Writing is tough! We’ve all experienced those days where we’re just staring at a blank page, wondering when inspiration will hit or pondering why we’re unable to string a group of words together. However, just because it’s difficult doesn’t mean that we can make the same blogging mistakes over and over again.
Here is a quick rundown of blogging mistakes to avoid in the future. Not because you have made these mistakes but because it’s always great to have a quick reminder as we continue this writing journey together.
Mistake #1: Not Understanding the Brand’s Marketing Objectives
As you begin blogging for a new client, it’s imperative that you take the time to truly understand their marketing objectives and voice.
On nDash, most clients will take the time to complete their group profiles. This information includes:
- Target Audience: who they are pushing this content towards
- Tone: professional, informal, comedic, etc.
- Objective: What do they want the content to accomplish? This could be lead generation, brand awareness, thought leadership, etc.
- Things to Avoid: certain sites to avoid or pet peeves in content
- Content We’re Looking For: blogs and whitepapers aside, they may choose to highlight topics they enjoy exploring or sites they look up to
- Company Content Kit: option to upload a style guide, and persona and keyword research
If you are working on nDash with a client and they don’t have a completed group profile – or there is some information that is lacking – be sure to reach out to them in the assignment thread once you have a project up and running. This way, you can make sure you’re onboarding yourself onto their marketing strategy correctly.
If you are working with a client that is not on nDash, it’s important to make sure you ask them to send over relevant information.
Here’s a quick questionnaire that can guide you for your initial content call with them:
- Who is reading your content?
- I see that your blog content is currently written with an X tone. Is that how you’d like your content written going forward?
- What types of blogs are your favorite and why?
- Which types of blogs do you hate and why?
- Who are your competitors?
- What types of news sites do you enjoy following?
- Is there a style guide you’d like for me to reference?
Taking the time to understand your client’s needs upfront will help you knock the first draft of content out of the park and will set you up for success in the future.
Mistake #2: Taking a Generic Approach to Content Ideation
On nDash, we’re all about pitching clients to expand your portfolio. However, it is important to recognize and embrace that pitching does take time. It’s not a one-and-done deal.
All too often, I see writers sending out a dozen or so pitches each day. While I love their enthusiasm, it’s important for writers to recognize that taking the time to craft a pitch specifically for the company will get them a lot further than sending a generic pitch.
If the brand is on nDash and is taking time to add information to its brand profile, it’s important for the writer to put forth effort in understanding the content they want rather than ignoring it. Likewise, if the brand is not on nDash but is publishing on its blog regularly, it’s important to look at what themes and topics they’re covering.
Not paying attention to what the brand has either requested or is currently putting out there is an easy way to get a company to ignore you.
Likewise, if you do choose to send an industry pitch (which is definitely an option on nDash!), make sure that it’s a new topic that hasn’t been published elsewhere yet. There’s nothing wrong with pitching an industry topic, but it needs to be a new idea that hasn’t been published on every site already. This way, you’re able to stick out from the talent pool.
Mistake #3: The Blog is Lacking Structure
The blogs that read best are the ones that tell a story. They have a flow and are easy to digest – even if they are close to 2000 words.
Throughout the years, I have proofed many blogs. Some blogs I become so caught up in I hardly notice the small grammatical errors and instead walk away learning something new and am inspired. In other blogs, I end up rewriting as I try to piece together the scattered ideas, paragraphs, and headers the writer had thrown into the post.
While this may seem like a straightforward tip, I do want to reiterate as a reminder: a blog is not an outline.
Yes, it is important to have headers and sub-headers and make the content easily digestible for the reader. But if it’s a string of ideas with no flow leading from one section to another, you’re making the editor’s job harder, and the audience won’t understand it.
This then leads me to my last point…
Mistake #4: Crafting a “Catch-All” Blog Post
I get it; you have a LOT to say on the subject. You’re writing one idea, and it then takes you into another thought process. Rather than letting your thoughts dominate the page, let the initial concept own this storyline and jot down a note about what you were thinking. Then take that side topic and pitch a new idea to the brand.
The more you can narrow down the focus of the post, the more you can expand upon the topic, and the more knowledgeable the reader will become.
Allow yourself to truly explore the micro topic in depth, rather than making the post a slew of macro topics that don’t provide any real “meat.”
What Blogging Mistakes Have You Made?
I’d love to turn this over to you – our awesome writer community – to see what mistakes you’ve made in the past and what lessons you’ve learned. Drop us a line on Twitter and share your valuable insights!