By Kathy Widenhouse, award-winning content writer and author who specializes in writing for nonprofits and faith-based organizations.
When times are hard or when you’re first starting out as a writer, one of the biggest content writing mistakes you can make is to complain.
Readers are negativity radars. When they sense pessimism, it’s natural for readers to click “delete” or move on to another piece of content quicker than the latest stock market indicator plunge. And why not? They hear plenty of despair already on the news.
Don’t be a Gloomy Gert. Even in down times, you can cultivate your readers and build your audience. Make sure you avoid these mistakes in your content that could lead you down the wrong path … and cause you to lose readers and followers.
Money is tight and you’re desperate to cut costs. Caution: don’t shut down communications altogether. Find ways to trim expenses, stay in front of your audience — and build. Instead of sending an email campaign twice a week, send it once. Use social media. Refresh or repurpose old content.
It’s not all about you! Content writing is a service business. Readers want to know, “What’s in it for me?” Successful content writing focuses on meeting the needs of those you serve. Rethink content that centers on you and invest time in identifying the information and tools your readers need.
A conversational point-of-view makes your copy even more accessible: use “you” and “yours,” not just “me,” “I,” and “us.” (Here are some tips for conversational copywriting.)
Forget waxing philosophical. Focus instead on practical, real-life impact that can help your readers take positive steps forward. Write how-tos. Use snapshot profiles, colorful anecdotes, and targeted statistics. Let your stories sparkle with excitement.
Want to have impact? Always offer your readers the opportunity to take a step, even if it’s just a simple or soft ask. Tell your readers what to do next as a result of reading your content so they experience life change: click here, read more, choose one, share this.
Entitlement is never attractive. Write with an attitude – one in which you acknowledge the privilege of writing. you have the unmatched privilege of writing.
And consider one more thing. Without readers, you wouldn’t have a reason to write. Infuse your content with gratitude for your readers. They can sense that you respect them. And they’ll return the sentiment.
Which of these scenarios speaks to you right now?
Choose one content writing mistake that you may have slipped into. Make the change in your next piece.
And you’ll find it’s not just your readers who experience life change. You will change too. You’ll move from being a Gloomy Gert to becoming an Encouraging Eddie.
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