Updated August 2018
Think of an article as a package with all your good ideas, quality info and/or expert knowledge, waiting to be mailed to the reader. The contents are fragile and if not packaged correctly, with the right amount of bubble wrap and correct postage stamps, they’ll never reach the reader intact.
The following article is designed to teach you how to format, focus and, in essence, package your material in order to make the necessary impact. We’ve gathered an inventory of vital tips for writing a good article that will allow you to reach and hold your readers in a way that’s approachable, informative and hits the mark every time.
1.Using keyword research to pinpoint a topic
The internet is like that complex postal system through which your fragile package will move after it’s mailed. Think of your topic as the delivery address and your keyword usage as the necessary postal fees. No matter how many of our tips you follow on how to write a great article, your article simply won’t reach its destination without the correct SEO readiness and attention to detail when it comes to keyword research.
Tools such as Longtailpro will allow you to determine trends amongst your readership and niche competitors, allowing you to focus your content in line with the most current topic(s) and the most effective long tail keywords. A list of relevant SEO keywords will allow you to set out your structure and gather content, safe in the knowledge that you’ll rank highly enough in search engines to actually reach your audience in the first place.
2.Gathering content points to outline your article boundaries
Now it’s time to start your content research. By researching long tail keywords relevant to your chosen topic, you’ll gather information, insights and points that will keep your reader satisfied throughout. The points you end up including need to be cohesive; in other words, they need to fit together in such a way that you’re able to plot your structure and lay down your article boundaries, using them as a basis. Writing a good article is all about communication. Communicating is all about intention, clarity and focus. Is it relevant? Is it readable? Is it SEO ready?
3.Adding your own spin and being original
It’s one thing knowing how to write a great article; it’s another thing entirely knowing how to write the best article. The factor that will take your article from great to best is likely going to be your personalization of the material, your spin or your spark. You’ve included all the best material gathered from external sources but now it’s up to you to add a little something that your readers won’t find anywhere else. Whether it’s a deeper insight into the researched content or some quality snippets from your own experience, an original take on the topic is a key factor when it comes to outshining the competition.
4.Simplifying your delivery with sentence structure and readable grammar
One of the most important tips for writing a good article is that most people are not going to be impressed by the extravagant use of adjectives, complex grammar and compound sentences. You need to learn how to get the relevant information across in a way that’s crisp, not sterile and informative, but not impossible to follow. This means maintaining a rhythm that is easy to read, with well-structured sentences that allow the reader time to pause and absorb information before moving onto the next idea.
5.Gaining credibility with quotes, links and references
If you’re writing about a subject in which you yourself don’t hold three degrees or even a short course certificate, the chances are you’re going to be relying on the information you’ve gathered during research. Adding quotes, links and references from respected and well-known sources or experts in the field will establish the credibility that’s required for readers to take your article seriously. A key ingredient in learning how to write a good article is backing up statements with credible links and references that will establish trust between you and your readers.
6.Choosing an article type to find your format
Depending on the nature of your content and the medium in which your article will appear (a blog, online magazine or press release) there are a number of article types from which you can chose. Finding the article type that’s right for you, your content, your medium and, of course, your audience, will take you a long way towards developing the ideal format.
You could write a ‘How-To’ article that will consist of an intro, a number of steps and a conclusion. An opinion piece might follow a more basic format with an intro, body and conclusion. As you can see, once you have your type, you’ll also have your format.
7.The threefold focus of every great article
Every great article writer pays attention to the threefold focus; that is, an introduction, body and conclusion.
First, a powerful introduction will get your readers hooked and wanting more. It should be a taste of what’s to come, with wording that will instantly pull readers into your rhythm.
Second in line is an informative and insightful body that is well-structured to keep the attention of your audience. Don’t lead with a fascinating paragraph and then completely lose the plot by following with three boring ones. Maintain your readers’ focus by balancing the impact throughout the body of your article.
Third, but just as essential as the rest, is your conclusion. This should imprint the work in the mind of readers by containing a bright final insight or a convincing call to action. Give your readers a little direction and show them what to do with the information they’ve just received from the article.
8.Using subheadings and paragraphs to hold interest
Divide your content into readable paragraphs, which are no more than six lines long each. Try to balance your delivery of information evenly throughout these paragraphs in order to maintain interest during the course of your article. Another top tip is that of including subheadings that are in themselves catchphrases, to whet the appetites of your readers. Not only will subheadings capture the attention of your readers, they will also make the information easier for readers to absorb and remember.
9.The importance of logical transitions
It’s important to follow a logical path in transitioning from one subheading or paragraph to the next. When you’re writing an article with ten subheadings, you can’t use a term that’s only explained under subheading ten in order to clarify subheading one. Keep in mind that your readers didn’t do the research; they need to be taken logically and clearly through the course of introduction, body and conclusion with all obscure facts and terms being explained in a systematic fashion.
10.Creating imagery with examples, metaphors and analogies
Now, this is an extremely effective tool, especially when it comes to crafting an article that’s unique and memorable. Information that’s been covered in other articles can easily be given a fresh spin or new impact with the use of clever imagery created through examples, metaphors and analogies. When delivering information, a practical example is what will really root that information in your reader’s mind.
If you’ve the skill to create a suitable analogy or metaphor, it will not only convey ideas in a more visual way so that readers can hold them in mind; it may also provide a basis for humor, drama and emotion in an article that would otherwise be purely informative and not particularly entertaining.
Think of the package I mentioned in the introduction to this article. That analogy allowed me to convey the importance of the topic and SEO keywords by likening them to the delivery address and postage stamps on the package. It not only allowed me to make the article a little more entertaining, but it also helped me to communicate the information in a visual way that’s easy to understand.
11.Proofread, proofread and proofread
It’s very easy to make grammar, spelling and structural mistakes when we get into the flow of writing, rushing through things under the force of inspiration. At least three thorough proofreads are needed to determine readability and check structure, grammar and spelling. This is the all important last step in the process of writing any great article. Make sure the article is balanced and maintains focus throughout. Make sure that subheadings follow a consistent format and, for goodness sake, make sure that your grammar and spelling are 100% correct before publishing!
So you see, it’s not all about being inspired, having the correct information or having a winning point to make. Nine tenths of the law is in developing, maintaining and directing focus through structure, balance, readability and the all powerful keyword tools at your disposal with the help of LTP. Ensuring that your package actually reaches its destination in one piece, with all the contents intact and recognizable, depends on your ability to wrap it up just right, with correct address and postage to boot.
Now, with the help of this article, it’s time for you to start implementing our tips on how to write a great article into all your work. Not only are they designed to make your own creative process easier, they’re designed for the benefit of your reader. It’s all about communicating in a manner that’s effective, credible, smooth and substantial, and we wish you all the best in your creative journey.