The idea of writing an article seems pretty easy. Freelance writers do it every day (and sometimes multiple times). You sit down, open the laptop, and let your ideas flow right onto the page.
If writing an article is so simple, why don’t more people do it? Most of the time, these people read blogs and feel that they could do it themselves. They have plenty of ideas, but when it actually comes to sitting and composing an entire article, the process seems daunting.
Whether you’re lacking the ideas, structure, or motivation to write an article consistently, this guide can help you.
It’s important to embrace the process and learn how to write articles so that you’re unstoppable. Readers can’t wait to see what you produce next and clamor to be the first ones on the site to get the information. Everything flows easily because you have the right foundation.
This requires practice, but you can get to a point where you craft an article by just opening the laptop and going.
Here’s how to get started:
A Piece of Excellent Advice on Article Writing
The main problem people have with writing articles is that they try to be cute or witty. You look at the task of writing as a special magical process. While that’s true in many ways, you have to start with the foundation.
Don’t expect to be a great writer out of the gate. Instead, focus on learning the basics.
This begins with letting ideas flow and learning how to distinguish good ones from bad ones. Maybe you want to create a list article or a blog. You don’t have a reputation right now, so the best thing to do is jump right in.
Take those ideas you have and figure out what the readers want to know. From there, write about it until you have a decent article. You are sure to get positive feedback and a bit of criticism. Use that when you write the next time, and you begin writing even better.
When you know the basics and aren’t scared to hit “publish,” you become more unique and creative in the future.
Your voice matters, and you can do great things, but you’ve got to start like everyone else. Hang up your ego, obey the directions, and find inspiration to craft something amazing.
Stop Focusing on the Niche
Most people make one grave mistake when they write. They focus too much on the perfect audience and niche. Typically, it’s overrated, but it is important to a degree.
Article writing is about finding broad topics that you wish to write about. Pick one of those and focus on it for a few months. Make sure that you’re publishing one to three articles a week to learn about your writing preferences.
This is exactly what most people never do. They have the ideas, but they’re too afraid to write for the wrong industry or crowd. In other words, they think and never produce.
Picking a Topic
Once you focus on a writing topic, stick with it and commit to that space for three months.
When you know what to write about, you can focus on the potential reader who wants to see your written work. At the same time, your article writing becomes better, the ideas flow, and you can produce other articles that are specifically for your target audience.
Here are a few ways to find out what the readers want:
- Find writers in your niche and look at the responses from the audience.
- Study other writers themselves. Become the reader and see what they’re doing and the ideas they’re using for writing.
- Create a buyer persona or avatar for each article to get a better sense of what the audience wants.
When you’ve got a great idea for the main topic, you are building the foundation for your empire.
Writing Articles Takes Ideas to Form Headlines
Don’t just open the laptop and start writing. That’s not an effective way to go about things. Instead, you should have ideas waiting for you to write about. Those ideas come as a headline.
Regardless of how nuanced, in-depth, or well-researched the articles are, you need a click-bait title to get things going.
The goal is to persuade people to click on your article instead of someone else’s. You have to do that with a good title before they even decide to read what you have to say.
When you do well at headlines, you become a better writer because:
- You understand the target audience.
- The headline promises what the article fulfills, so you can direct the writing to that outcome.
- Good headlines hit an emotional cue.
- Headlines account for 80 percent of the success of your article, so there’s less pressure when writing.
There are various formulas out there to help you generate headlines, but here are the most important elements:
- Solve a problem
- Promise a transformation or better future
- Play to the frustrations and fears of the audience.
Learning how to write articles primarily focuses on the titles. You’re sure to have more fun with other articles in the future when you understand how a well-crafted headline makes all the difference.
Take your article ideas and then create bullet points in a document on the various titles you could come up with from them.
Then, you can write about 10 headlines each day. You may not use all of them. In fact, you’re likely to scrap most of them. Still, you can figure out what works best.
From there, you write the first paragraph to entice others about the promise you’ve made and how you plan to walk them through to the conclusion or solution.
Ideally, you want a bunch of ideas available before you write. That way, you can go through the list and pick the one that jumps out at you.
Writing a Title for Online Articles
Writing articles for online publication requires keywords. Choosing keywords means that the person is likely to type that phrase or word into a search engine. That way, they can find the article online.
