The experts all say to do it. Write an article. Or a blog post. Publish it. It builds credibility, they say. You can get back links (links into your website, which is really good stuff for SEO.) It’s great marketing!
The only problem: you hate to write.
The second problem: you don’t have a clue how to write an article.
Well, my friend, you have three choices. You can…
- Ignore the advice and never write the article;
- Give it your best shot and try to write an article;
- Hire a writer like me to write it for you (needless to say, I think that’s the BEST choice, but I think I’m a little biased.)
How to Write an Article in Five Steps
Let’s assume that you can’t ignore the advice and for the time being, you don’t want to hire a professional writer. You need to write that article yourself. Article writing for online publication is an art and science unto itself, and not one easily taught in a blog post. However, article writing tends to follow five simple steps. These steps include:
1. Find a topic.
Ideas are all around you. What are your customers asking about? What topics are trending on the major search engines, on social media, on the television news? Think about four to eight weeks ahead of time to give seasonal articles a chance to build traffic online (Easter and spring articles should publish now.)
I like to keep a notebook on my desk and jot writing ideas in the notebook when they come tome. I never know when ideas will gather. Sometimes, I’m researching content for a client, and stumble over a chart, statistics or a news article that will make a great topic for a future article. I jot it down in the notebook. I use differently colored pens to organize the topics by subject. It’s a great idea file to turn to when the well runs dry and I need ideas for article!
Take your time and research the topic thoroughly. Can you find new facts that will add to your article? How about a new slant or angle for it? For research purposes, remember that .gov and .ext (extension offices) as well as .edu (university) websites are the most reputable sources of information. Avoid user-contributed sites such as Wikipedia. It’s great for a quick answer, but you have no way of ascertaining how good the research is behind the posts on user-created sites. When in doubt, stick with government, university or cooperative extension websites for the most authoritative research sources.
I like to outline my articles first, even if it’s just a quick outline sketched out on paper. How long will your piece be? How many paragraphs? A typical outline for an article includes a brief opening, the problem/topic, and the solution.
Format your article for easy online reading. Short paragraphs, headlines, bullets and lists make it easy for web readers to digest long pieces of content and take away key points of information.
4. Write the article.
Write your article using the outline and research completed in steps 2 and 3. Remember to write from the verbs, meaning that the verb should be the strongest word in the sentence. Notice how the first sentence in this paragraph begins with the word “Write”- that’s writing from the verb. (The previous paragraph that begins “Format” does that, too.) Make sure you hyperlink to your source material, if appropriate, especially if you quote facts. Readers may want to see the sources for themselves.
5. Proofread, edit and double-check your work before publishing it.
The last step is to proofread your work. Run your document through your word processing software’s spell check. I also use an online plagiarism checker such as Small SEO Tools or Dustball just to avoid phrasing that’s too similar to something already online. These tools, especially Small SEO, will catch similar phrases even if the original online content is on a totally different topic. If it finds anything close to or the same as what I have written, I take the time to recast the sentence so it is completely original.
Once you’ve polished your piece to perfection, it’s time to upload it only or publish it.
What to Do If You Made a Mistake?
Here’s my thought for you for today: WE ALL MAKE MISTAKES. I know, I know – this from the woman who loves to collect typos on her Facebook page for the Typo Hall of Shame. I do this for the humor, not to make fun of the poor folks who write things like “Man Stabs Sun” instead of “Man Stabs Son.” In all seriousness, everyone makes mistakes. If you can fix the mistake, do so. If not, move on. Leave it at that.
I hope these tips on how to write an article have helped. If you would like to talk to me about writing articles for you, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
They don’t call me the Content Queen for nothing. I’ve been an article writer for over 20 years, and have over 800 articles published to date. Give me a shout if you would like to hire me to write for you.
Until next time –