Article writing is one of the greatest journalistic arts. The ability to engage and inform is found very rare in writers. Whether you want content for your blog or aspire to write for top magazines, this skill can help you stand out from the crowd.
The process of article writing is quite simple. It might be its simplicity that makes it hard for some people. In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about article writing.
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Article Writing 101
There are three phases of article writing. We’ll discuss each one separately in detail. Let’s start with the pre-writing phase:
Most writers feel that this is the most difficult phase in article writing. The reason is that writing is the fun part for most people. Information gathering can be difficult sometimes.
If you have the core facts or information about what you are going to write, then the writing phase becomes easy. Just confirm those facts from credible resources.
These steps will help you in topic research:
- First off, you need to have a clear goal or brief about the topic. The more clear you are about, the better you will be in the end. For example, the goal of this article is to cover everything about article writing.
- Then, research the core facts or information from multiple resources that you want to include. You can read several articles from the web, books, magazines, or research papers. It depends on the depth of the article.
- Skim-read through all of the resources. In your word file or paper, take notes. Remember that it’s not the writing phase yet. Instead, jot down the core facts that are going to support your article.
- Build a quick foundation. Define all the terms you’re going to use.
- Organize your notes into an outline order (in which you’re going to write). You can also start writing without an outline but having an outline is better.
Now it’s time to write the article. Start with the outline and information from the previous section. And as you write, delete the information you have used.
The first part of an article is the headline. Think of a headline as an ad for the rest of the article. The headlines help people decide if they are going to read the article or not. So it should be compelling enough to get them to click. Make your headlines appealing using these methods:
- Clearly mention what the article is about.
- Make it irresistible.
- Never promise what you can’t deliver.
- Include a number because it can increase the click-through-rates.
The intro should hook them without giving too many details about the article. Make sure it ends with a sentence that makes the reader curious to know how the article continues.
Now it’s time to give them the information they came for. One of the best practices is to make the article scannable by dividing it into sub-headers. It helps people skim and go back and forth between different sections.
Here you’ll sum up your article. Some people don’t read the entire article and move directly to the ending.
So include a conclusion to the article here.
Finally, include a call-to-action. It can be asking them to comment, subscribe to your newsletter, or sending them to your products page. It really depends on your marketing goals.
These tips will improve readability –
- A paragraph should not contain more than 4 sentences.
- A sentence should not contain more than 20 words.
- Use transition words to connect phrases.
- Write like how you talk.
- Write in an active voice.
These tips will help you write faster.
- Focus. Sit down and force yourself on writing.
- Some people outline the content on the first day, then rewrite, edit, and deliver on consecutive days. Others do all things in one sitting. Experiment and then choose whichever one you like. Reading the requirements at first is a good idea to get it behind your brain.
- Practice a lot. Do not repeat yourself or follow a pattern. There are a few phrase patterns and descriptive style that every writer has. That’s distinctive about you, so don’t worry about it. In fact, it will become your signature style.
- Ways to practice:
- Read a lot
- Give yourself daily writing challenges like short stories, scripts, etc.
- Start a daily blog
- Practice on fake briefs
- Grammar exercises
- Make sure that your office space is conducive to focus.
- If your phrase or word doesn’t convey your idea, make it uppercase and keep writing. You can change it during proofreading. If you keep trying to replace that word or phrase, you might end up wasting plenty of time.
- If you are stuck completely during writing (Writer’s block), take a break and come back again.
- Just start writing. Your first sentence is the hardest and sets the tone for the rest of the article.
Proofreading and Editing
As the writer of many famous horror novels, Stephen King says, “To write is human, to edit is divine.” This quote shows the importance of editing.
Follow these steps when proofreading and editing:
- Read the entire article word by word.
- Correct any flow or coherence mistake. Ask yourself if each phrase makes sense.
- Correct any grammatical, spelling, or punctuation mistakes.
- Proofread and edit by taking breaks.
- Proofread several times before publishing.
Bonus – SEO Writing
This section is about optimizing your article for higher search engine rankings. Remember that if people like your article, you’ll get an SEO boost. So follow these guidelines among all the other guidelines about writing in this article:
- Keyword optimization: Select one main keyword for an article and include it in the H1 tag, at least one H2 and H3 tag, the intro, and the conclusion.
- Create a meta description of 130-155 characters and include the main keyword in it.
- Ensure a maximum keyword density of 1.5% and a minimum of .7%. For a 1000-word article, the main keyword should not be used less than 7 times and more than 15 times.
- Include at least two external links to websites that support any information added.
- Include one link to one of the other articles on your website.
Final Words on Article Writing
Article writing has three main parts: Research, writing, and proofreading. All three phases are equally important. And if you want to publish it on the web, you need to optimize it for SEO.
Use today’s article as a guide when writing your next article and notice the difference.
Do you have a specific method to speed up the process of article writing? If yes, then do let us know in the comments below.