Have you ever wondered why experts continually pay for costly training programs and refresher courses? These are people who already know virtually everything there is to know in their industry.
Why do they waste money on things they already know?
Because they understand the biggest threat to success: the most dangerous mistake is a mistake you overlook, don’t know or don’t acknowledge. That’s the worst kind of all writing mistakes new freelance writers can make.
Continuous training and refresher courses will help you identify areas you overlooked, didn’t know, or simply forgot.
So, don’ t just skim through this article and forget it.
Read it keenly, bookmark it and recheck it when you’re feeling brash and cocky about your writing prowess.
Do you know these 15 writing mistakes new freelance writers are making?
Many writing mistakes new freelance writers make easily disappear once you sort out your underlying motivation for choosing writing as a career.
If you’re writing for money, your focus will be getting as much money as possible for as little effort as possible.
That means, if you can get away with horrible writing, you’ll do it.
You won’t expend too much effort in polishing up your writing skill, as long as the money keeps coming. In fact, you’ll hardly improve anything if it won’t produce any monetary benefit.
Just imagine if your doctor acted like that.
You should have at least a bit of passion for writing – not just focusing on the money. That’s the only way you’ll get to correct even the tiniest of mistakes, solely for the pride of producing a masterpiece.
If you have a passion for what you’re doing, even when it doesn’t make too much money, you’ll eventually find a way to monetize it handsomely. Like the guys who started cryptocurrency writing before it was even a thing – they are now in high demand.
What if your client requested you to write something that his target readers don’t want or need?
Would you do it just to please the client?
Would you instead correct the client and help him see why he should change the topic?
Unfortunately, too many writers don’t care much about the target audience. They simply want to write content for their clients and get paid fast.
That’s how many end up only with one-time clients.
Yes, you’ll get paid for the article, but since the content won’t help your client’s business grow, he definitely won’t come back for more content.
You might need an editor to overcome this mistake.
How do you determine that a topic is interesting enough to write about?
Is it just because you find it interesting?
Well, it might not be interesting at all to your readers. Maybe the target audience is highly experienced professionals who know just about everything in their field. If you have little knowledge in such an area, everything will look interesting to you, but boring to them.
Even your writing style should appeal to the target audience.
Mabe, the target readers love shocking stories, but you load your content with humor.
Just because a particular style of writing was popular in the past doesn’t mean it will engage your readers today.
Maybe the readers are bored with it and want something new.
Understandably, being new to the freelance writing industry, you might not have the capacity to produce something out-of-the-ordinary. You’re trying to do what others do because you don’t know any better.
Unfortunately, that’s the wrong way to go about it.
Writing is like producing a movie. How would you like to watch one movie one hundred times? Even if it’s the best movie in the world, few people will ever want to watch it repeatedly.
Similarly, your audience doesn’t want to read your content only to find that it’s the same as a million other articles.
This is probably the most common of writing mistakes new freelance writers make.
Often, you can quickly identify an amateur writer by merely looking at the content to find this mistake.
It’s a dry, dispassionate, tasteless compilation of words.
People don’t want just to read and understand with their minds, they also want you to tug at their souls, woo their hearts, and capture their imagination. They aren’t there just to read your content, but to experience an exhilarating adventure through your words.
How do you do that?
Make your content personal, relatable and friendly. And spice it up with emotional words, plus your personality and style.
For example, readers may find it hard to comprehend the impact of a Google algorithm update that causes hundreds of sites to lose ranking.
But they’ll definitely want to see how an influencer who they admire was affected by the Google algorithm update (and maybe even how he almost lost his entire source of income, ended up with a strained relationship, nearly committed suicide and became homeless).
Another trap new freelance writers can fall into is following influencers blindly.
You’re probably trying to learn all you can about writing. So, you religiously follow the advice of top freelance writers.
After all, they can’t be wrong.
Well, maybe not.
Of course, they typically give sound advice, but not everything they say will apply to everyone.
For instance, some say to write personal stories, but your audience might be different from theirs. Others might encourage you to fill your content with in-depth data, but that might not apply to all types of content.
You should understand why influencers say what they say so you can know how to apply it in your writing.
This might be one of the silliest writing mistakes new freelance writers make.
It’s well and good to write an SEO-optimized article, so it gets ranked high on Google SERPs (search engine result pages). But, the point of getting top SERP ranking is so people find and read the article.
That’s what many SEO writers forget.
