7 of the Worst Article Writing and Marketing Tips

“There is nothing more hateful than bad advice.”
– Sophocles

There’s a lot of bad advice whispered in the dark corners of the Internet. What appears like the fountain of quick-and-easy success is often a nightmarish journey toward credibility ruin.

While there are many, here are 7 of the worst article writing and marketing tips we’ve found circulating that you should steer clear of and why.

“Write Content for Content’s Sake”

Writing articles merely to churn out content will not help you – it may pick up a few wayward readers, but it will not sustain your growth. If your articles lack originality, a primary goal, and audience targeting, then you will lack the ability to engage readers. Everything you write should have a purpose and meet a need – your readers should be able to walk away with something. Be informative while sharing your exclusive and original content.

If you lack the necessary insight on a hot topic, expand your horizons by performing the necessary research that will benefit your audience. Integrate this new information with your own commentary or insight on a particular topic. [Learn more]

“Write What’s on Your Mind”

Are your neighbors aggravating you again? Did you make a pie that was simply inspired? Heard something on the news that makes you see red? Is your relationship going through its paces? Unless the heart of your expertise is relevant to any of these issues or you plan on tying any of these experiences to illustrate an informative point, understand this: article writing is not social media, nor is it a platform to publish personal diaries or journals.

Write quality, original, and objective content that meets the interests and needs of your audience and you will succeed at becoming a leading authority in your niche. [Learn more]

“Make Sure it’s Absolutely AMAZING”

Good grammar, spelling, and cohesive ideas are important, but not at the expense of your time and energy. Don’t get stuck in publishing paralysis: you are stuck in a cycle of proofreading and editing without publishing content. Develop a system bent on quality creative execution and stick to it.

We recommend at least 7 steps to create quality content fast: (1) Brainstorm, (2) Outline, (3) Write, (4) Revise and Edit, (5) Proofread for Spelling and Grammar, (6) Perform Final Edits, and (7) Submit It! [Learn more]

“Write for Keywords”

Keywords can have great power. When used responsibly, they can increase your ability to be found on searches and create eye-popping titles readers crave. However, keyword stuffing (scattering keywords throughout the article) creates low quality content, a terrible user experience, and reflects poorly on the author (as well as anyone associated or affiliated with that author).

Raise the quality standards bar to create a positive and memorable experience for your readers. [Learn more]

“Promote Yourself and Your Stuff in Articles”

Readers expect articles to be non-self-serving sources of informative content. Adding self-serving information (i.e., advertising yourself, your organization, your brand, etc.) before the Resource Box is like a spam-tripwire for readers and breaks their trust. Save promotional content for areas of your blog or website dedicated to discussing information about you, your business, and your products or services.

Write quality, informative articles (non-self-serving content) that targets your readers’ needs and wants to build trust because earning trust increases your credibility, maximizes your exposure, and is more successful than a hard sell. [Learn more]

“Use Exact Match Anchor Text”

Publishing the same anchor text aggressively in articles, blog posts, and guest posts both on and off your website doesn’t benefit your optimization – it hurts it! Intended for optimization, exact match anchor text occurs when an unnatural amount of keyword phrases create a static link profile. Avoid appearing unnatural to readers and search engines by creating a great user experience.

Find balance in an organic mix of anchor text to add variety and depth to your link profile while maintaining relevance and transparency. [Learn more]

“Use an Article Spinner”

Article spinning software is a complete waste of money and time. It serves no other purpose than an attempt to plagiarize good content, whether you own it or not. Article spinning occurs when the user places text into a software program that replaces the original words with synonyms. Alternately, there is the “manual” version where content writers attempt “rewrite” content by tweaking a sentence here and there. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Article spinning is “word vomit.” Don’t waste your time or a reader’s time with it.

If you’re interested in squeezing more value out of content you own exclusively, then consider using it on social media, transposing it into videos or audiobooks, create webinars from it, compile it into an ebook or report, and create easy-to-read infographics. Avoid creating derivative content by planning ahead and exploring a wide variety of angles. [Learn more]

What bad advice would you add to this list? Let us know – we’d love to hear from you!

