Basic Steps to Write Killer Articles

coffee-and-writingGet yourself your favourite drink, relax and then read on as we uncover the simple steps to writing and publishing killer articles. Remember-don't be scared by the word ‘article'. I have come across people who think that an ‘article' is beyond them and that ‘articles' are the reserve of trained journalists and published authors but this just isn't the case!

An article is just a collection of words that gets across a message of meaning, value and benefit to a select group of readers.
Even if your grammar is real not good it's the meaning and information what you is conveying in your writing what makes it readable. (!)

Step 1-"Starting With The End In Mind"

Before you put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) you need to think about what the end purpose of your article is going to be. Of course you want to educate people on a certain issue and perhaps help them out but don't forget to ask yourself:
"What do I want to get out of writing this article?"
It could be that you are looking to promote a new service or product that you've just launched. But you can't very well write an article about how great your product or business is - you need to be far more subtle than that.

Step 2-"Brainstorming Ideas For Articles"

Try and think of the last article you read on the web. Why did you read it? What attracted you to the article in the first place? What did you get out of reading the article? How did it make you feel after you'd read it?
The best articles achieve success by:

  • Solving a problem
  • Answering a question
  • Using humour
  • Uncovering knew knowledge
  • Teaching the reader new skills
  • Sharing powerful insights
  • Showing a reader how to save time or money
  • Not overtly selling to the reader
  • Explaining what ‘not to do'

So, to begin with, just start by brainstorming as many ideas as you can for possible article themes.

Step 3 - "Solve A Reader's Problem With Your Article And You're On The Path To Success"

How could you solve a problem for the reader? What common problems do people in your industry experience? Can you help people overcome these problems by sharing information in your article?

Have you come across people or customers in your business making the same mistakes or falling into the same traps? Could you write an article to help newcomers avoid making the same mistakes?
Do you get asked the same questions by customers or buyers that you could answer in the form of an article to help future customers?
Is there something that annoys you about your industry that you could explain or resolve with an article?
Write down as many ideas as you can for articles. Don't get too caught up in choosing a particular topic at this stage - the more you write down now the more articles you will be able to create in the future using these ideas.
Once you have brainstormed your ideas for articles you need to pinpoint which of all the ideas you think would appeal most to your target customer base. Choose the one idea and then work on creating your article sandwich.

Step 4-"Create Your Article Sandwich"

You need to create a sandwich with your article:

  • First Slice – the beginning of your article
  • The Filling – the middle of your article
  • Last Slice – the conclusion of your article

The beginning of your article needs to set the scene, explain the problem or describe the picture for what you are about to tell your reader. It's just like giving a brief demonstration-it is commonly accepted wisdom that you need to do things in this order:

  • Tell people what you're going to show them
  • Show it to them
  • Tell them what you've shown them

Creating your article in this way means that the reader feels in control at all times - they are not just hit instantly with lists and detailed information. Instead they are reading what is almost like a story - something that builds naturally and they can easily follow.
The middle of the article needs to contain the substance of your text - the real meaty bits of information and insight that the readers can get their teeth into. Don't give too much away though - your article needs to be valuable and useful but overdo it and the reader won't be left ‘wanting more'.
Once you've set the scene and then given all the detailed information it's time to conclude the article with perhaps a brief summary of what has been covered. Alternatively a conclusion to your article and possible follow on action or relevant links a good idea.

Creating the headlines

You can have a go at creating a headline for the article idea you have just now but it is sometimes best to create the headline after you have finished writing the article. By this time you will have a clearer idea of exactly what benefits you can promise the reader, as you'll know by then what information is in your article!
Another important point when creating the title for your article is to keep it as short as possible - certain places that you will be submitting your article to will have restrictions on the length it can be.
The last thing you want is to have your article land on the rejected pile just because its title is too long!
Don't restrict your use of headlines just to the title of the article itself - you should intersperse your article with sub headlines that keep the reader interested and intrigued.

There is nothing worse for the reader than presenting them with hundreds of words of text without any headlines or breaks in the copy. Other great ways to keep your article interesting and break it up into easy-to-read chunks:

  • Include links in the body of the article to relevant resources
  • Break up the article with relevant quotes
  • Feed the reader with bullet points on key facts or points
  • Provide quick lists of things - The Top 5 Mistakes, The 7 Most Asked Questions etc.
  • Tell a story with your article - this way it will naturally be divided into different parts

In terms of the length of your article anything up to the 750-word mark works best. A little longer is fine and 500-word articles will almost always be accepted as well. Using 750 words enables you to get over a lot of useful information to the reader, demonstrate your knowledge, build a rapport with them whilst not being too long to put them off from reading it in the first place!

If you have any questions, please ask below!