How to Spot the Weakest Part of Your Blog Post (and What to Do About It)


What does a rough draft of a blog post have in common with all the other blog posts by all the other content creators in your niche?

Too much.

I’m sure you’re aware that there are countless other writers musing about the same ideas you are, and in similar ways.

The goal of a typical first draft is to transform your scattered thoughts into a cohesive article that explains a topic to your target audience. But why should readers choose your content over another writer’s work?

If you don’t take the time to revise your rough draft in a way that shows you are an authority, and that you have a solution that isn’t available anywhere else, they won’t.

To help you narrow down the sections of your blog posts that could use improvement, here are eight common weaknesses I see over and over in drafts that are sent to me for editing.

And, more important, quick and easy ways to strengthen each one.

Weakness #1: You have an undefined strategy

  • You haven’t clearly defined why you’re writing
  • Your content has no purpose
  • You only write when you’re inspired

Do you know any writers who have started blogs and then quit after a short period of time? (Have you done that yourself?)

Don’t make the mistake of writing without a plan. An editorial calendar holds you accountable for your work and helps you produce focused content at a steady pace.

How to fix it:

  • Set goals for your writing before you begin
  • Keep a schedule
  • Accomplish your objectives

Each piece of writing you produce should serve a larger goal that you have for your platform.

Before readers can engage with your work, you need to know the intention behind every word you type and keep this aim in mind as you write new content.

Weakness #2: You make a promise you don’t keep

  • Your headline doesn’t match your text
  • Your advice is not realistic
  • You don’t deliver

Novice and seasoned bloggers alike occasionally get carried away with smoke-and-mirror content — the type of writing that makes big claims without any helpful advice to support the objective of the post.

How to fix it:

  • Start small
  • Know your limits
  • Promote your strengths

You don’t need to claim to have answers to all the world’s problems to attract readers to your blog. In fact, readers enjoy vulnerability. You’re human just like they are, and it’s important to reinforce that notion.

Instead of pretending to be the world’s foremost expert, help the people you can help. Explain your specific expertise in a straightforward way that doesn’t make outlandish assertions, and that follows through on your promises.

Weakness #3: You write generic information

  • Your topic is vague
  • You don’t educate
  • Your article could be written by anyone

When you don’t provide unique, ultra-specific, urgent, and useful content for your readers, they lose interest quickly and won’t remember you.

And if you’re easily forgotten, you don’t get an opportunity to build your reputation and establish authority.

How to fix it:

  • Have an opinion
  • Do research
  • Establish a brand

Writing is hard work. You don’t need me to tell you that.

Effective blog posts require loads of creative energy. They’ll wear you out but also help frame your presence as an impressive online content creator.

Remember that anyone can type words into WordPress; it’s your job to show readers a fresh perspective.

Weakness #4: You don’t use subheads

  • You don’t guide your readers
  • You have long blocks of text
  • You miss engagement opportunities

Subheads are another chance to capture a reader’s attention. How? If your headline doesn’t attract a reader, then a phrase she views in a subhead may change her mind.

Well-crafted subheads are like a safety net. Your readers may be slipping away, but a strong subhead may catch them and bring them back to your message.

How to fix it:

  • Tell a story
  • Write numbered lists or bullet points
  • Add images

Each section of your blog post should keep a reader engaged. Making your writing easy to read is a simple way to hold your reader’s interest.

As you edit your content, break up your text in appropriate ways: you could use strong titles to introduce different sections or a variety of images that complement your topic.

Weakness #5: You go off on too many tangents

  • You lose focus
  • You ramble
  • You imitate another writer

In attempting to make posts charismatic, you may insert too many personal anecdotes that distract readers from your topic.

Similarly, you may love another writer’s style, so you copy their tone and voice. While you may think a certain tone and voice also matches your personality, it may actually sound inauthentic and contrived.

How to fix it:

As you practice writing, you learn that you can’t express all of your ideas in one article. You won’t communicate effectively if you do. You may need to narrow down your objective while you proofread and save extra thoughts for other posts.

Weakness #6: You use too many words

  • Your sentences are too long
  • Your paragraphs are too long
  • Your posts are too long

You’re probably a writer because you have a lot to say and you like expressing yourself. Unfortunately, both of those qualities often serve you, the writer, more than the reader.

Your content needs to be succinct and short-attention-span friendly.

How to fix it:

  • Simplify your ideas
  • Use word limits
  • Think like a reader

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with long-form content as long as every piece of information in the article is captivating and relevant. But if you make your readers strain to comprehend your points, reading your writing won’t be a fun experience.

You can practice writing with self-imposed word limits to help you learn to trim down your text.

Weakness #7: You use trite language

  • You repeat clichés
  • You write boring expressions
  • You present ordinary concepts

One of the negative consequences of using phrases and sayings that are commonplace and overused is that your readers will often misinterpret your message. Your true point often gets lost in translation.

While you think a trite expression perfectly sums up your intentions, it may leave a reader confused.

How to fix it:

  • Get creative
  • Be specific
  • Innovate

Transcribe your message with detailed language. If a platitude comes to mind while you’re writing, jot it down in your first draft; just make sure to refine it when you edit your copy.

Your initial ideas can help you craft unique text that puts a new spin on stale language.

Weakness #8: You have no call to action

  • You don’t offer a next step
  • You don’t facilitate dialogue
  • You limit your exposure

Even if you just wrote The Mother of All Blog Posts, don’t assume readers will remember who you are and stay in touch. Suggest their next move.

How to fix it:

  • Make your intentions explicit
  • Present options
  • Continue the conversation

At the end of your posts, let readers know how to take the next step — whether it’s subscribing to your blog, following you on social media, or emailing you to set up a consultation.

The end of your post is a chance to expand your relationship with your readers by letting them know how you can connect further.

Now over to you …

Which type of weaknesses appear in your first drafts (or maybe even your final drafts) most often?

What is one step you plan to take the next time you edit to fix it?

Let’s head on over to Google+ to discuss the best remedies!

Editor’s note: If you found this article useful, we suggest you read this post next: How to Write 16 Knockout Articles When You Only Have One Wimpy Idea.

Flickr Creative Commons Image via Edith Soto.

Stefanie Flaxman is the Associate Editor for Copyblogger Media. She is also the sole proprietor of Revision Fairy — a unique editorial consulting service that helps small businesses with their copy editing and proofreading needs. Stay connected with Stefanie on Google+.

The post How to Spot the Weakest Part of Your Blog Post (and What to Do About It) appeared first on Copyblogger.

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