you’re just writing 500 words or less, one will be plenty. But generally speaking, the more the merrier!

 

8. Have you included keywords?

Keywords are those words which people type into Google and other search engines when they’re looking for info.

You need to include these keywords in your content if you want your site to get higher up the Google rankings. Simple.

Don’t get tempted to stuff with keywords [i.e. “I sell pink recycled plastic surfboards. My pink recycled plastic surfboards are gorgeous and streamlined. If you’re thinking about buying a pink recycled plastic surfboard then please contact pinkrecycedplastic@surfboard.co.uk”]

That’s actually the opposite of what you should do as it will just get you into trouble with Google and as I’m sure you’ll agree, looks awful to your reader too.

There are certain places you should include those keywords in your content so you can get maximum bang for your buck.

Here’s where:

1. Your headline

Needs no explanation.

2. As close to the beginning of your content as possible

If I’m feeling particularly ninja, I manage to squeeze it into the very first line! But somewhere close to the start is usually enough. You still want it to sound natural as like you’re writing for humans.

3. Subheadings

Hopefully you’ve also used subheadings to divide up your text and help the reader make sense of your text. Make sure these include keywords too.

4. Frequently throughout the body of the text

Just add your keywords and their variations as often as you can through the text in a natural, normal way.

5. Images!

When you upload your image, make sure you get those keywords into the image title and the alt-text boxes. Search engines read these bits too.

6. URLs

Yes, you can usually change the URL of your content to include keywords too.

Try to keep it simple, avoiding using filler words and try not to use numbers if you can. A great URL for a blog post titled “How to Get a Mortgage That Saves You Money” would be something like http://examplewebsite.com/mortgage-saves-money

7. The meta description

Ever noticed those few sentences you get under the title of the results when you Google something?

These 155 characters are called a meta description and they’re there to help describe what your content is about and hopefully get people to click your link. Give them a hand and get your keywords in there too.

This can easily be done on most platforms such as WordPress, Kajabi, Squarespace, Wix and Blogger, although you might like to download a plugin such as Yoast to make the process much easier.

 

9. Are you using hashtags?

Depending on what platform you’re writing for, you might want to include hashtags with your post too. Obviously, I’m talking here about writing for social media: Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are the main ones.

These basically work in a similar way to keywords, yet they’re much more fluid and change much more rapidly than keywords.

That’s why I’d highly recommend that you do a quick search to find out which hashtags are trending right before you hit that publish button.

Avoid using generic hashtags if you can like #vegan or #runner and instead get specific with things like #veganvibes #whatveganseat #veganfit #veganrunnergirl and so on.

There are various sites that you can use to find out more. I recommend you head to Google and type in [your niche] + trending hashtags + [year/month]

It’s also worth checking out this post for trending fitness hashtags for 2019.

hashtags never stress

 

10. Read it through one last time

I know…you’re probably tired of checking your content by now, but there’s one last thing you need to do.

Read it through again. 

It’s surprising how many small errors can still slip through the net, even if you’ve gone over it time and time and time again.

This is it now. Read through it carefully, take a deep breath and hit that publish button! 

 

To recap…

As you can see, creating awesome content and getting it perfect takes time and effort.

It’s not just a case of typing something quickly or scribbling something down and calling it a day.

If you want to create useful content that solves your readers’ problems and works as a lead magnet, you need to put the work in. 

You need to work and rework.

  • Check, edit and double-check again.
  • Tweak your content for the search engines, make it look great, ensure your ideal client understands what you’re talking about.
  • Then and only then can you hit that publish button and share your wisdom with the world.

 

Do you love or loathe writing content for your business? Let me know in the comments below!

 

AUTHOR: CHARLOTTE WITTS

Charlotte Witts Copywriter

Charlotte Witts is a writer, editor and entrepreneur who specialises in health, wellness and environment topics. Hire her here or follow her on Facebook. 

 

write better content business