It happens to the best of us – even us seasoned pros.
We finally sit down to write a fresh blog post, product description, or web page, and…
Nothing happens. All we see is a menacing cursor daring us to make a move.
As mentioned in a past blog article, you’ll likely run into some difficulties writing your content over time. Whether it’s with getting the creative juices flowing, directing actual eyeballs to your content (hello, SEO!), or publishing error-free work, there’s usually something that makes you stop before hitting that ‘publish’ button.
So, what to do when a content writing dilemma appears? Don’t worry, we’ve got you! Below, we outline three of the most common 2023 content writing challenges and ways to overcome them. Let’s unravel them together!
Deciding to Embrace AI – Or Not
When you’ve hit writer’s block, looking for an easy way out can be natural. And this year, that’s been graciously offered by AI tools.
For those new to the game, AI-generated content is created by artificial intelligence based on human search queries. The machine-made text is used for anything from long-form blog articles to Facebook ad copy. After plugging in a prompt, thousands of words fill your screen in a matter of seconds.
And while AI tools offer a range of benefits – including increased efficiency, improved productivity, and cost savings – they also has their drawbacks.
For one, AI-generated content raises some plagiarism concerns. Although the tools pull the content from multiple sources, there are no citations to verify them. Potential plagiarism is possible, seeing as AI tools cannot distinguish between credible and non-credible sources.
In addition, the quality of AI content is not always consistent. With precise prompts, AI doesn’t do too badly – but the finished product always requires a close look.
Creativity and personal touch are also often lacking, with AI content instead feeling mechanical and unnatural. Plus, matching your brand’s voice and tone is impossible. For brand followers, abrupt changes in these important aspects of brand identity can be confusing and possibly off-putting.
If your main purpose for your content writing is to drive rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs), you need to be extra careful. Although appropriate AI content is not against Google Search’s guidelines, you’ll get penalized if the content is created primarily to manipulate search rankings.
Remember – Google recently launched a helpful content update, which targets content primarily for Google rankings rather than helping users. So if you’re simply pushing out AI content to gain search engine rankings, it likely won’t do well in Search.
Instead, you always want to create valuable content that satisfies E-E-A-T or demonstrates aspects of experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.
AS SEO copywriters ourselves, we’re not going to tell you not to use AI at all. In fact, we use it regularly ourselves! But we do so cautiously – and only in certain situations, such as:
- Pre-draft research
- Blog topic generation
- Title suggestions
- Website page content outlines
- Spell-checking and grammar-checking
Basically, we never ask AI to write whole pieces of content by itself. Instead, we use AI as a starting block for our content-writing process. We view everything that AI tools churn out with a grain of salt and always spend our time vetting the tools’ suggestions.
At the very least, AI tools are a great way to get over that creative hump that happens to even the best of us!
Capturing Short Attention Spans
Recent research shows that our attention spans have dwindled from 2.5 minutes to only 47 seconds over the past two decades.
So, what does that mean for you when you’re writing your next piece of content?
You need to make it as easy to read as possible.
Unfortunately, most of us never read a complete piece of content. But to even consider reading something, we give ourselves ten seconds.
Ten seconds to decide if a blog post, web page, or social media page is worth pursuing.
Your content’s title plays a big role in whether people will read (more like skim!) your article. Think about it: every single traffic source (search engines, social media, email traffic) will display your title, so you better make it good.
In fact, some experts report that you should spend just as much time writing your title as the actual body of your article.
So, when creating a title for your content, treat it as an advertisement for your post. Make it capture what your article is about using straightforward language. Do so while appealing to people’s curiosity, making the article sound exciting, or enticing readers somehow to click through and read.
And if that’s not enough to consider, you’ve also got to think about title length. Keeping it within 70 characters is key so it won’t get cut off prematurely on SERPs.
Titles are also great ways to get indexed by Google and other search engines – so make sure yours always includes your SEO keywords.
Once you figure out your title, you need to work on the rest of your article. After all, targeting this new digital age of readers requires a different mindset than years past.
Nowadays, most readers will try to identify the main idea by quickly skimming the entire article. Focus is mainly given to the headings, subheadings, definitions, and conclusions. Start by structuring the content to allow people to go to the section they want to read. Do this by
- Using subject headings to break up the content,
- Incorporating bulleted and numbered lists whenever possible,
- Avoiding writing in long paragraphs, and
- Trying to keep sentences to 20 words or less.
Some writers are meeting this particular content writing challenge by creating a section in their article called “TL;DR” (too long, didn’t read) at the end. This area summarizes a lengthy piece of content in manageable, bite-size parts.
Combatting SEO Issues
If you want to rank on search engines and get more traffic to your site (who doesn’t?), you need to pay attention to search engine optimization (SEO).
However, algorithms constantly change, and we don’t even know all of Google’s ranking factors. According to some experts, there are over 200 of them!
Sure, we know backlinks are valuable, and content freshness and relevance help you rank. But there are countless other ranking factors that Google has not confirmed.
Even us SEO copywriters can find SEO confusing. For example, keyword stuffing – which used to get companies high SERPs rankings back in the day – is now seriously frowned upon and usually results in poor rankings.
Staying abreast of the latest trends and navigating the challenges below can help you do everything right when it comes to SEO.
- Mobile Responsiveness: Over half of web traffic comes from mobile devices, and users expect a seamless experience no matter their device. Since search engines prioritize sites that provide a good user experience, businesses with non-mobile-friendly websites will suffer.
- Page Load Times: Since we have shorter and shorter attention spans, fast page load times are vital. If a website takes over three seconds to load, 40 percent of users will move on. A slow website negatively affects user experiences and leads to high bounce rates and lower search engine rankings.
- Quality Content: Websites with thin or low-quality content aren’t doing themselves any favours. Google likes to see websites regularly updated and churning out relevant, authoritative, and optimized content. When your content is stale, Google views your content as irrelevant to potential searchers.
- Keyword Research: Even if you did keyword research months ago, it’s likely time to retake a look at it. Sometimes, content or keywords that were trending in the past are no longer, leading to poor search engine rankings.
A blog is one of the best ways to show Google you’re a valuable resource. Regularly conduct keyword research and write SEO-focused blog articles on trending topics. The more relevant, helpful, SEO-optimized content you release, the higher your rankings will soar!
Summary: 2023 Content Writing Challenges
With every passing year, a new chapter of content writing challenges unfolds for content managers. During 2023, we find ourselves grappling with navigating AI tools, chasing after readers’ ever-decreasing attention spans, and mastering complex SEO intricacies.
Need help overcoming any of these content writing challenges? Reach out today for a free consultation.