5 Content Quicksand Traps – Don't let them suck you in!

from Annette 

You’re happily typing. Fresh content is pouring freely from you and onto the page when all of a sudden – schlurp. You’re up to your knees in quicksand. You’ve not watched where you were going and now you’re knee deep in muck.

Don’t squirm – here’s a rope to pull yourself out from the trap you’ve fallen into.

Trap #1 Perhaps you’ve fallen into the “expert” trap. (I do this from time to time.) You’ve forgotten that your audience may not have the basic information to understand what you’re talking about. This includes using jargon, techspeak and forgetting to define the language you’re using – particularly if it is unique to your industry.

Use this branch to pull yourself out – Even when you’re writing on an advanced topic, definitions and examples help clarify industry concepts without detracting from the article.

Trap #2 The opposite of the “expert” trap is the “beginner” trap. This is when your content is so basic, it’s boring – even to you. Give your audience some credit.

Use this technique to pull yourself out – An article for beginners may include basic definitions, processes and information however it can also introduce them to advanced topics. Giving your audience a hint beyond the basics will keep them coming back to you to learn more.

Trap #3 If you’ve fallen into the “Only one right answer” trap – you’re limiting yourself and your content. Yes, tips articles work, yes how to articles work however they’re not the only answer. There is a wealth of information on “How to write content” however what’s ‘right’ may not be what works for you and your target audience.

Pull yourself out with this – Write what works. Write what feels comfortable for you and then test it to see if it works. There are many right answers – find yours.

Trap #4 “Too much data not enough content” trap. Ever hear the Stephen Wright joke -”83% of statistics are made up.”

I love data and statistics. You can find data to support just about any claim (please don’t make it up – there’s no need and it could get you in heaps of trouble). Data adds credibility to content and it adds authority. However, too much data just makes content difficult to read.

Retract yourself with this – Use relevant data where it fits then back it up with explanations and valuable content.

Trap #5 “Personality” trap. This trap catches you in two ways – some push themselves and their personality into an article filling it with personal stories, anecdotes, jokes and the like – others lack confidence in their personality – the result is very dry and boring material.

Grasp this rope and hold on – Let the content flow. Don’t force personality – yours will shine through quite nicely if you simply write an article, book, or post with intention. What is your goal for your content? To educate? To help resolve a situation? To entertain? Don’t hide or force personality. Write your content with your goal in mind and personality will shine through.

Content quicksand is easy to fall into. The good news is, a rope, branch or helping hand are always close by!

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