In an increasingly competitive marketplace, and simply writing good content isn’t enough to grab and hold your reader’s attention. Audiences need a reason to start reading, and keep reading your content. In a crowded digital marketing environment, it can be a challenge to distinguish your content from another writer’s.
As original as copywriters strive to be, the harsh reality is that one blog post tends to have far too much in common with other blog posts in a certain area of expertise. What will make yourself stand out is if you can demonstrate that you have a particular voice, perspective, or opinion that can’t be produced from anywhere other than your own pen.
Even the strongest writers have weaknesses and their fair share of duds. Here are four common sins and how to address each one.
1. Your Writing Is Forgettable
In other words, your blog post could be written by virtually anyone, which is a liability if you want to establish your voice as a unique brand, distinct from the millions of other voices in the endless sea of digital content. If you can be forgotten in less than thirty seconds, then your writing won’t be imprinted in the minds of readers seeking resources or opinions, now and in the future.
Clichéd language is easily ignored, so the fundamental question is whether or not you can show your readers a fresh, original perspective. This can be achieved by providing individualized, specific, and practical content that educates and informs. Avoid using generalized language, and try not to be vague.
After all, readers are drawn to your content because of your unique opinion, so be sure to have one and articulate it well. Do your research in advance, and know your facts thoroughly before sharing your opinions, especially if they might generate controversy. Of course, don’t be afraid of a little contention. If presented effectively, a debatable viewpoint can be an excellent conversation starter.
2. Your Writing Is Unoriginal
If you find your writing riddled with trite phrases and overused ideas, it’s probably lacking creativity and purpose. And if someone else (let alone hundreds, if not thousands) of other people have said it before, it’s definitely unoriginal. Overusing commonplace sayings doesn’t exactly position you as a distinct voice or brand, and while clichés might be easy , they can prevent you from best articulating your true message.
Instead, convey your ideas clearly by using detailed, specific, and evocative language. Be unconventional with phrasing, experiment with sentence structure, and innovate with diction. Platitudes don’t necessarily have to be deleted completely, but rather can be reformulated to preserve their original meaning without sounding stale. Maybe creativity killed the cat, but it can resurrect insipid writing – and rouse readers whose attention is drifting.
3. Your Writing Is Unintentional
Start by asking yourself this straightforward, but absolutely imperative question: what’s the point? If you’re unable to offer a compelling response, then pause and spend a moment to reflect about your purpose for writing. Uncertainty about your intention is an apparent sign that you should spend more time in the brainstorming stage.
Directionless writing is devoid of the focus to captivate readers’ attention, and readers will tune out if they believe you don’t have anything meaningful to say. So always begin with the end in mind before you put down that first word.
Introspection and honest self-evaluation are critical tools while ideating to address those overarching, yet often difficult questions which may demand intensive time and reflection to answer. If you’re feeling stuck, challenge yourself with bigger questions, such as critically asking why, not just what or how, you’re writing. Determine what message you want your post to convey, what takeaways your content can offer readers, and how your writing will impact audiences. As much as possible, imbue every word with purpose, as each post you write should contribute to your overarching goal or content strategy.
It’s up to you to ensure that readers make it to the end goal. You’re the one holding the compass, not them. With this in mind, steer your readers in the right direction and continually guide them until they arrive at the destination.
4. Your Writing Is Inconsistent
Writing an exemplary blog post shouldn’t just be a one time accomplishment. If your goal is to consistently generate content at a regular pace to establish yourself as a memorable, reliable source in the long run, you must make a concrete plan, such as a monthly editorial content calendar, that you can reference and stick to.
The truth is that you won’t always feel particularly inspired. Even the most seasoned bloggers will periodically endure grueling bouts of writer’s block, but nevertheless, the show must go on. If you’re stuck, read other posts or books, take a walk, or do a simple brain dump. Because if you’re a professional, you still need to produce content on good days and bad – rain or shine.
Planning in advance will give you the momentum to maintain your stamina and the focus to consistently produce outstanding content in the long run. This way, you won’t produce content in fits and starts before quitting once you hit a bump in the road. To ensure consistency, set goals for your content development plan before putting pen to paper, and create a realistic schedule with actionable, achievable tasks.