Monday, June 15, 2020

Do You Make These Content Writing Mistakes?

Do You Make These Content Writing Mistakes?

Whether you are a newbie or a professional writer, you tend to commit some unintentional mistakes in your writing.

Here are some of the content writing mistakes we usually encounter and how to avoid them.

Lack of research

Laziness in reading and checking related content about your topic may put you in a bad light. You might unknowingly include in your content erroneous facts. There might be information you may have remembered that was correct years ago but recently new facts have been presented by other researchers or scientists.

You need to be diligent in researching so you do not appear to be a reckless and irresponsible writer. Also, awareness of existing content with the same topic challenges your writing creativity and allows you to deliver fresh content. Search engine tools can go a long way for you.

Not knowing your audience

Writing without knowing who your target audience is will greatly defeat the purpose of bringing in more traffic to your page. You have to know your audience’s demographics and psychographics so you can be able to sympathize with them and reach out to them with your content writing.

This requires additional research on your part. But do not worry because there are tools online to make it easier for you to know your audience.

Overstretched content

Lengthy is not always interesting. Just to reach for certain words, you try to stretch your writing and put in too much information. Your audience tends to lose interest in reading until the end of your article if you have written long and repetitive content.

People’s attention spans can be compared to the speed of the internet connection. It has a connection speed limit. Their attention lags when your content takes longer to read than the estimated time the audience wants to spend on it.

Sometimes, brief writing is more catchy. But please take note that this depends on the important points you need to discuss for your topic.

Repetitive use of your SEO

Repeating your SEO keywords several times within your content will not help increase the traffic on your page. Consequently, search engines may penalize you for overusing your keywords by moving down your ranking. 

It is suffocating to read the same word or words over and over again. There is a certain limit of keywords used within content writing, depending on its word count. Look for a keyword density checker to help you count the number of times you used your keyword.  


Constantly mentioning a product gets people to feel stuffy with it. This creates a bad impression on your page, especially when your audience expects to learn something from your content but gets disappointed because you are just doing some selling.

If you have to write about a specific product, just be subtle about it. You need not mention it time and time again so the audience will not get overwhelmed regarding the product you are writing about. A mention of two or three times is enough to establish the product you are promoting in your content.
Misleading titles or headlines

It may be catchy but if it is not totally related to your content, your audience will lack confidence in your page and web site in the long run.

Did not proofread enough

Content writing with typos and punctuation errors, misspelling, and tenses and pronoun inconsistencies can be avoided by thoroughly proofreading.

Double-checking your content after finishing it will help you find misplaced words in your writing. Sometimes in the middle of writing, we try to think of words that we cannot exactly pinpoint and place a word that sounds similar or has almost the same meaning as the word you want to say.  

But as a writer nearing your deadline, you do not have enough time to rest and check your article with fresh eyes.  

There are online spelling and grammar checkers and editing tools that can help you to reach your deadline flawlessly.

Lack of image support

The image is key to making a click. Including an appropriate image attracts more traffic to your content page. People like it more when they can see some visuals before completely immersing themselves in your content. Aside from your meta description, seeing an image or picture creates first impressions, prompting the audience to click on your page. 

If you have your own image, use it before turning to other people’s images. This will keep you from encountering copyright issues. But if you need to use public domain images or pictures, check first the public domain’s terms and conditions details to avoid legal issues.

Unintended Plagiarism

Plagiarism is a crime of theft by stealing other people’s ideas or words and claiming them as your own.

If you do not like people stealing your ideas, avoid doing it to other writers. You must give proper acknowledgment to the authors or writers you quoted from your research. Even if you paraphrase the words from any writings or books, you still have to properly cite the source.

And sometimes you keep on writing based on your memory. This may expose you to committing plagiarism accidentally. To check for plagiarism, look for online plagiarism tools that can work for you best. 

Being overconfident with your writing

Especially if we have been writing professionally for years, sometimes we tend to be so confident with it. We still need to give leeway to double-check for possible mistakes. Sometimes, we tend to write too wordy articles. Keep in mind the advice of many senior writers: simple and concise writing is better.

Learning is constant for everyone. Keep looking to learn new things. You need to keep upgrading yourself as a writer just like online software does.  

