As a college student, I wanted to make a decent income so that I could travel to some of my favorite destinations. Since I was interested in blogging, I chose to become a content writer.
I was a complete beginner and didn’t know where to start. Unfortunately, there weren’t many blogs that taught how to become a good content writer at that time.
I committed a ton of mistakes, and it took me years to understand that content writers aren’t born with a gift of writing. They learn their way to become a good writer.
So in this article about content writing tips for beginners, I’m going to list out the top 20 mistakes that most beginners make when they start their writing career.
So without any ado, let’s dig into it.
Content Writing Tips for Beginners in 2021
1. Write First, Research Last
This was the first mistake that I made. When I got the work, instead of researching the topic, I started writing about it. If you are given a topic to write about, take some time and do complete research about the particular keyword.
Read existing articles from Google, watch some videos, and read some books if you have the time. Did you know that an average person reads only four books a year?
If you do proper research, you already know more information about that topic than 75 percent of the people.
2. Keyword research
What the heck is keyword research? I didn’t know what it was when I started. You might have heard about it.
According to Conductor, Keyword research is a process, where you get to know the popular search terms that people type into search engines like Google. Then you place these keywords strategically into your content so that your article appears higher on the search engine results page (SERP).
It is a process where you get to know what people are searching for, and then you write about it to rank in search engines like Google.
Why should you do it? Because if you are starting a blog or writing for other agencies, you will have to provide contents that will benefit them. It doesn’t matter how good the product is if no one uses it.
So spend some time understanding the basics of keyword research. If possible, attend some online courses. These additional skills that you acquire today will help you in the long term.
3. Not Creating a Content Outline
What I’m I writing? Have you ever had this thought after writing for 30-45 minutes? I know I have.
It’s like swimming in an ocean; if you don’t have a proper content outline, you will never know where you are going.
An excellent content outline always makes your task much easier. It will make your work more efficient since you know where you will have to go and how to make a perfect transition from one section to another.
4.Write only about a Keyword
Gone are the days, where you could rank in Google after writing an article about a single keyword. If you want to rank in Google and provide more valuable information to your audience, you will have to focus on topic relevance.
MarketMuse describes the importance of topic relevance brilliantly. Google will help you to rank higher if you focus on relevancy. Later, they will reward you when they understand that you have provided more their users than your competitors.
“It’s often not enough just to build a single great page with the “right answer.” You have to show Google that your site is relevant for the topic in which you want to rank.”
5. Write Straight Forward Titles
Creating engaging titles for your article is an art, and as a content writer, it’s your job to master it. When I started, I would write the topic name as the title of my article.
You will have to invoke an emotion to create a fantastic title for your article.
Let’s take an example.
The topic of this article is “Content Writing Tips for Beginners.” If I wrote the same, you wouldn’t have clicked it when it appeared on the SERP.
So instead, I wrote, Content writing tips for beginners: 20 Mistakes to Avoid”. By adding the phrase Mistakes to Avoid, I invoked an emotion in your mind.
You were curious or scared to know whether you have implemented these mistakes in your past.
So, always create a title that evokes emotion in your audience’s mind.
6. Jump Straight into the Topic
Never, ever jump straight into the topic. The average attention span of a human is 8 seconds, according to Microsoft. So, it would be best if you first tried to make a connection with your audience.
Russell Brunson brilliantly teaches us the Hook, Story, Offer in his book, the DotCom Secrets. He says a hook can be anything that can attract your audience’s attention.
It can be your title, image that you use, or any goofy thing you do to get your audience’s attention. The story is your introduction part.
Here you will have to connect with your audience by telling a story (real or imaginary). Share a story that your audience has experienced in their life. This will help you to hook their attention to your article.
7. Provide the answer at the end of the article
When I was a complete newbie, I thought that if I provided what they were looking for at the end, they would stick to my article.
That was a bad mistake!
Everyone is busy in their life, so if you don’t provide them the answer at the earliest, they will leave and search for it in a different article. Make sure that you provide at least a hint of the solution at the beginning of the article.
8. Write Long Paragraph Like Textbooks
There are different types of content writing. Web content writing is different from offline content writing, like writing a book.