Yes, Google can rank your content highly, but all that effort is utterly worthless if people don’t read it.
Of all the writing mistakes new freelance writers make this might be the most underrated.
It’s just a headline, what’s the big deal?
Well, if you’ll write a poor headline, you shouldn’t even bother about writing a great article – hardly anyone will read it.
Your headline is what inspires people to read your content. That short, simple sentence tells people that spending the next few minutes reading several thousand words is a risk worth taking. It tells them that taking the time to read your article is far more valuable than spending that time doing anything else.
In fact, a great headline can boost traffic by as much as 500%!
The moment someone starts reading the introduction to your article, she’s trying to figure out whether reading the rest of the content will be a waste of time or not.
If your introduction doesn’t hook readers in, you’ll lose those readers as fast as you got them.
And if there’s one thing clients hate it’s a high bounce rate.
That means people are clicking out of the client’s site as soon as they click onto it. The client won’t even have time to sell anything to those visitors.
If your content is the cause of such high bounce rates, you’ll soon be out of a job.
Therefore, take time to learn about creating powerful introductions like this one:
If you don’t have an organized writing process, you’ll likely have a problem getting consistent work.
Gosh, is it that serious?
Yes, without an organized writing process you’ll hardly deliver consistent quality. You’ll win over a client with your first job and lose him with your second.
When you get a topic, do you start writing after picking the first Google search result on that topic?
How many articles do you review before you’re confident that you have the right content?
How many times do your restructure your content?
This is one of the writing mistakes new freelance writers make deliberately since they don’t realize it’s wrong.
You’ve probably been often told to write in-depth content. However, in pursuit of that goal, you’re probably going off topic.
Yes, it’s good to include a whole bunch of data, examples, and illustrations, but you should never lose focus in your writing.
Always retain your reader’s attention to the main topic.
When engrossed in your exciting examples, readers can quickly lose focus on the main topic. That would be disastrous for sales copy.
Have you ever written a long essay post only for readers to ask, “I don’t get it. What is this all about?”
Worse still, no one can remember a single thing of the thousands of words you’ve written.
And don’t even think of pointing the finger at your readers.
No, they aren’t intellectually challenged or afflicted by poor memory. Web content should be so well written that primary school kids can understand it. Even if you’re writing on the most complex scientific concept, make it easy to understand.
This is no place to show off your repertoire of the English language.
When people understand it, they’ll remember it.
Make it more memorable by using such memory enhancing techniques as repetition and creating an emotional association.
Of all the writing mistakes new freelance writers make, this one shows a complete ignorance of your readers.
Just think about it, if someone spends a whole minute (that’s an incredibly long time spent ona a web page) reading your content all the way to the end, that must be a passionate fan. All the rest have probably already clicked off after reading the title, at the introduction or halfway through the article.
So, this passionate reader gets to the end of your tantalizing article only to find a silly conclusion that could have been written by a two-year-old.
Or, you don’t include a conclusion at all.
Instead of sealing the deal with this passionate reader, by getting them to subscribe, comment or share your content, you end up souring the relationship.
Don’t do that.
You need a conclusion that’s as powerful as the introduction. Like this one:
This is one of the writing mistakes new freelance writers make when they have little information about their clients.
If you don’t know your clients’ business, you can’t help her achieve her goals using your content.
Sterile content doesn’t produce:
That also means your client isn’t getting any ROI (return on investment) from your content. Hence, if shes’ not making money from your content, her business will flop and your writing jobs will fizzle out.
This is one of the worst of all the writing mistakes new freelance writers make.
Plagiarism in all its forms is an insult to the writing profession.
With soft plagiarism, the writer puts in just enough originality for the copied content not to be detected by search engines and other plagiarism detection tools. That’s how you end up with a whole list of strikingly similar articles on Googles’ search engine results page.
If that’s the extent of writing you can do, even robots will soon take your job.
Some mistakes are unavoidable. And the best writers make mistakes too.
So, don’t give up just because you did something wrong.
You might mess up here and there, but always learn from your mistakes and improve. But remember, continually repeating the same mistakes will eventually ruin your writing career.
Hi, I’m Mercy Mmbone. My mission is to help beginner freelance writers find success online. Even if you don’t have a degree, becoming a successful freelance writer is not as difficult as you’d think. The most important thing you’ll need to get started is self-motivation.
I’m honored to have worked with many popular companies including Ring Central and Freelancer FAQs.