When people ask me what I do, I try to give them this elaborate explanation of how I implement marketing campaigns, write content and keep up-to-date with the latest marketing trends. Most of the time people just look at me like I'm an alien, and I'm left with the only other explanation I have: "I write content...mostly blogs, but some other stuff too." Most people are polite, but sometimes, people look at me with this face that says, "Oh, you get paid to surf the Internet and write blogs? That's so easy."
But let me tell you a little secret: It's not as easy as it looks. People are so quick to judge bloggers and deem it as a job that takes little skill and effort. However, when they sit down to write their own blog, it hits them: Blogging is so much harder than it seems.
If you're new to blogging and find yourself dealing with some unexpected challenges, it's okay. It happens to almost every new blogger. Here are 3 of the most common mistakes beginner bloggers make and how to avoid them:
Your writing is stiff
Writing a blog is different than writing a research paper. It's easy to think of a blog like a research paper, especially if you're straight out of school and that's the only writing experience you have. Think about it - when was the last time you enjoyed reading a research paper? That's what I thought.
If you're having trouble loosening up, try writing like you talk. The next time you sit down to write a blog, say what you want to write out loud, then write it down. It doesn't matter if it sounds silly at first. You can always go back and edit it later. It's okay to be conversational when you write a blog because it makes your blog more relatable. A blog that sounds like you is more personable than a stuffy research paper. Loosen up your writing. Get rid of the fancy words. Don't be afraid to make a few jokes or tell a story. All of those things are real, and they're the things that people want to read.
You don't edit your blogs
You may think that your blog is done the second you're finished writing. It sounded great in your head, so it must be a great read – right? Uhhh...not so fast. Your blog, no matter how great you think it is, still needs editing.
Nobody's writing is perfect – not even mine. Even the most experienced writers edit their work because they realize that their first drafts aren't great. Once you're done writing a blog, take some time to re-read your piece and look for areas where you can improve. You'll be surprised how many typos, run on sentences and grammatical errors you make when you're focused getting your thoughts out. If you're not good at finding errors on your own, use an app such as the Hemingway App. It helps to identify hard to read sentences and phrases, instances of passive voice, unnecessary adverbs and more.
Also, check your writing to make sure it flows. Make sure that the meat of your blog actually relates to the title of your post. I can't begin to explain how many times I've written a blog just to realize it doesn't quite match the title I started with. If this is the case, rework your title and make it something that fits. Just because you started with a title doesn't mean you have to stick with it.
Your writing isn't focused
When you start blogging, it's easy to pick a topic that's too broad. Even experienced writers do this. But what separates the experienced bloggers from the newbies is their ability to focus their writing. Avoid blog topics such as "making money with blogging" or "how to do inbound marketing." Sure, these topics sound great, but they're too broad. You'll find that you won't be able to write about everything, and the reader will miss out on important details.
Try narrowing down your blog topics. If you find a really awesome blog topic but it's too broad, break it up into several blog posts. This will give you the opportunity to go into more detail and provide valuable content to your audience. Keeping your posts specific means that there's less of a chance you'll get sidetracked and off topic. The second you find yourself switching to a new topic, start a new blog post. Your audience will appreciate it.
If you're new to blogging and find that you're making these mistakes, don't be too hard on yourself. Even the best bloggers make mistakes. By taking these suggestions, you'll be well on your way to becoming an experienced (and awesome) blogger!