Being a content creator can be a very rewarding experience. Whether you are creating for yourself or for someone else, it is a job that’s made up of two things – creating and learning.
If you are looking for a job in content creation, that implies that you have a knack for creativity, and it is truly wonderful to know that we live in a time in which people can make money by putting their creativity to use.
But just because it’s a creative profession that doesn’t mean it’s not a real job. As a content creator, you will still have deadlines, obligations, and responsibilities towards other people. The people you are creating content for.
Why Writing is So Useful?
The legendary copywriter Gary Halbert wrote:
“The ability to write ads and/or letters that sell is by far the most wonderful money-making skill you could ever hope to acquire. If you master this skill you should never again have to worry about money.”
When he wrote this he was talking about direct mail marketing. That’s right, mail, as in snail-mail, post-office, stamp-licking mail. But this statement is still true today, maybe even more than ever.
Today, even though more and more content on the internet is audio-visual, writing is still the dominating source of it. This means that those who are able to write in a useful manner will have tons of opportunities and arguably bigger paychecks as writers than ever before.
But to get yourself in a position where you’re earning a significant amount of money from your writing skills, you will have to truly master the craft and learn how to avoid making any mistakes within the process.
To help you out as much as we can in achieving this goal, here are some of the most common content creating “don’ts” that people often sadly do.
Typos, Misspells, and Wrong Words
Typos are very common, and everybody knows that. Since absolutely everybody, without any exceptions, makes them all the time.
You might not know this, but the fact that you are probably writing on a keyboard only adds to the probability of making a typo. How? Well, when writing with a pen your hand moves as it listens to your thoughts, while keyboard letters can be triggered purposefully by you or by any form of unintended contact.
Although typos are pretty minor things, they can have a pretty big effect.
When you send a typo to a friend, you might laugh about it, but when you send a typo to a superior or a business partner, you lose respect. Similarly to that, when you post a typo on your website, you lose credibility, and when you lose credibility your traffic and your brand reputation suffer.
In the earliest stages of starting a website, some mistakes are tolerated, but typos aren’t one of them. Don’t get comfortable and don’t count on your audience or potential customers to overlook them, because they most likely won’t.
Misspells arguably hurt your reputation even more.
While typos are just “brain farts” or “fell asleep on the keyboard” moments, misspells give off an impression that you either don’t care or simply don’t know any better.
The English language is full of words that are spelled similarly, for example, “your” vs. “you’re” and “it’s” vs “its” which can lead to a lot of misspelling situations. And while mixing them up doesn’t necessarily imply a lack of knowledge, there is no reason to leave things up to interpretation.
That is why you should always check your spelling when unsure. With tools such as Spell Check or Grammarly, doing so is as fast and easy as it gets. So all the more reason to do it, and all the more reason for your audience to have a problem with you if you don’t.
But by far the worst mistake you can make while writing is to use the completely wrong words, words that have a different meaning than what you are trying to say.
I was once participating in a workshop and the leader said “competence” instead of “competition”. To be fair, it was while answering a question, so it could’ve been a slip of the tongue. But even if it was, I still lost a bit of trust in him for the remainder of the workshop.
The workshop situation is harmless, but imagine if you used a completely wrong word in a blog post in which you are trying to advise someone. A person reading your post could have doubts if you even have enough experience in the subject to talk about it in the first place, let alone to give advice.
In a nutshell, what you should remember from all of this is. While typos and misspells can damage credibility and slow down your site’s traffic, using the wrong words is a sure way to reach the top of a user’s blacklist.
No Continuity – in Posting, Tone, and Delivery
Depending on who you ask, they will for sure be able to name anywhere from 5 to 10 basic branding elements or practices.
I personally would say that there are 3 basic elements that make a “brand”: its voice, visual identity, and consistency. Some of these elements are also a part of your blog’s branding.
Well, when you are running a blog it’s important to have a consistent posting schedule and levels of engagement, and not just for SEO purposes.
While it’s true that most of your audience won’t notice if your usual posting routine if off by a couple of days (unless you are running a telenovela blog), nothing will build trust and credibility in your audience like you consistently “being there”.
Just like any relationship, the one you have with your audience flourishes from your good deeds and constant presence. We know it might sound a bit far fetched to talk about “presence” in the context of a relationship when referring to running a blog, but human nature is human nature in any context.
Of course, there are cases of brands that withdrew from the web for a longer period of time and then successfully came back, but as a general rule of thumb, consistency is what will keep a brand alive.
Having consistency is important not only in your presence but also in your tone and message.
Finding your true tone will take time, but before that happens you will have to choose at least a suitable “direction” for yourself in order to produce unique and consistent content.
Choose a tone that feels most natural to you and a tone that complements your message the most. Once you choose it, build on it. Watch how your audience reacts to it, and take notes, but don’t let them dictate your writing style since you do have to stay true to yourself.
One common mistake writers make when it comes to being consistent is when they try spicing up their texts by using abbreviations and acronyms that they think their audience might like. This is something you should think twice about before adopting since it might make you look frivolous.
But all in all, remember that you are the brand and you are the creator.
The audience will have their opinions and preferences but in the grand scheme of things they are there to listen to what you have to say not the other way around.
So listen to the audience’s useful feedback but stay true to yourself when giving them the information and advice they came looking for in the first place.
Lacking Structure and Goals
Like we said in the beginning, just because content creation is a creative endeavor, that doesn’t mean it isn’t a real job. Your content has a purpose. And do you even know what it is?
Since content creation boomed alongside social media, for some people this creates confusion. It gives them a hard time when trying to draw the line between content creating and just plain old “fun posting”.
To help you avoid getting yourself in this mess, here is a word of advice. Your content needs to be structured and have a goal – or at least an intent.
What do I mean by this?
Well, you know when a blog post is titled “Top x things for doing y thing”? The title is structured this way because its structure clearly explains the goal of the article.
Of course, this structure is not the only one used for creating useful, relevant, and engaging content, but it’s a very good example.
Basically, what we want to say is that you have to clearly state the purpose/goal of your post through its title. So no need for fancy headlines and clickbait, just a genuine message that tells the audience what your aim with the post is.
But, remember not to entirely lose your personality when doing so. Be yourself and serve what you have to offer in your own unique way.
A lot of people have succeeded in building a huge audience and influence through different, sometimes even unconventional ways of doing things (using the latest apps, platforms, and channels), but the trick is not to get lost in the growing variety of options.
Of course, you should keep an eye on the latest trends and innovations but don’t let them dictate your path and push down your creativity.
Your best bet is to have a goal, a strategy, and the will to invest time in content creation. With this attitude and with having the basics of content creation mastered, your unique creative process will form, without a doubt.
Once it does, just remember to protect it by not making the most common content creating mistakes that we covered in this article!