27 Comments »


1
Myhox writes:

Most of the newbies try to write copy paste method and make their contents spamfull. However, internet marketing and blogging is becoming more competitive and responsible jobs. As a writer, we have to be greatly responsible toward our contents what we have deliver the message. Therefore, do not try to share bad advice and do not make your content worthless and rigid.
Thanks for sharing great tips to write more responsible and credential post.

Comment provided October 7, 2013 at 12:15 PM

[Reply]

Elizabeth writes:

Sounds like spun content to me, Myhox.

[Reply]

2
davidinnotts writes:

“Keep your copy impersonal and ‘professional-sounding’ for credibility.”

It’s a myth that to sound authoritative you must write third person, academic-sounding articles. This IS a style that can work, but it’s not anyway near the best approach for engaging with your readership and having them want to read more of your stuff, follow your links and maybe buy from you.

The really engaging author writes in a conversational way that is their own, and attracts readers by your engagement with them and your ‘air’ of knowing what you’re writing about and being eager to pass it on. This is different for every author and target readership, but key elements are:

# Using the first person: say ‘I’ and ‘you’ a lot, but not too much. Use your own and company names where appropriate; it helps make any plagiarizing instantly recognizable

# Drawing readers in with genuine personal examples when you can.

# Dating the article and mention updates at the end – it establishes credibility: “I wrote this the week our baby was born as I thought about her future, and I added the latest figures this week.” Hard to clone that successfully!

# Quoting (with source) snippets of research to back up what you’re saying – but keeping it light and adding your own twist, opinion comments. If the research is your own, say so – and with confidence in your own authority position.

# Hinting that there’s more useful stuff to come, or giving a link when it’s already available.

You want, overall, for readers to trust you and ‘follow you’, in Twitter-speak, but to do it in a way that doesn’t make you seem stuffy or a bore.

Comment provided October 7, 2013 at 1:11 PM

[Reply]

David Brenner writes:

This is good stuff – the best and most relevant guidelines I’ve read since becoming a contributor here. Thanks !

[Reply]

Al Bargen writes:

I really appreciate your input here. You have written some great advice for someone like myself who is just starting out to write daily.

Thanks again.

[Reply]

3
Carolyn Egan writes:

Love this article and agree with all of it…except the title. As a reader of online content, I am becoming less and less patient (or perhaps more and more IMpatient) with the ‘numbers games’ in titles – “5, 6, 7, 10 ways to increase, decrease, promote, discourage, lose, gain, develop, earn… etc, etc, etc.” I understand that this is a tactic to improve (allegedly) reader appeal, but I think it is transparent and – frankly – oh so very tired.

Comment provided October 7, 2013 at 2:00 PM

[Reply]

Robin writes:

Thanks for the good heads-up Carolyn. I use the number strategy frequently on my blog although I must admit that beginning a sentence with a figure instead of a word always makes me churn a little. If you are fed up with the number titles, I will make sure I try something else. My pet hate is videos that begin as soon as you hit a page and especially those without written content. A seminar I attended last night suggests that YouTube snippets (2 or 4 minute videos) are a winner often with millions of views.

[Reply]

David Brenner writes:

Yes, guilty, having just published an article here with a title that starts, ‘The Best 5…’
But on the other hand, why not ? From the 10 Commandments onwards, people have liked lists. They grab you.
They’re endless. I can think of at least 100 more examples. Ooops, sorry…

[Reply]

davidinnotts writes:

You’re right, of course, Carolyn. But just because a tactic is overused, that doesn’t mean that it’s wrong. It became popular for good reason! So treat the numbers game as a bit like a clich. Use it where it’s most appropriate, but don’t overuse it.

[Reply]

4
Jillynn Stevens writes:

These are great tips, especially for new writers or folks who still practice outdated and ineffective SEO tactics. I would add to avoid writing boring articles that add no real value to the topic or the internet. Engaging articles are more likely to be informative, catch and maintain the readers attention, and leave them learning something they didn’t know before, all the while being entertained by intelligent prose.

Comment provided October 7, 2013 at 2:05 PM

[Reply]

5
Robin writes:

It’s an important skill to develop, but write only enough words to get your message across succinctly and concisely. Don’t say in 3,000 words what could have been said in 600.

