Don’t beat yourself up if you find yourself on the list! There is an easy fix to every mistake.
You try to sound smart – but end up sounding complicated instead
Writing can be intimidating. It makes you vulnerable: you are putting your thoughts, your insights and maybe even some personal experiences out there.
What happens sometimes is that we try and hide that vulnerability behind complex sentences, long paragraphs, and fancy words. We think all that makes us sound smart and professional and helps us get our message across better.
That is not true. Your followers and clients don’t want to hear and read something impersonal, and not very clearly expressed. They want to hear your voice and thoughts! So instead of trying to sound smart or corporate or business-like, try sounding like yourself.
Quick fix: Try reading your text out loud or let a friend read it so they can let you know if you sound like you. Remove all the words you wouldn’t normally use and use sentences that are short enough to be read out loud without losing your breath.
Think of all the little things from SEO to Instagram algorithms and Facebook follower counts before the actual content
I get this question a lot in my workshops: how should I write to improve my SEO? Or, when I comment on people’s texts, they tell me “I wrote it like that, because I heard it’s good for the SEO.” “I wrote that because it generates engagement on Facebook.”
Fair enough, SEO is important, and you should write about topics that resonate with your audience. But what is even more important in the beginning, is to create content that really adds value to people’s lives. Really serves them, is authentic and genuine.
Once you have found that unique value that you bring to your readers and followers, we can think about details like SEO and algorithms. But first, let’s focus on content.
Quick fix: Ask your followers what they would like to find out more about and create a piece of content around that – but only if the topic interests you and aligns with your brand. You can’t keep up with uninteresting content in the long run.
Write too much
I often say it’s possible – if not even easy – to cut one third out of every text. If that sounds impossible, try and cut out a quarter. Almost every text gets better when it’s shortened.
Many beginning writers find this hard to believe. Every single word they have managed to put on paper is way too precious for them to delete. Often this means texts that are too long for readers to get through.
However, one article or blog text should only have one clear idea or message it conveys. Ask yourself which core question you are trying to answer – and then answer only that.
Quick fix: If shortening seems impossible, see if you could break the text into two different articles or posts. Could it be a content series?
Do you relate to these mannerisms? Or do you have other writing problems you would like to have my take on? Tell me in the comments or on social media!
P.S. Good news, my writing workshop tackles all these challenges. Sign up for my newsletter and be the first to know about upcoming workshops.
Say, Pauliina, what’s an “SEO”?
Hi Marilyn! Thank you for your questions – and my excuses for the delayed response!
SEP refers to Search. Engine Optimisation. Basically it means different ways you can help search engines, such as Google,to find your content. The better your SEO, the more visitors your site will attract.