The 4 Top Beginner Blogging Mistakes

 

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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

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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.cc-zero

2. Not truly understanding your audience, or what their problems are

problem-1020300_1280You 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

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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.cc-zero

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

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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)cc-zero

 

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3 thoughts on “The 4 Top Beginner Blogging Mistakes

  1. These are all great points. As an editor, I often have to remind authors to keep their reader in mind while writing. While writing can be therapeutic for the author, to have it published online or in print means the main purpose is for it to be read. This makes the reader the client of the author and it is up to the author to meet their client readers’ wants and needs. This affects topic and even word choice. Writing for a research journal read by people with PhDs can mean writing longer, more complex sentences using larger words while writing about the same information in a daily newspaper will mean using simpler words and shorter sentences. This is not “dumbing down” the content, but rather making the content as accessible as possible to as large of an audience as possible, which is what newspaper readers represent. Write for your reader, not yourself.

    • Making tv shows and writing for a blog share similarities that your comment reinforces. Write for the audience not for yourself. It’s often that simple, and that complex. Having an editor who keeps you on track is so terrific. I hope your authors take your advice. Keep sharing.

  2. Thank you for the tips! I was writing my first blog and I was actually asking myself where exactly I wanted to go with this. Even just choosing and sticking to a subject for a blog is difficult. When it’s not for business, I feel like it’s easier to be a little bit more lenient towards our blog discipline. Not everyone has an editor or a coworker to proof read before posting the content, but there is a way to do it on our own too. I guess trial and error is a big help, and reading comments from our readers. Well, with what you’ve shared, I am definitely going back to my post and rethinking my writing strategy. Thanks again!

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