Comment provided October 7, 2013 at 3:06 PM

[Reply]

6

I appreciate your advise. Most article sites that demand you write 10 articles per day actually encourage spam content.

Thanks a lot.

Comment provided October 7, 2013 at 3:16 PM

[Reply]

7
Randall Magwood writes:

I hate article spinners with a passion. The fact that people still use them today to try and get sales from people makes me sick.

Comment provided October 7, 2013 at 7:47 PM

[Reply]

8
Joaseph Dabon writes:

Good tips. I hope some of the people I encounter in one write and get paid site will know of this. A lot of those guys write garbage. To make matters worse, they “like” each other so they will earn more. I have never seen such a cabal of people who, are they lousy writers, are cheats, too.

Comment provided October 7, 2013 at 8:00 PM

[Reply]

9
Lance Winslow writes:

YUK – I almost threw-up just reading that list.

Comment provided October 7, 2013 at 11:25 PM

[Reply]

10
Gracious Store writes:

A lot of people miss understood Google’s demand that anyone who wants to be found online must give people reason to find them by making useful contribution to “information data base” on the internet. That is helping to give answers to peoples’ queries or searches by writing meaningful content. People simply write without asking themselves what questions in people’s mind will their article answer. They think that the number of articles they churn out irrespective of their relevance will be enough to give them the high ranking they want for their sites

Comment provided October 7, 2013 at 11:50 PM

[Reply]

Robin writes:

Indeed. People still misunderstand because Google has become increasingly cunning and now penalises writers who churn out keyword-laden articles with little quality.

Google has a quality score and it isn’t achieved by having dozens of keywords stuffed into an ill-written article.

[Reply]

davidinnotts writes:

Absolutely! “KNOW YOUR READER” must be the number one tip as you begin to plan every article. Writing solely for an imagined ‘personal reader’ is often recommended, but is maybe going too far. Imagining a small group of people you’re aiming at, right in front of you, grouped around, IS a good idea. Imagine them eagerly waiting for you to finish writing so they can read it, and their reactions as they speak right to you. If you can interest these people, then Google will be interested in highlighting you in the results pages, too.

[Reply]

11
Sunil Chadha writes:

Yes, I absolutely agree that there are lot of bad advice available on internet and it really nightmarish journey to ruin toward credibility. I like so much to these tips.

Comment provided October 8, 2013 at 12:53 AM

[Reply]

12
Apps Chopper writes:

If you post copied content on the website, then search engine treat this activity as a spamming technique and for this activity search engine will ban your website.So I suggest you to add unique and informative content on the website. It will also help the website to get better ranking in search engine. If you use too much keywords in the content then it shows that you over optimized the website. this is a spamming activity.

Comment provided October 8, 2013 at 1:55 AM

[Reply]

13
Parth writes:

I was wrong till now , it means. yuk. :) I am a blogger cum online marketing when i sit to write i write only from other source, i do not write which are in my mind. I really pointed out a one good thing. Thank you so much

Comment provided October 8, 2013 at 3:13 AM

[Reply]

14
Vijay Khosla writes:

Vanessa! The article is great. Thanks for sharing the wonderful tips.

Comment provided October 8, 2013 at 11:55 PM

[Reply]

15
Anupam Majumdar writes:

yes i think tips are good and great article . i like these tips thanks for sharing….

Comment provided October 10, 2013 at 5:48 AM

[Reply]

16
Sandy John writes:

Thanks Vanessa for sharing the wonderful information.

Comment provided October 10, 2013 at 7:02 AM

[Reply]

17
Pham Hung writes:

Your article is great. I am a new comer joining into Internet marketing, it is so strange to me. I myself want to write articles about products for advertising, however I don’t not know where I should start?

Comment provided October 10, 2013 at 8:19 AM

[Reply]

18
Elizabeth writes:

You’re absolutely right about these 7 tips. Particularly not overselling in the content is key. If you do it right, people will still like you AND want to see what you’re promoting.

Comment provided October 12, 2013 at 12:53 PM

[Reply]

19

Great list of things to avoid, or keep to a minimum. I agree.

Comment provided October 31, 2013 at 7:45 PM

[Reply]

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a comment

Please read our comment policy before commenting.