For everyone who wants to embrace the freelance writing career, there are plenty of helpful materials online to teach you exactly what you should be doing, and how, and preferably when and where, too. But I am of the opinion that the best lessons are the ones that show you clearly what you shouldn’t do. Here’s an ode to the worst mistakes of copywriting.
#1. You don’t stick to basic SEO rules
The first and most basic lesson is that online writing can turn into a successful business if you're being viewed and noticed. In other words, not obeying the rules of SEO – Search Engine Optimization – will get you nowhere. Your choice of keywords, aka the search terms that you want to address with your copy, will define whether readers can find your article or not.
For instance, picking general keywords is a pointless exercise. There's tons of competition! Targeting specific phrases is a better plan. Remember, though, keywords are only useful if you know where to place them naturally in your text, starting with headings and continuing with anchor texts and media names.
#2. You don’t research your topic
Do you remember that time in college when you tried to write essays without opening a single book? If you found it difficult to produce a quality paper, it’s likely that the lack of research had something to do with it. Similarly, when you work as a freelance writer, you need to approach your topics in the same way that a student approaches essays. Except that you don't need to hit the library for your research. You can find plenty of updated, reliable material online. There’s nothing worse than producing an incomplete article that doesn’t provide sufficient information or that delivers fake data.
#3. You don’t protect your content
Online content is accessible, findable and therefore stealable. However, you can protect your original content, using this guide on the DMCA functions. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act is a US law that punishes the infringement of digital rights. In other words, if you notice that someone is making a profit from your original content you can use the DMCA to protect yourself. The only hiccup is that you need to be on the look for potential digital abuse. Setting up Google Alerts can help, too.
#4. You are too generic
Do you know how many new articles are published online every day? The answer is TOO MANY. At least, too many for your content to get noticed if you don’t provide any specific information. Generic text is completely pointless. Get a niche and stick to it.
Niche blogs and niche content follow one specific purpose and they stick with a target audience. Niche content allows you, as a writer, to attract an interested audience. Generic content might seem easier to write – it involves less research time – but it’s often categorized as random, if not placeholder, content.
#5. You think you are too good for proofreading
Lets get things rite from teh startt: nobody enjoy to read a txt ful of mistaks.
Spelling mistakes, wrong punctuation and bad spacing rules make your content feel less intelligent. Readers won't take you seriously.
#6. You lack originality
An original piece of content doesn’t mean that you need to reinvent your industry to attract readers constantly. You can curate existing content – even the content produced by others – assuming that you do it smartly. Listing useful posts about a specific topic is a great way of repurposing content that is already available. Or, you could also write an opinion piece about someone else’s article or page, which allows you to reuse their content while adding a new angle to it.
#7. You don’t follow the trends
Writing great content takes time, but it doesn’t matter how long you spend on a piece. If it’s not related to any current trend or event, then it’ll go unnoticed. A good example of what not to do would be a Christmas article posted during the summer holiday. Nobody would care to search for it, let alone read it. Follow the trends to attract your readers.