Building a reputation is a very difficult task for writers, and badly written content can ruin your reputation in no time. If you are writing content - be it for your website or for a guest blog, producing top-notch content should be your priority. Excellent content can still fade into obscurity if it is anything but original.
Writing on a topic that's been widely explored is a sure way to get your idea drowned even before it reaches the readers. Great content gives a brand a unique voice, visibility and reputation, increasing its brand awareness. This is the reason why B2B and B2C companies are paying greater attention to the content they deal with.
You could produce an excellent guide on PPC marketing, but with thousands of other great guides, including a few mediocre ones out there, it becomes challenging to get an audience; and furthermore, to make them read your content from start to finish. Life has no guarantees, and yet there are ways in which you can tilt the odds in your favor. This article lays out ways to avoid writing content that will never be read. Want to know what they are?
1. Use an active voice, not passive
One of the biggest sins of writing is to write in passive voice. It may be a bit difficult for those who are not highly knowledgeable in grammar to follow. Passive voice tends to take the action away from the reader. Passive voice is weak, sluggish and requires more words to write - when the same meaning can be made with fewer words. Politicians are guilty of using passive voice. You may hear them say something like “mistakes were made” when the right thing to be said is: “I made a mistake”. Active voice is written in the simple present tense.
This is not saying that the use of passive voice is unacceptable. There are times when passive voice can add glamor to the sentence. For example, when the press was circulating a false message on the death of Mark Twain, he sent a telegram where he said that the report of his death was exaggerated. It sounded better than simply saying, “I am not dead”. Passive voice is used incessantly when the writer is unsure of what to say. So make sure that passive voice doesn't become the reason why your content is not receiving the attention it deserves.
2. Choose inconspicuous topics
It is unlikely you will find a topic that has not been extensively covered, especially if you are dealing with marketing. You will have a larger audience if you narrow your topic down. The moment a topic idea gets into your head, the first thing to do is research. Look online to see the quality of content available on the topic. If there are high-quality articles already available, it may be a bad idea to forge ahead. If the contents are out-of-date or appear, it presents a good opportunity for you to fill the gaps.
If the available contents are too narrow, go broad - and vice versa. If there are too many apathetic contents available, you can create traction by approaching the topic from a less-viewed angle.
3. Avoid producing content that is spam-ridden
Contents that are overtly ridden with keywords may have worked in 2009, but are definitely rebuffed in 2017. Spam-ridden content is hard to read because the message of each sentence is lost to the dense usage of keywords. Readers are easily put off by such writing. Even worse, Google will identify that your content is based on link-building, and they will penalize you.
Research has revealed that 59 percent of Britons will not use a company product or service if they discover the website is laden with poor grammar. After writing contents for your website, read it to yourself. If it doesn’t make sense to you, then it won’t to the reader either. Don’t make it obvious when you are using keywords; make it blend seamlessly into the content.
4. Invest time in the quality of your content
Higher Google ranking means you have a higher chance of being heard. Google has upgraded its algorithm so it has become more sophisticated. The algorithm analyzes and interprets textual contents. When you produce contents that are too short or mediocre, you are not going far. Invest time in content creation, do proper research, cite sources and analyze data in a way that adds significance to your content. The word count and the keyword density should not be your priority. If you come up with a masterpiece, it will rise to the top naturally.
Little typos can say a lot about a company’s attention to detail. You can easily get rid of typos by running your content through online tools like Grammarly. Many companies usually outsource their content to organizations that are dedicated to producing content. This is often a better option, especially if your employees are not highly knowledgeable in the field of content development, or when you are not an English native but writing for an English audience.
5. Present a new idea altogether
Plagiarism is a serious offence in writing - whether it is informal, academic or official content. The newer trend has been dubbed repurposing. Repurposing is when a writer rehashes a work by rephrasing its words so that it is not detected as plagiarism. In this case, they are really not saying anything new - and there is no way you will stand out by doing that.
Plagiarism is worse because you risk getting involved in a legal battle, or being severely penalized by Google. Cutting and pasting sections of existing articles are a sign of mental laziness on the part of the writer. To avoid such a situation, it is paramount that every writer passes their article through plagiarism checkers like Copyscape, etc.
6. Create topics that answer FAQs
If you do a random search - especially on forums - you will see burning issues that people need answers to. Your topic should be centred on answering those questions. No matter how good your content may be, if people are not searching for such topics, you will still suffer a low audience. Burning topics generate the most interest, and therein lies your content.
When people are faced with a new task to perform, the first thing they do is to perform a random search on the web for clues. If you produce content of high quality that answers their questions in the best way possible, you are sure to get views off the charts.
7. Quantity will get you nowhere
Not too long ago, the easiest way to gain a strong Google presence was to churn out hundreds of keyword-stuffed articles. Google has put an end to that era. Keeping up with quantity means working on a strict deadline. This gives room for typos and spam-like contents. Now, it may be a better option to keep to a few articles that are top-quality than to undermine quality for quantity. A good number of successful blogs publish only a few times a week, but still get a good ranking because their content is superb.
8. Promote rather than perish
There is a home for every piece of writing, and it is your duty to find a home for your content. Promotion ends only when you quit. This means that it is not enough to set up automatic social sharing and think that your job is done. You have got to share your content with other bloggers. Find those searching for your content, and share it with them. Part with a few notes for advertising purposes, and draw an audience to your page. You can’t start a journey and quit when you are halfway there - your content is looking to you to take it to its rightful destination - its readers.
To be realistic, not every piece is going to be Google's frontpage hit, no matter how good a content developer you are. But patience, perseverance and resisting the temptation to compromise on your quality will get you a moderate audience, at the least.
Having read this article, what do you think are the ways to spot bad content? If you can think of some other ways to avoid writing distasteful content, then do come and share it with us in the comments section below. We would love to hear from you.