Creating unique and engaging content that will stand out is easier said than done, especially in today’s competitive marketing. Content marketing isn’t a one-size-fits-all and there’s no sure-fire way of doing things for each type of brand or topic.
Fortunately, while there are a dozen different strategies you can ‘do’ for your content, there’s only a handful of universal ‘don’ts’ you should live by. The best place to start checking that your content is doing well is by first crossing out what you shouldn’t do. Find out what these are below:
- Don’t plagiarise content
If content writing had a Bible, then this would be the first commandment. There’s no graver sin in content writing than copying someone else’s work and claiming it as your own. For one, you could get penalised or charged with copyright infringement if you happen to use a patented or copyrighted work. It will also jeopardise your brand’s credibility and make it untrustworthy for your target audience.
Additionally, if you want to write unique content, then plagiarism is the opposite end of the spectrum of what you’re aiming for. You can use outside sources to draw inspiration from but nothing beats knowledge from your own experience.
If possible, gain a first-hand understanding of your topic, then combine your ideas with your references and say it all in your own words to make an article that’s unique and will stand out over competitors.
- Don’t sacrifice quality over quantity
Here’s the truth about your readers on the internet: they rarely ever read every word in an article, and with good reason! They’re on your page for one purpose only and that’s to get the answer to their questions.
It’s common for readers to simply skim through blocks of text and summarise their main takeaways. Make it easy for them by getting rid of anything unnecessary. If readers find that your content is not only fun but has value, is informative and to the point, then you can establish your brand as an expert in the market.
Don’t sacrifice the quality of your articles for the sake of increasing the word count. As they say, less is more and it’s true in content marketing more than anywhere else.
- Don’t be all over the place
The easiest way to lose your readers is by rambling about different ideas all at once. Keeping your article focused on the topic goes hand-in-hand with well-written content. This is possible by creating an outline or structure of the most crucial talking points.
Start with an impactful introduction that lays the foundation of your article. Then, divide the body of your content into paragraphs that discuss each talking point at length.
Every paragraph should have one topic sentence that succeeding sentences will elaborate on. To keep it sweet and short, split your content into lists, bullet points and shorter paragraphs if possible.
Finally, conclude with a summary of these ideas and end with a hopeful call to action that will engage your readers.
- Don’t forgo editing or revising
Like any field, content writing is a process of trial and error. No seasoned writer ever stops on the first draft, and sometimes, the best content is the fruition of multiple revisions and editing.
Don’t type in the last word of your article and then click submit. Let it be for a couple of hours and come back to it with a fresh mind. Create a checklist of all the things you should look for when editing. This includes checking for grammatical errors and making sure your structure is cohesive and concise. If there are brand guidelines that must be followed, include those in your checklist as well!
Lastly, you can read it out loud to see if your style and tone flow well and will engage your readers enough. If you have someone else to proofread it, all the better as they can help you fill in blind spots you might’ve missed.
- Don’t just write for SEO
Undoubtedly, SEO requirements are important—keywords and such help your articles rank on search engines and widen your reach. However, only focusing on SEO and bombarding your content with keywords will compromise its clarity and delivery.
Remember, while Google will help your article rank more, your readers are still the ones who will convert your clicks into sales. Your consumers are human and not search engines, so your content shouldn’t sound robotic and dull!
Focus on providing valuable and good content first and make sure it isn’t lacking in personality. Connect with your readers to retain their interest, which will make them want to stay on your page and do more.