If you’re writing for the internet, a good title should include the main keyword. However, you have to incorporate it so that it’s natural. While your article title needs to be easy to find by search engines, the readers are people who want it to be simple and easy to understand.
Typically, writing click-bait titles are the best, though some people feel that they’re dishonest, spammy, or sensationalist. There’s a way to write them so that they include the keyword, promise something, and target the right audience.
Writing a Title for Print Publications
If the articles you’re writing are for print publications (magazines, paperback books, etc.), then you need to approach the article title in a different way. You don’t require keywords because the person already subscribes to that publication or picks it up somewhere. With that, you can leave out readership demands because the cover design, brand, and editorial style are already set up to target the right person.
Learning to write an article means focusing on where the information is going. While you don’t have to deal with keywords or search engines, it must still show what the content is about and portray a question the reader has.
As you write a title for print, you can be a bit more creative. They’ve got to be eye-catching, so allusion, ambiguity, and puns work well for this type of writing.
Ultimately, the goal is to pique interest instead of informing the reader.
Keep It Simple
If you’re just starting with article writing, consider the two basic formulas, such as a five-point essay or a listicle. Both of them are easy to write and have a definite structure.
As a beginner, it’s hard to write loose or open-ended articles, and you’re sure to get frustrated. Professional content creators have the skills and creativity needed with the right habits and education to handle such article writing options.
Just remember that this advice isn’t suitable for everyone and mainly focuses on bloggers. If your goal is to be a memoirist, essay writer, or non-fiction writer, then your style is a bit different.
For the listicles and five-point essays, you should use the right process to structure the article:
- Mind Maps – You can brainstorm topics and sub-topics with a piece of paper and small and large bubbles.
- Outline – Take the loose ideas to fit them into a specific frame. Write your key points and the bullet points beneath each main idea. Typically, the five-point essay is the easiest. You have an introduction, three main topics with three bullet points (sub-topics) under each, and then a conclusion.
Readers are used to these article types, so they don’t have issues following along.
Now that you know your audience, have a headline, and an outline, writing is so much easier!
The Book End Technique
Writing articles is all about the introduction and the conclusion. When those are right, the content within doesn’t matter as much. However, this is mainly for blogging and online content instead of scholarly journals.
The introduction and conclusion should be at least one paragraph, but you can have a couple if necessary. These are crucial points of the article because most people don’t remember the content they read. Instead, they remember how your article made them feel. You build the audience by creating the feelings that might attract others to you. In a sense, writing isn’t just about the word count.
It’s all about emotions. If you can write well but don’t hit an emotional nerve, you have failed. Most content does this. Focus on things like:
Your goal is to manipulate those emotions and make the reader do what you want. Therefore, be prepared to change your first draft multiple times until you get it right.
The closing should be about how the person should feel when they’re finished reading. What main points should they end with? What promise did you make? Can you leave them wondering and wanting to know more?
The Intro Must Pop
You want people to be there for the entire article, and the best way to do that is to get your reader to one sentence from the first sentence.
In a sense, you want the reader to be surprised that the article is over. The intro serves that purpose the most.
Ultimately, you have to grab their attention fast, or they click off. The first line you write must convey that. Typically, that happens when you ask a question or open with a pain point. You have to paint a picture showing them what they’re missing if they don’t read your article.
The first paragraph must pop and stop people in their tracks so that they continue reading.
When you write articles, the goal is to come up with a first draft that has everything laid out. You might make changes to a paragraph or two, but the primary points are there.
Just start writing the intro paragraph. Don’t let it take up much time if it doesn’t happen immediately. It’s a starting point, and you can go back to it and polish it up when the content is finished.
Focus on the Conclusion
Just as the first paragraph was crucial to get people hooked and wanting to read the entire post, the paragraph or two of the conclusion is also important. As you write articles more often, you realize that you want the reader to do something specific. This might be to click on another article or to sign up for your newsletter.
However, the first sentence of this paragraph should summarize the main points you tried to convey throughout the article. You might use another paragraph to talk about what they can do next. This is also where to put a CTA, such as “read more” or “sign up.”
Write the Body
Now, you should start writing the body of the piece. Each thought or idea is one paragraph. You take the main points from your outline and use each one as a paragraph. That’s the main argument you’re trying to make with the article.
Don’t worry so much about the word count here. Focus on saying everything you need to say, paragraph by paragraph. This is how all articles begin.
