To err is human, and a content writer is no exception.
If you too are a freelance content writer, then chances are that you may have also made one of the ten mistakes listed below. Some of the mistakes content writers make can be written off as an oversight and but some are simply unforgivable.
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No online presence
An online portfolio with your previous work samples is a must for every content writer. Not only does it help show off your talent as a writer but also projects you as a professional to your prospective clients. If you don’t have your own website yet, you can display your best work on the websites which allow you to upload your samples for free.
2. No work agreement in place
Taking up an assignment without having an agreement in place puts you at a risk of delayed payment, no payment, or unreasonable demands to revise your submitted work. It is always a good practice for you as a content writer to insist on a formal contract signed by both parties, before starting work, with clearly mentioned terms and conditions, to safeguard the interest of both parties.
3. Copying content from others
It is a blunder to copy content verbatim from other sources. Even if you are copying a single line, there is no guarantee you can get away with it, all thanks to the plagiarism detection tools available online. Not to mention, it degrades your reputation in front of the client who might not want to work with you again.
There is nothing wrong in reading work of other writers and taking inspiration from them but plagiarism is unacceptable for content writers
4. Not proofreading and editing your work before submission
Typos, improper usage of grammar, and punctuation are the easiest ways to lose your clients. It is absolutely necessary to edit and proofread your work before you send it through. Let your first draft rest for some time and go back to it later with fresh perspective and insight. You can also use a proofreading tool to check your content for errors which you might have not been able to catch.
5. Using uncorroborated data in your articles
It’s true that throwing data and stats add value and credibility to your content but it is very important to link to the original source of data and NOT to the blog or website where you found the stats published. Your readers may not only benefit from the detailed information at the source, it will save them an effort to find the original source themselves.
6. Using images without permission or attribution
Using a good quality relevant image helps your content catch more eyeballs and makes it more shareable. But you need to ensure you are not using a copyrighted image without permission. You should get familiar with copyrighting laws and legal terms for using images to avoid any legal complications later. To stay safe, it’s better to use stock free pictures.
7. Not addressing the target audience
Knowing your readers helps create relatable and engaging content for them.
While you are writing the article, ask yourself:
- Are you addressing your reader’s most frequently asked questions?
- Do you understand their pain points?
- What is the takeaway for your audience from the content you are writing?
If you are not able to answer these questions, go back and research your audience thoroughly before writing.
8. Not adjusting your tone or style according to the audience
Once you know your readers, you need to adjust your tone and style to match them. If your vocabulary, sentence formation, the examples or metaphors you use in your writing fail to connect with your audience, you will surely lose them. You need to be very sure that your tone and style is not formal and technical where it should be conversational and entertaining and vice versa.
9. Not focusing on one single idea in your write-up
Having a single, clear, and consistent message in your writing is the next crucial thing after defining your audience. Your readers will lose interest in your content if it is full of confusing and disorganized ideas. Try creating a detailed outline before you start writing. This will help to define the main idea and give a structure and logical flow to your content.
10. Not adhering to deadlines
Messing up with the agreed deadlines is the easiest way of damaging your reputation as a professional content writer.
Sticking to your deadlines not only helps build trustworthiness and long-term relationship with the clients, it also allows them to adhere to their publishing schedule. In case you are unable to meet a deadline, inform the client well in advance so that they have sufficient time to work out a solution.
How many content writer mistakes have you made?