Five Common Content Mistakes: And How to Fix Them
"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."~ Albert Einstein
Mistakes are inevitable. Yet with so many resources at our disposal, we have opportunities to avoid and correct mistakes that compromise the quality and integrity of our content.
Presenting your clients with clean, crisp content will help you stand out in a crowded digital world, painting you as a trustworthy source of legal knowledge. As such, it is important to check your content for these common errors.
#1: Ignoring the visual side of content
The Problem: Large chunks of text are simply not appealing to read. The digital sphere is increasingly visual, with bloggers and business owners employing crisp, quality images on their sites. Unfortunately, a site with little or no visual appeal will not fare well in organic search results.
The Fix: A few small tweaks can dramatically increase your site’s visual appeal. Check out sites that offer free stock images (I wrote about this topic here). Also, most website platforms include free plugins like “click to tweet” boxes, "hero" images with a textual overlay, and visually interesting headers.
Adding a few items to break up blocks of text will also make your content easier to read from a mobile device, which is critical. In fact, a recent Wall Street Journal article notes that an increasingly high percentage of people are reading blogs from their smart phones rather than their laptops or tablets, so having a mobile-friendly website or blog will tremendously enhance its readability.
#2: Misusing Hyperlinks
The Problem: Including external links and backlinks is a helpful way to increase your website's SEO, but many people either 1) use too many links, or 2) set up the links so that when clicked, the readers are immediately redirected to another web page.
The Fix: Avoid using hyperlinks in every paragraph. As with "keyword stuffed" articles, search engines actually demote content that is packed with hyperlinks. Additionally, when including a hyperlink – particularly if it is a link to another source – be sure to set it so it opens in a new tab. That way, your reader will not be automatically redirected to another site, causing you to unintentionally lose traffic.
#3: Misusing Social Media
The Problem: The most well-constructed content in the world will not help you if you do not share it throughout your social media platforms. However, simply pasting the first paragraph of your recent blog articles into a Facebook post is not the most effective way to share and promote your content.
The Fix: The ideal posts for Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram, and other social media platforms differ. The same types of captions are not effective across all of these platforms. Follow leaders in your practice area or industry to see how they structure their posts on each of their social media accounts. Take note of things like the length and frequency of their posts, how they structure the content, and what types of images they use.
BONUS: Tools like Hootsuite or built-in scheduling features can help you manage your social media presence, allowing you to draft and schedule posts in advance so they propagate at a particular time.
#4: Skipping Proofreading
The Problem: You’ve created fantastic content, but there is a typo in the very first sentence.
The Fix: As Stephen King says, "to write is human; to edit is divine." Never publish a blog post without first reading it at least twice. Ideally, have someone else proofread it for you to catch any errors you may have skipped.
#5: Prioritizing Quantity over Quality
The Problem: Churning out content in the name of "getting it done" will not help you if your content is lackluster. In fact, it can actually hurt you – not just from an SEO standpoint, but also in terms of your credibility in your practice area or industry.
The Fix: It is better to publish fewer, but better, posts. Set a standard that works for you and if needed, set the bar low at first. One solid, well-researched post per month is better than five short, sloppy ones. I recently wrote about setting a content calendar that works for your firm.
Attention to the smallest details will set your content apart from the masses. Master even just two or three of these tips, and you will be on your way to producing leading content in your practice area.