When you are done, you can check the article’s length. If it’s just shy of the next 100 words (such as 498 of 500), try to write a little extra. However, don’t add fluff just to hit your count. Writing isn’t about how many words you get on the page. It’s about informing readers, and a good article focuses more on that than anything else.
As you begin to write an article, this can seem a bit daunting. However, make sure that each point is its own paragraph, and you should be fine.
Write the First Draft with Ease
Just keep everything simple with your articles. You’ve got three main ideas and three sub-headings underneath. Write a draft with that outline and try not to overthink anything.
If you’re writing a list article, the formula is similar. Depending on the length of the list, you might not have many sub-topics. Just think about the core idea for each point.
Here are a few tips to help you stay focused:
- End every point by segueing into the next.
- Open the point for the idea, including supporting information, and close it. In a sense, you’re creating an essay within the essay.
- Use about 300 words for each main point. This tip might not be suitable, depending on what you’re writing.
Ultimately, content creators must put their own mark on the content they write. No one else can tell you exactly how to craft an article. You only find your voice by writing and practicing. Don’t expect your first article to be perfect.
As a great writer, you must not only think about the content needed to craft a good article. You need to think about the way it looks.
Again, it’s not enough to focus on the word count and have plenty of information. If it’s all in a wall of text, no one is likely to read it. Writing is all about making things count. Therefore, having one question as a paragraph can make it stand out and give it a punch.
Ultimately, articles should have short paragraphs and plenty of bullet points. When you have a lot of information to convey in your writing, bullets make things appear more concise. With that, the shorter length of the paragraphs gives people more white space to rest their eyes.
The reader doesn’t want to be bombarded with information. Spacing has a big impact on how the writing comes across. For the most part, the reader of the article is in a hurry. They want to scan the page and get the points and info they need without reading for hours.
It’s also a good idea to bold a few words or sentences to emphasize those points more. If you can, add images wherever possible to break up the words and provide more context or information. That way, your article has merit on the way it looks and is more likely to be read by others.
The Use of H2s and H3s for Major Points and Why You Need Them
Sometimes, articles have to be very long to convey all the information. For example, this guide is a cohesive piece that goes into more detail than a shorter article could.
When you write an article, the length doesn’t matter as much as having good writing. Still, most people don’t care how good the writing is if the information is hard to follow.
You start off with the promise of what you intend to do (learn how to write articles). As you go along, the major points are laid out for you in H2 and H3 headings. The best article is one that makes it easy for people to follow. That way, they’re more likely to read to the end so that they know everything about the topic at hand.
What to Do Once the Article Is Written
Once you’re done writing the article, you’re probably eager to turn it in or post it on your site. However, you should refrain from doing so and remember that this is still technically the first draft.
Even if you’ve put every ounce of effort into this article, it’s not in perfect condition. Articles must be revised so that they are polished and look their best. Remember: your reputation is on the line, so don’t skip this part.
Leave It Alone
After you write an article, it’s tempting to send it out immediately. However, don’t do that. Put the article to the side for a while and work on something else. If you’re a writer, you probably have other articles to complete, so this isn’t so hard.
You can come back to the article with fresh eyes and immediately notice odd sentences and other mistakes.
Writing isn’t just about producing things. Unless you have your own editor, you must write the article and then proofread it yourself. Typically, even if you do have an editor, it’s best to proofread your own writing before sending it to them. It’s more professional.
Check Your Facts
After writing and letting the article sit for a while, check to ensure the facts are correct. While you’re writing, it’s easy to mistype a number, and you don’t want to convey the wrong information in your articles.
A good article means that the writer is smart enough to know the common mistakes and watch for them. As you write an article for the first time, use different sources to verify the facts you see. Don’t just take whatever you find online as true. It’s best to do a bit of digging before you write, and then fact-check it all before you send it to the client or the editor of a publication.
Rewrite Where Necessary
Once you write the article and let it sit for a day, read the article out loud. If possible, print out your articles and mark issues so that you have a logical flow.
Writing an article isn’t cut and dry. Once you’ve got the information down, there are various ways to improve it. Every freelance writer knows that good writing means deleting what doesn’t fit or what’s filler. You can also try using bullet points to break up your text and bring important information home in a new way.
Now is the time to be unforgiving and critical of yourself!
