So you’ve decided to start a blog. After all, those insightful scribbles on Evernote are burning a proverbial hole in your back pocket. Before you sit at the computer and fire up WordPress however, you might want to take stock of common errors newbies can make in the rush to publish.
1. Not having a clear end goal
Why are your writing? What’s the purpose of your blog or post? Are you trying to establish yourself as an influencer in a niche market? Are you trying to persuade customers to buy a product you make? Are you building readership to attract advertisers or launching a YouTube Channel and looking for subscribers? The more specific you are in answering these questions the more aligned and purposeful your writing will be.
2. Not truly understanding your audience, or what their problems are
You might think if you know what your purpose is in writing you’ll also know who you’re writing for, but chances are you’ll need to dig deeper. Blogs are a dime a dozen, but you’ll be ahead of your competition if you do the research needed to identify your target market .
Once you understand who your audience is, and what their needs are, you can be far more relevant to them. You’ll be able to tailor your writing or video blogging style to them, and you’ll be able to deliver content they actually want.
3. Not Writing Well
If your writing is disorganized, unclear, and grammatically incorrect then you aren’t credible to your audience.
Sloppy, disorganized writing is a result of not knowing your story focus well enough to structure a beginning, middle, and end. If you’re struggling with structure go back to Mistake No. 1 and answer the questions to correct the problem so you can move forward.
Once you know your focus you can use the inverted pyramid method to prioritize you’re story content. The inverted pyramid method prevents you from burying your lead and your readers’ interest with it.
Use headers and sub-headers to grab readers’ attention, and to allow them to skim your post to decide if they want to read it more carefully.
Finally, when you start to write remember to use clear sentences, in an active voice, with proper spelling and grammar.
I spent 20 years writing for television, and that led to some bad habits. For that reason I check and double check my spelling and grammar. English Grammar for Dummies has a place of honor on my desk, there’s also great on-line resources to double check your work. So do it!
Here’s a great article from Poynter’s University (a university for working journalists) with more tips about writing on-line.
4. Not making a meaningful contribution
A cow chews its food, and then regurgitates it, and then chews it again to digest it properly. When you regurgitate information that you culled from other sources, but offer nothing new, you’re about as compelling as that cow chewing its cud. So be sure that you have gone the extra mile to provide meaningful analysis to interesting questions that enriches the on-line community you belong to. (Sourced from @Brian Clark, How to Read)