Oh no! Is that the sound of your “my writing is better than yours” bubble being popped? I would apologise but this is for the benefit of your clients and their readers. It’s time to end bad writing in marketing and I’m starting with you.
We’re fully aware that having content on your site is incredibly important, however this doesn’t mean content marketers can simply churn out any old nonsense; if you’re not going to do it properly, there’s no point in doing it at all. Forever banishing your bad writing habits to the fiery depths of Middle Earth will improve your organic SEO, social media and PPC performance to no end. So, for those of you now reading this with slightly sweaty palms, learning a lesson or two and avoiding our five poor writing habits should help to clear that guilty conscious of yours.
1. Stop overusing exclamation marks
If you’re personally offended by this one, then you’re most likely guilty of doing this. There’s nothing worse than seeing this! at! the! end! of! every! sentence! We get it – content can be super exciting – especially if it’s on something you’re passionate about, but there’s no need to go overboard with the punctuation. Overusing exclamation marks is like reading a blog post that was written by an excitable puppy who, for some reason, can’t understand why you’re not as enthusiastic as he is. We know it comes from a good place, but it’s just got to go. Next time you think you’re guilty of doing this, read it through and question whether you really need that exclamation mark at the end of every damn sentence.
2. Get your ellipsis right
Whether you’re attempting to create some suspense or just trying to bulk out a sentence, your ellipses do not, I repeat, do not need to be any longer or shorter than three dots. Three, that is all…
This is because those three little innocent-looking dots of an ellipsis carry more power than we realise, and has the potential to annoy and confuse your readers much more than any other form of punctuation. It is really important to remember that the ellipsis can completely change the tone and meaning of what you are trying to say…
3. Rushing your writing
You might think that you’ve managed to get away with rushing your content in the last thirty minutes before your deadline but, the chances are, your writing will reflect the haste in your work. The desire to keep your content fresh and topical is understandable, but rushing whilst writing results in sloppiness and no one wants a sloppy blog, do they? The main solution to this is changing your attitude towards writing; make it a priority rather than an afterthought. Leave organising your desktop folders for another rainy day, take a few minutes and rejig your schedule and really show your content that you have a place in your heart for it too. Both your readers and your clients will thank you for this, trust me.
You should also make sure you delegate enough time for proofreading your content – if you can, get someone to have a peruse through your bits of content, as they’ll be able to spot mistakes that you wouldn’t have necessarily picked up.
4. Waffling for the money
Here’s a surprise: no one has the time nor the patience to sift through your work because you suddenly feel the need to embody Charles Dickens or Joe Lycett. Trawling through seemingly endless sentences and forgetting what the start of the sentence is which means you then have to go back, and having to check the meaning of a word ten times means that you ultimately end up losing track of the subject no matter how hard you try to focus, is not how anyone wants to spend their day (see what I mean?). Keep your content above 500 words to maintain best practice but remember that your readers ultimately want fast, clear information, with short and simple sentences.
5. Egotistical writing
Have you ever read content that sounds like the author was just entering a gossipy diary entry? If so, you’ve probably encountered an egotistical writer. Writing purely to please yourself without truly considering what the reader will get out of your content is a tell-tale sign of a narcissist, something that no one wants to be. Step out of your shoes whilst writing and try to embody your target customer: What are they searching for? How long do they want to be reading for? Will they appreciate the usage of cute pictures and GIFs? It’s all in the detail.
If you’re looking to kick your bad content habits but need a helping hand, why not contact us to talk to one of our content geniuses.