Avoid These Writing Pitfalls

Avoid These Writing Pitfalls


You’re smart to invest your time and resources into great written content for your web site’s blog. It accomplishes so much for your brand: it communicates information about your new products and services to your customers, reminds them that your page is a great place to learn new information about happenings in your industry, and boosts your search engine rankings, to name just a few of the great benefits.

You’re probably generating new content all the time, and it’s understandable if you sometimes feel pressured by the idea of delivering original material on a daily or almost-daily basis. We’ve given you some ideas about how to bust through your writer’s block and brainstorm some hot topics—and how to turn your idea into a blog post, since it’s not always easy to meet your word minimum. Today, we’re addressing a new aspect of your content writing: the grammar and style. Sometimes it’s just a matter of being more self-aware. We have a handy checklist of “don’ts” to avoid when you’re writing on a deadline. Check them out, memorize them, and banish them from your writing habits to streamline the whole process. You’ll be glad you did!

Avoid the Passive Voice

If you didn’t cover active versus passive voice in high school or college English class—or if you need a refresher—here’s a good one. In summary, a sentence that uses the passive voice makes something a subject, when, if you were to use active voice, it would actually be an object. In general, it makes sentences feel weaker. For example, you could say “These amazing products will be released in time for Black Friday,” but a stronger expression would be “We’re amazing releasing these products in time for Black Friday.” The second sentence, which is in active voice, tells the reader something that the first doesn’t: that it’s you who are doing the releasing.

There are exceptions to this rule, of course (don’t you love the English language?), but in general, active voice feels more direct and authoritative. If a sentence truly feels like it belongs in passive voice, it’s fine to use it, but don’t make it your default construction when writing a blog or other content.

Lose the Words You Don’t Need

Here’s a great primer on unnecessary words. You want to be concise in every statement you make. Don’t flesh out parts of sentences with extra words that don’t provide additional information to the reader. It just feels awkward. If you’re trying to reach a word minimum and falling short, take a minute to think about what other ideas you can share with the reader. It’s much better to provide additional meaningful facts or opinions than it is to be overly wordy.

Check Out These Commonly Misused Words

What’s wrong with using one of these sentences in a blog post?

  • We can deliver your order with less headaches than our competitors during this busy time.
  • You won’t have to deal with the stressful side affects of the holiday shopping season when you browse from the comfort of your own home.
  • This is literally our coolest release yet.

If you determined that each statement contains a misused word, great job! Here’s a handy list of commonly misused words and expressions that can make an otherwise great post feel amateurish.

Don’t be caught in these traps—learn the rules for what keeps content strong now, and you’ll significantly improve your writing style. It’s a gift that keeps on giving!

 

  • By Jody Mullen
  • Published on November 14th, 2013