This should be your third pass now. A good article is sure to have those common mistakes, such as writing “they’re” for “their” and all the rest. Even though most document creators check for grammatical and spelling mistakes, you should still go through the articles to catch errors they miss.
Writing an article doesn’t end with putting thoughts on paper. The reader could be put off if you write something with many errors in it. A great article is polished and perfect, so the eyes glide down the page.
Submit the Work for Publication
After writing this great article, it’s time to submit it. Make sure you follow the submission guidelines from the client or the publication.
It’s a good idea to go back to the instructions and make sure that you’ve followed everything. Writing an article means that you do everything correctly.
Most publications use electronic submissions, so you can probably email it to the editor. Write a short bit in the body of the email to explain what you’re sending and why.
However, if you must print the article and send it through the regular mail, you should include your contact details on the cover letter and with the first page of the article. Add the word count, your name, and the title, as well. Editors are very busy, so you want to convey all of the information easily to them.
When you craft a cover letter, make sure it’s concise, polite, and to the point. Address it to the editor with their name. Try to omit personal details unless they are necessary to show the editor why you are qualified to write the piece.
Once you’ve submitted the article, give the editor some time to look it over. If you’re writing content for company websites, the same applies. Note when you sent it in and then work on something else.
If the client needs changes, they are sure to let you know promptly.
However, if you send in an article for print publication and don’t hear anything within a week, follow up with the editor to see if there are things you can do to improve your chances of being picked.
Hone Your Writing Skills
It’s important to learn the process of writing great articles, but it doesn’t do much for you if you don’t practice. Most people start with a how-to article, and they get overwhelmed with the many points to consider. Along with that, an opinion piece can be hard to craft because you’re not considered an expert in the matter.
As you continue to write, your writing skills improve. Just make sure that the write-ups pop and punch. The goal is to use words that people can visualize. From there, consider bolding or italicizing certain points so that they feel it instead of just read it.
Your reader usually focuses on the first line of any section of the article. Therefore, a good article has strong wording in the first part so that they are drawn in and continue reading.
Great Tips for Writing an Article
The great thing about articles is that there are so many opportunities to write and shine. Producing written content is something that some people never get the hang of, but if you’re adamant, the only way to find out for yourself is by writing something.
Here are some great tips to consider when you begin the writing process:
Keep a List for New Ideas
While some people say that writer’s block doesn’t exist, it does. However, it often comes because you don’t have an idea or topic to write about.
When you have a list of ideas available to pick from, you can easily expand them into various articles. Writing can be tricky, and written content is hard to produce all the time. Therefore, when the ideas are already there for you, it’s easy to grab one and start researching.
Keep a notepad with you to write things down as you think of them on the go. Then, have a dedicated spreadsheet full of ideas you can use. As you grow your list, consider adding keywords to incorporate and build a content schedule to show what to write about and when to publish it.
Let the Ideas Brew for a While
You have an amazing idea or three waiting in the wings, but you don’t have to jump in and write the article immediately. Forcing yourself to provide the supporting evidence rarely works. Let the topic sit for a bit and mull over the different angles you can take to craft something original and unique.
Edit Before Writing
With all that idea-gathering you’ve done, you have tons of ideas, and you probably don’t need them all. Now, it’s time to be brutal and cut out supporting ideas or topics that don’t fit with what you want to talk about.
You don’t have to craft an article right away. Just start thinking and changing the outline now so that things go smoothly later. Don’t be afraid to hack out the things that don’t work for your position or argument.
Most people feel that their writing improves when they multitask. However, that’s rarely true, especially if your goal is to write articles in short periods of time.
Producing the best article means devoting all of your attention to it. Turn off your smartphone, mute social media, and turn off the television.
This is the only way to ensure that the article has your undivided attention. With that, you may have to ask other household members or colleagues not to bother you because you’re in the writing zone.
What if you can’t ignore the rest of the world? That’s okay. You might want to create something now and don’t have the ability to do so. Take care of your other responsibilities and come back when you’re more relaxed. You might find yourself writing at 2 a.m. when the rest of the house is asleep. If that’s the case, so be it!
Research Everything Efficiently
When starting with an article, it’s hard to know how much time to devote to the research and the written content. Research is crucial, but some people spend too much on finding information than they do writing about it.