When you are writing content for the internet, make sure that all your paragraphs are short. A paragraph should only contain at most two sentences.
Each sentence should convey a single message. This will make your article more understanding as well as soothing for their eyes.
9. Write Like a Scholar
There are people, who write like a scholar so that their audience needs a dictionary to understand what you just wrote.
Web content writing is not a place to show your vocabulary skills; keep it simple!
Write articles so that a student in 8th grade could understand what you just wrote. Flesch reading ease score will help you know how easy it is for your audience to understand your article.
10. Writing without Subheadings
When you create a content outline, you always have to divide your main headings into different subheadings. And if possible, divide these subheadings into other headings.
Make sure that your main title is wrapped in Heading 1 tag. Always remember that an article should contain only one heading tag (h1 tag). Then you should wrap your subheadings in heading two tags (h2 tags).
Then the subheadings under your heading two tags should be heading three tags (h3 tags). Always follow this hierarchical structure for proper on-page optimization.
11. Stop Your Articles in a Sudden
Never stop your articles like how Christopher Nolan ends his movies. You should go through the main points that you mentioned in the article.
Try to give a quick overview of your article. And finally, mention the offer (from hook, story, offer) that you are going to provide. This is the section where you can promote your product by telling them how your product will solve all their queries.
12.Not Telling What to Do Next
You should always tell your audience what to do next at the end of your article. Provide a link to your next article or a free download. If you don’t have both, tell them to share their experience in the comment section below.
If you are writing a review article, tell them to buy the product now. Make sure that you clearly specify a CTA at the end of your article.
13. Publish Without Proofreading
Never publish an article just after finishing it. After writing your first draft, take some rest. Then after spending some time doing something else, start your proofreading session.
There will be grammatical mistakes, or there will be some sentences out of place. Make sure that you remove or rewrite any sentence that stops the flow of your article. If you have a friend, tell them to read it for you and mark those that need correction.
14. Worry about Word Count
If you have been told to write an article within a specific word count, you will have to follow their guidelines.
Never worry about the word count if you are writing for yourself. Try to explain the content in detail so that you provide value to your user. No one is going to worry about the length of the article if it’s engaging and useful.
15. One to Many Conversation
When you are writing an article, never make a one-to-many conversations. This means never write as if you are talking to a group.
Try to write as if you are talking to a single person. Use words like I, and you instead of we and them. This will help your audience to feel like they are talking with a friend.
16. Not Engaging Enough
You will have to engage your audience to keep them hooked to your article. Ask them questions, write something funny, or add some facts that will blow their mind away.
Try to engage with your audience so that your article will feel like a friendly conversation with their friend when they read your article.
17. Using Random Images
The quality of your article will also depend on the images that you use. Use quality images that have some relevance to your content. You can use websites like Pexels, Unsplash, or Freepik to find stock images that you can use in your article.
18. Avoiding SEO
Search Engine Optimization is going to be a vital skill for any content writer from 2021. You will have to learn more about On-Page optimization as a content writer.
If possible, learn some advanced SEO techniques. These skills will help you to stand apart from the rest of your competitions with ease.
19. Neglecting Writing Tools
With technology on the rise, there are multiple writing tools (paid and free) that you should use while writing. I’m a massive fan of Grammarly, a software that will take you to the next level as a content writer.
As a content writer, you should provide contents with proper synonyms, punctuations, and more. These paid softwares will help you to correct these mistakes with ease.
20. Wait till the Offer Comes
Start writing from day one itself. Practice every day, and try to write at least 300 words per day. Never wait till the opportunity to come.
Read as many books and articles as possible. Learn how they write each paragraph and what are the power words they use. As a content writer, you will have to read more than you write.
So keep reading and keep writing.
Every content writer makes mistakes when they are starting. Most of them learn the hard way, but why should you?
Learn from the mistakes that others have made so that you can progress much faster. In this article, content writing tips for beginners, I have mentioned all the mistakes most content writers made when they started out.
Use these tips and start writing awesome content! If you have any doubts, do mention them in the comment section below.