Change is inevitable. You have to make some adjustments in your writing for the changing times and attitudes of your audience.

Monday, March 9, 2020

How to Find the Right Editor for Your Non-Fiction Book


Choosing an editor is difficult. How can you tell who will be right for you and your book by randomly choosing someone on the Internet? First, browse websites looking for a nonfiction editor or nonfiction editing services. Look for the following qualities: has this person ever worked for a publishing house? How many years of experience do they have? Do they have extensive experience in your genre?

Second, touch base with the editor by email and arrange a time to talk on the phone, on Skype, or FaceTime. Make a list of questions for the editor before you talk. Talking on the phone or a video call is not the same as meeting face-to-face, but it’s pretty close, and it’s much better than email.

I just finished reading a book called The Editor by Steven Rowley. It was a fun fantasy piece about a guy who had Jacqueline Onassis as his editor; this book delved into the nuts and bolts of what the client/editor relationship should be like. You want a nonfiction editor who cares about you and your book. It helps if the editor is an author. Fellow authors know what it’s like to go through the nerve-racking experience of handing a manuscript over to a stranger.

Also, ask the editor if he or she will do a sample edit of about 300 to 500 words. That will give you an idea if that particular nonfiction editor or nonfiction editing services company is right for you.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Creating an Authentic Villain


It’s easy to create a villain or an antihero that readers love to hate, but it’s hard to create a nuanced, complex antagonist. We are so used to Darth Vaders or Draco Malfoys that we, as writers, tend to forget that when we want to portray someone as evil, it’s important to make that character well-rounded, real, and authentic.

The best way to do this is to give your bad guy/girl some attributes. I know it sounds counterintuitive, but everybody, even the worst criminals imaginable, has redeeming qualities. I will never forget watching a movie years ago about Hitler’s secretary. It was a documentary, and there was real footage of a person interviewing the woman who had been a secretary to Herr Hitler. She was most apologetic; it was obvious that she wanted to say unkind things about the man, but she couldn’t. She needed to be true to her experience and wanted people to understand that the Fuhrer had been extremely kind to her. He was a nice man to work for. I know you’re rolling your eyeballs right now and saying that can’t be possible, but, yeah, it can be. I would go one step further and say that not only is it possible, but it is likely that the scum of the earth person who has committed vile, despicable acts also had some nice traits. We can be two things at the same time. We can be good mothers but cheat on our taxes. We can be great parents but cheat on our partners. We can be good citizens but racist in our private thoughts and practices. We can be like the infamous Aaron Fernandez from the NFL, who was convicted of three murders but loved his daughter.
Look for ways to humanize villains in your stories. Maybe your bad guy is a killer, a brutal, sexist, wife-beating, child-beating nightmare of a man. How would you round out that character? Give him good taste in music. Make him a fan of animals or a vegetarian. Maybe once a week, he volunteers to work with somebody with Down syndrome or visits his aging mother. Or make him a victim turned victimizer. Maybe your villain was molested as a child or neglected. Give us some ambivalent feelings about him or her. This is why the show The Sopranos worked so well—because we grew to know Tony Soprano as a person before we found out that he was a very bad guy. This gives the viewer or the reader ambivalent feelings toward your character. That’s good. You’re not turning your bad guy into a good guy. You’re just rounding out the picture so that we see a full person rather than a one-dimensional stereotype. Also, be careful about using clich├ęs and overly common plot devices, such as dressing your bad guy in black or giving him lots of tattoos.

The same is true of your protagonist. As writers, we want to make our protagonists likable, but we can easily fall into the trap of making him or her too good to be true. Most of the girls I knew liked Jo best in the book Little Women, followed by Amy. Beth was almost ethereal; she was too sweet and selfless. But Jo? She defied all stereotypes. She was a tomboy. She said what she felt. She had a temper. Jo was on fire in an era when girls were supposed to be uber-feminine and subservient, and as a result of being feisty, she became a fan favorite.

The best way to rectify a one-dimensional character is when you are proofreading and reviewing your story after it’s already been written. Go back into the text several times and look for sections where it’s appropriate for you to add some good qualities to your bad character. It will pay off in the end.