When you’re searching for statistics and facts to support the argument, be specific with the search terms. If you can’t find what you want, you might have to adjust your writing or find a different subject for the article.
Most of the time, the articles you write are informational, so you might be the authority figure here. With that, you can start with simpler topics that don’t require tons of research to complete.
Use Bullet Points
Writing with bullet points can ensure that you organize the thoughts you want to convey and finish your article faster. Plus, bulleted lists usually drive more traffic because the algorithms search engines use prioritize articles with sub-headings and bullets.
Therefore, writing with bullet points can save you time and increase the chances of your article reaching the right audience. Just remember that write-ups like this should include regular paragraph text as well. That way, you’re conveying information in different ways to engage the readers.
Set a Timer
Writing takes time, and there’s no way around that. However, you can focus on time management by setting a timer. This tells you when you should start writing.
Generally, it’s a good idea to go at a half-hour. When you hit “play,” write the article and don’t worry about anything else, including grammar or spelling. Just let the articles flow and see where you get.
Then, take a bit of a break and come back for another half-hour if necessary. Before you know it, you have an article that you can proofread and send to your client or publisher.
Read It Aloud
One of the best things you can do after finishing the article is to go back and read it out loud. The words should flow out of your mouth and feel natural. It’s easier to hear oddball structures if you read it aloud. Then, you can start and stop for editing until you’re satisfied with the article.
Be Concise But Not Necessarily Short
You’ve probably seen articles out there telling you to write 2,000 words or 500 words. Which one do you pick?
It depends on various factors, such as how much time you have, how far into the subject you want to go, and all the rest. Generally, your article should be concise with no fluff. Go through each line separately and make sure it needs to be there and adds value for the reader. If not, cut it.
Don’t Overthink Things
Most people agonize over that perfect quote or the best statistic out there. However, all this does is prevent you from starting. The goal is to write. Yes, you need to research the topic, but you can’t overthink things.
Start off by writing what comes to your mind. Go back and add the supporting evidence as you can.
Another issue people have is that they second-guess their topic or idea. This eats away at you and stops you from beginning the article. Don’t worry about choosing another one. Go ahead with what you’ve decided and complete the assignment.
If you want to, you can jot down that new idea and write about it next!
Take a Break
Whether you’re writing a 500-word or 5,000-word article, you need to take plenty of breaks. Most people don’t realize how challenging it is to write. However, your brain is constantly working to come up with the next idea or sentence while you’re typing what you are trying to say now.
Though you probably aren’t out of breath when you write, you do experience mental exhaustion. There’s no rule that says you have to push through when you’re tired.
Even if you can’t take a day to rest, do something else and come back to the writing assignment in an hour or even 15 minutes. Get away from the laptop or computer, and you might just find that your mind is refreshed and ready to go again.
Don’t “Save” an Idea
You’ve made your idea list, so you have a long line of things you could talk about now. This is great, and you’re ready to go. Again, that’s amazing, and you should feel proud of it.
However, you probably glance through the ideas and think about saving the best ones for later. You might believe that they could be easier to write or bring the most traffic to your website.
It’s tempting to save an idea for whatever reason. However, you don’t want to do that. What if you have two ideas: one for organic food labels and one about which stores sell organic food? Both of them are within the same subject, but they’re different.
You might think that talking about food labels is hard, but when you plug in that search term, you find out that some manufacturers have gotten into trouble because they misinformed the public with the labels. It’s better to write about that topic now because there’s already a buzz around it.
It’s called a trending topic, and you’re more likely to get noticed, especially from your current following, if you write it now. Then, you can promote it on social media and everywhere else you can think of. That way, you see recognition and everyone knows that you care about their health and needs.
Aspiring writers may feel that they can’t produce a good article, but you can overcome those feelings and fears. In fact, the first step is to craft one article, and that’s your homework.
As you are sure to learn, writing an article gets easier with time. Freelance writers do it all the time, so you know that it’s possible. Plus, written content isn’t dying or soon to go away.
Once you’ve started writing, your goal is to become a better writer. The way to do that is just to keep doing what you’re doing. Though it’s hard at times because you worry that you’ve chosen the wrong topic or aren’t qualified, just take things slow.
You’ve learned many great tips on how to write articles, and the time is now to craft something. Don’t overthink things or demand perfection from yourself because you’re just learning. Get words on paper and make your argument so that the world can hear you!