Write a good article without spending a lot of time.
Suppose, you are asked to write a story for a magazine, website or newsletter. This post explains how to compose an impressive article or story in a short span of time.
Writing can be a lot of fun, if you are a successful author who, when it suits him, works on his new novel in his Florida villa while enjoying a glass of wine. But for managers, it usually comes down to an extra job, which needs to be done in the evening or during the weekend. Most of them don’t really know how to write an article. For experienced professional copywriters, content writing services and bloggers the job is much easier because it’s their specialization.
As a manager you cannot escape from writing an article every now and then about your work, company or developments in your field. If you want to inform people or express your opinion, you have to write. And if you handle it smart, a good article shouldn’t take much time at all. On the other hand, if you really don’t have time at all, you can of course outsource the work to a professional. Below are some tips that are useful for busy managers while copywriters, content writers and bloggers can also take advantage of below information.
First determine what your goal is and what will be your target audience.
Of course you already have an idea about what to create, but that is not enough. Before you start, determine the goal you have in mind. Do you want to provide information? Teach people something? Convince readers? Advertise? If you continue to focus on your goal during the writing process, it will be easier to structure the story clearly. Also consider what is your target audience before you start. What inside information do potential readers have? Where and when do they come across your article? At the start of a busy working day in an online newsletter, on a quiet Sunday afternoon in a monthly magazine or on a website at any day or time?
Start with the title.
It is tempting to start with an introduction and determine the title somewhere at the end of the process. However, that is not wise. The title is the core message of the story, which you should always keep in mind while writing. The title keeps you on the right path along with the target, and prevents you from straying or getting bogged down in details. If you find it difficult to articulate your title nicely, you can choose to use a temporary working title. The working title conveys the message well, but will be less professional and not optimized for the search engines. When your story is ready, you can refine the working title (possibly with the help of a colleague or copywriter) to a real title. Keep it short and sweet. That is more attractive to readers and makes your article (if it appears on the internet) easier to find for search engines. For online work always try to choose a title that appears as search suggestion in Google’s search results. Search suggestions in Google appear right below the search bar if they are popular enough. So this ensures that you are using a popular title with enough online searchers. Extra SEO tip: use the title several times in your post, preferably at the start and the end.
Tip: If you’re not in a hurry, it is useful to include a break at this point. The first two steps probably take no more than fifteen minutes. Then let the title (core message) “simmer” in your mind for a few days. You will notice that your story will already unconsciously become complete in your head.
Create a framework.
You now know what you want to say, who you want to say it to and what the title of your story will be. But there is one more important step to do: the framework. To ensure that your article has a good setup, you first outline the structure. Start with the introduction (what is this piece about and why), then the core text (the message you want to convey), the deeper layer (explanation, advantages and disadvantages, your arguments, different arguments of others and your opinion on that and practical examples), and finally your conclusion.
Tip: If you want to do additional research about what you are going to write (research in Google, opinion of colleagues, figures, advice from an expert in another field), this is the right time. You now have exactly in your head what you want to say and what you need to know. If you start collecting information BEFORE you have the framework, you run the risk of investing much more time in it than is necessary.
Okay, let’s now write the article.
Once you have the framework ready, the actual writing is almost a matter of filling in the blanks. You know exactly what you want to say, how to say it, with what arguments and examples and based on which figures. Now it is important to articulate your story the right way. You have already determined in step 1 for what purpose you are writing. Now consider the right tone for this. Light hearted or business-like? Is there room for something funny, do you want to express your concern about a certain issue or provide objective information? When writing, also keep your target audience in mind. Think for example of someone you know who falls within your target group. Imagine telling your story to that person. Which words do you choose?
- Less is more: keep it short and sweet, and don’t make your article longer than necessary. The longer the story, the higher the barrier to reading it. However, keep in mind that longer articles tend to rank higher in Google. Write at least 700 words.
- Talking instead of writing: Integrate words you use when talking to someone. This is more personal and therefore more compelling to readers. Also don’t use “they” if you can also use the word “you”. Refer to yourself or your company with “I” or “we”. Not “the author thinks” or “the undersigned believes”.
- Use short sentences. This increases your Google readability score.
Ask for criticism.
Finally, before publishing, have your story read by a critical colleague or other copywriter/content writer. Someone who not only points out the typos and grammar mistakes, but also any substantive imperfections. If you are unsure about a certain part, ask your “editor” to look closely at it. You don’t always have to agree with criticism, of course, but you have to be able to refute it.
Congratulations, after reading this post you should know how to write articles. However, keep in mind that this document only covers the basics. Actually, the last few years, especially online writing for website content has become a science in itself and the more sophisticated the Google search engine becomes, the more specific writing knowledge will be required from authors. The art of the game is to keep growing as copywriter, content writer or blogger, to stay on top of any new developments and to keep a permanent eye on possible Google search algorithm updates. So, as website or blog writer you not only have to know how to write an article, you have to be an SEO specialist at the same time. Thanks for reading and good luck!