Five guidelines for writing a great article
Writer: Scott Cassidy
Writing an article might look easy, but there’s a lot more that goes into it than might initially appear. If you’re trying to craft an expert-level article for your company, brand, or product, you need great content and good skill, but the steps that go with those two elements can be fairly involved.
It’s very important to at least nail these two aspects down, otherwise, you will have an article that falls flat. You’ll see little uptick in traffic, and even smaller benefit for the brand or product that you’re trying to promote, or the problem that you’re trying to answer or solve.
Luckily, creating good content isn’t hard so long as you set your goals, have the right people to construct it, and include all of the necessary elements.
What problem are you trying to solve?
Before beginning writing the article, you need to get focused. You need to understand what problem you are trying to solve, or what question you’re trying to answer. By being focused on the reader’s problems like this, you’ll create immense value that will keep the reader engaged and coming back for more. You could very well earn a customer or reader for life,
Short and sweet
We’ve all been there before — clicking on a link to read what seems to be an intriguing article, but only to be met with dense, and long walls of text. It’s intimidating to read, and let’s face it: we just wanted a quick read to answer the question we were asking, not to sit down and read a 30-minute academia-style paper.
In our fast-paced world, we want content to stay engaging, and to answer our questions quickly. That’s why short sentences work so well. Short sentences feel like an accomplishment. They’re quick and to the point. And most importantly — they’re easy. They keep the reader engaged and asking for more. By keeping your paragraphs no longer than three to four lines, you’ll keep your reader through to the end.
Do your research
Let’s face it: we’re not an expert on every topic. That’s why research is an important part of the article writing process. By researching, you not only start forming a better idea of what to write on paper, but might also find more details and value you can bring to the reader. Research gives you authority on the topic as well. Readers and customers can easily tell when the author doesn’t know what they are talking about. And ultimately, it helps you create the best article in your field. With research, you can see similar articles that your competitors have crafted by offering even more details and expertise than them.
While these three elements are going to ensure that you have great content, your article is never going to be seen if we don’t dive into the technical part. Following up on our first point of identifying the problem that you’re trying to solve, you also need to find out what questions people are asking under that.
For example — we identified the problem of people and companies new to writing having difficulty writing a great article. However, that audience might not ask the question that way in Google and other search engines. They might phrase it more like “how to write a great article” or “how to keep readers engaged.” That might be an indication of how to title your article, or what questions to ask in the body of the article. These are what are known as keywords. Keywords are going to help you rank in search engines, ultimately helping your article get seen by people that want that question answered.
To find the keywords for the problem you’re trying to solve, you might want to use a tool like Ahrefs or SEMrush. They help you identify what terms or keywords people are searching for under your topic of interest.
Experts and editors
There’s so much more that goes into writing a great article, but the last thing you need to put the icing on the top is a couple of extra sets of eyes to go over it. The writer can write a good article, but it’s often difficult for them to critique their own work. That’s why writing a great article is a team effort. If you have the resources available, have an expert go through your first draft to ensure the article not only makes sense, but that the writer is speaking with authority on the topic.
They might be able to generate some new ideas to add to the article in order to bring additional value to reader, too. And finally, you should have an editor go through it to ensure grammar, sentence, and paragraph structure is what it needs to be. An editor might spot problems that the writer wasn’t able to identify, and might even have suggestions on a better way to say a sentence or to break up a paragraph.
By following these five guidelines, you’ll be well on your way to creating an excellent article for your company, brand, or product!