Avoid these 10 common writing mistakes to build your Twitter audience


Ask a 7 year old what they want to be when they grow up and they’ll tell you. “YouTuber.” Getting paid to create online sounds like a lot of fun, but most people don’t make it big. Of every 100 people who appear on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn, 90 drop out before the first year is over. They’ll say it wasn’t for them and they’ll join another bandwagon, never commit and never see real success online.

The difference between the resounding successes and the most failures? High-impact writing. The ability to convey a message clearly, in a way that builds an audience and makes them excited to become your customer. Learning how to write and apply your skills to scripts, tweets, articles and newsletters is the biggest investment you can make in your career as a creator and your personal brand.

Kieran Drew retired from dentistry to become a writer and now shares what he learns as he builds his creative business. Of 160,000 Twitter followers (he only opened his account in August 2020) and over 20,000 subscribers to his Digital Freedom newsletter, he explains the frameworks and strategies that have kept him in the game. Prominent content creators learn how to write with Drew’s suggestions, and see their stats change quickly after applying his methods.

I asked Drew what are the most common writing mistakes creators should avoid on Twitter, and here are the top 10.


1. Keep sentences the same length

“You don’t see what you read, you hear it,” he explained. This means that “if every sentence is the same length, it gets boring. Quick.” To avoid this mistake, aim for 20% long sentences and 80% short sentences. Make your sentences sing to never bore your audience again. Keep them looking forward to your posts by taking them with you every line on a melodious journey.

2. Not following the “rule of one”.

“If you’re trying to please everyone, you’re not pleasing anyone,” said Drew. “If you try to say everything, you say nothing.” Instead of watering down your message to avoid trolls and haters, make it even more specific. “One big idea, one compelling story, one core emotion, one core benefit, one call to action.” Drew believes “specificity is the secret”. What is your main message and how does it fit into this rule?

3. Using adverbs

“The road to hell is paved with adverbs,” said Stephen King. And he’s not wrong. “Most people think adverbs reinforce your message,” Drew said, “but they ruin it. Avoid words like real, soon, rarely, and so on. If a word ends in -ly, it’s not your friend. “Use them as an opportunity to trade for bigger and bolder language.” Your message will be stronger, less light-hearted, and more memorable to readers.

4. Using Passive Voice

“Passive voice is tedious and confusing. It can make your reader feel insecure,” Drew warned. “And uncertainty is a killer.” To avoid serious headaches, see if your sentence passes “the zombie test,” which goes like this: “If you can add “and by zombies” to the sentence, it’s passive. If you can’t, it’s active. This is the difference between “Kieran rocked the world (and zombies)” and “Kieran rocked the world (and zombies).” You want the latter, and so does your audience.

5. Not having a trial

“Most people aren’t bad at writing; they suck at systems. There is a difference. Linguistic genius without system is talent without leverage. Don’t let yours go to waste with the “triple tap writing system” Drew recommends. “First version fast, second version slow, one week buffer.” Simple. “Leave time between your drafts and schedule content a week ahead.” Let your subconscious process your words when you’re doing other things, and come back with fresh eyes, ready to improve.

6. Too smart, not clear

What you learned in class doesn’t translate into high-impact writing. “Schools teach you that the smarter you sound, the better you are. The internet shows you the opposite.” Instead of trying to sound educated, “distill your core ideas down to their simplest form.” Be clear instead of smart. It makes you easier to consume, instantly memorable and more than worth it in the long run

7. Poor formatting

“Optimize for skimability,” Drew advised, which is especially important when writing on Twitter. “Before people read, they judge whether reading is worth their time.” Make the answer a resounding yes. “Even the best ideas are ruined by poor presentation,” he warned. Add line breaks to break up your paragraphs, use punchy sentences, bullet points, and white space. “The secret is to be easy on the eyes.” Win more apples of your eye by making them happy.

8. Not enough editing

“Like it or not, the Internet is a battle for attention,” says Drew. “You are not only competing with makers, but also with companies like TikTok. You cannot afford to falter.” Editing is worth it. “Use the 33% rule,” he added. “Cut a third out of your draft before publishing. People are busy. Write it nice.” Even if you think what you’ve written is impossible to shorten, give it a try. Keep chopping until it’s a third shorter and much spicier. You won’t even remember what you cut out.

9. Hedging Betting

“Weak writing, weak results,” said Drew. Your audience doesn’t want weak, it wants strong. The members want a message they can support. “They want to trust that you have the solution. So if you want them to care about your ideas, make sure they come across well.” Eliminate fuzzy phrases like “I think,” “it’s possible,” “could,” and “probably.” Don’t be afraid to take your stand.

10. Being the guru

“Don’t be the guru, be the guide,” Drew explained. Instead of being one of those internet experts with no experience, show them how you did it. “Less how, more how me,” he explained. This means openers like, “When I first started…”, “How I went from…” and sharing a post based on the results you achieved. And don’t assume that your method is the only one that will work. Share it as something useful that can help someone else, not as the absolute blueprint.

Avoid these 10 common mistakes to write better and make more of an impact online, especially on Twitter. Strengthen your message by not covering it up, but writing from experience and being clear instead of clever. Improve your structure with better editing, adding variety to your sentences, and formatting for skimmability. Turn into a powerful communicator for an impressive personal brand and profitable business.