Writing is a science between the perfect blend of content, personal voice and capturing the reader’s attention. Unfortunately, for many, writing can be difficult and through a few small problems, good writing can see an early grave.
Writing, like many good habits, takes an exemplary amount of time to become proficient and pick up on subtle clues which engulf many readers into an enjoyable experience. The crafting of a single thought into a coherent sentence is enough to drive many away but for those that stick with it, there are still five things which can kill good writing.
Killer #1: An uneventful headline
Writing great articles is a blend between capturing the reader through the title and delivering your promise throughout the content.
The best example of the importance of the first impression can instantly be recognizable when browsing for books. They often say “don’t judge a book by its cover” which is absolutely true but in order to get people to even pick up the book and examine it further, it’s important to catch them with a sticky headline.
Headlines should appeal to an emotional drive. Words such as passion, love, explosive, strong and killer are all power words which hit right at home on an emotional level. The quickest way to kill good writing is not taking the time to craft a great title which sucks a reader in.
Killer #2: Not delivering on content
One of the most frustrating things many readers experience is to be tricked by a catchy headline only to find the content lackluster; this is often a bait and switch. The reader impression becomes more important than the actual content and delivery to many writers and is a quick way to kill off a great article.
Additionally, readers which become regularly burned by misleading titles are detrimental to the writing community at large. Your best title that took hours to craft could go unnoticed because a few sour apples spoiled the reading experience for others.
Whenever a new article is crafted, don’t just deliver great content, over-deliver! Over delivering content will keep a reader hooked and will most likely lead to them sharing the article with others.
Killer #3: Grammar mistakes and typos
The flow an article will help engage a reader to stay involved, dig deep into the information and capture the imagination of those that read it. Much like a great movie absorbs its watchers, writing needs to keep the reader engaged at all time without breaking the conversation.
Think of anytime during a movie where you see a prop guy in the background. Your concentration on this amazing movie suddenly comes to an abrupt end as it breaks the “magic”. Writing has these same parallels with capturing a reader; one of the largest problems which cause good writing to go bad is to have grammatical errors and typos throughout the article.
A simple spell check, which takes literally seconds, is all that’s needed to keep the reader engaged. Don’t be lazy and skip this step less you plan to kill off your article.
Killer #4: Not having a voice
There’s something to be said about great writing: it always has a voice behind it. Why does it always seem that textbooks in school always seem to be utterly boring? These textbooks are written so generically to include information that there is no personal flare.
When writing articles, it’s important to add your own voice throughout the content, retell stories and write as if you were having a conversation with the reader. Keep the reading level on the same level as your reader; don’t overload the content with terminology that’s only understood by those within the field or topic. Leave your writing open for everyone to enjoy.
Killer #5: Not structuring content
Content on the web is best when it’s skimmable. Unlike books which are written often in a linear progression from cover to cover, web writing needs to be broken down into sections which people can quickly glance over, understand the information and get on with their day. People don’t have all the time in the world to read; they lead busy lives so don’t hold them up!
Likewise, it’s equally important to break an article up into manageable chunks through headings, subheadings and text formatting. The human eye is trained to pick up on important information; you can influence the mind by highlighting the important details through formatting.
The number one killer of great writing is keeping it all within a block of text – often dubbed “a wall of text”. This information is so dense that it becomes utterly impossible to skim and digest the information without becoming dizzied. Don’t make the mistake of bock text within your writing; break down each article so readers can absorb it.
It’s unfortunate that a lot of good writing is killed off from common writing mistakes. These problems with writing are often spurred by deep seeded traditions with each language such as formatting, grammar and word selection. The most important thing to realize is that a reader wills much rather has an article which entertains and gives them information than one that is written much like a college essay.
Avoid these five things and you’ll never have a problem when writing good content.