This is a guest post by Anne
You’ve done the hard part. You found a brilliant idea for your article and you know exactly what your keywords are going to be. Now all you need to do is to put together an article that makes sense, one that gives all the information you want to share, in a way that is readable and succinct. You want to write an article that will be accepted by your editor or client – one that’s so impressive they’ll keep coming back to you for subsequent jobs. How do you do this? How do you write an article that makes your writing stand out above all the other brilliant writers on the web?
Develop your skill and technique for writing articles
You can have great article structure with everything in the right place. You can also be the best at keyword-littering throughout your article. However, if you haven’t got the skill and technique for actually writing the article, your work is dead before you’ve begun. I really admire successful writers on the Internet who’ve to write competitively in English against native speakers like myself. There are millions of writers who fall into this category and we have to take our hats off to them. Developing the skill can be one of the hardest stumbling blocks to writers who publish online, but thankfully, there are lots of ways to combat this.
Oni has many sound writing articles on his site including this one called, How I Write A Complete Article From Scratch. It’s beneficial to subscribe to writing blogs like this one and take some free online courses in punctuation and grammar. I’ve written a few grammar and punctuation articles which can be accessed for free on the web. However, here are some additional ways in which you can broaden your writing skill.
1. Use a thesaurus to widen your vocabulary. Your writing reads more fluently if you have a larger vocabulary.
2. Invest in a good grammar book and teach yourself better sentence structure. No matter how great your advice is, readers will be distracted by grammatical mistakes in your post.
3. Do your research right. Readers like to see figures to validate your points. However, if you’re making them up to impress, someone will catch you out. You will never be trusted again and all the hard work you did to build up your brand will have been wasted.
4. Always be yourself. Please don’t try to sound like someone else. Sure, they’re really popular because of what they do. However, remember that their success is partly built on who they are. They’re far better at being them than you are. The flip side of this is that no one is as good at being you as you are. Use this at your advantage. Don’t try to fit into and around their trend. Instead, make a trend of your own. You’re sure to succeed with yours because you understand it best.
Make your ideas for articles the ones that stand out
The best ideas for articles hit you when you’re not looking. This is why, in order to write articles that sell, you have to always carry a notebook to jot down these eureka moments. Sometimes I swear I’d remember my ideas because they seem so brilliant at the time. However, it only takes about ten minutes to forget them. The thing is, there’s hardly any unique topic left for writers to write about. The Internet is saturated with all kinds of articles and you can find virtually anything you want, already covered in detail by several writers. All this means is that you have to find a hook that makes the viewers swing your way. I don’t believe in being controversial to get traffic. I prefer to ask questions or tackle the subject from a humorous point of view. Here are some other ways you could make your ideas pop.
1. Do your research to find out how the article has been covered before. Find the angle which was most popular and take the opposite approach. For example, the topic of finding love has been extensively covered on the web. Flip this idea on its head and write an article about 5 most painful ways to dump someone.
2. Write an article that’s unique by using a personal experience. You can bet no one else can write such an article because your life is distinctive. You can apply this principle to almost any topic you have to cover.
3. Reading is a great way of building up your writing skill. It also gives you ideas for a vast amount of article writing.
4. Become an expert in your hobby and start writing about it. This alone will give you hundreds of options for article writing. The more you know about a subject, the more you have to share to others and the better you can teach them to follow in your footsteps.
Pay attention to the structure and ‘feel’ of your article
Hard copy articles and books have their own structure. When I studied writing I was instructed to read about 4 issues of any publication before submitting work to them. I was told that each publishing house has their unique rules and ‘voice’. Any article submitted therefore, had to complement their ‘house style’ or they won’t publish it. I ignored this warning and went on a writing rampage. I wrote dozens of great articles and sent them to all the hard copy magazines I’d ever heard of – without paying attention to their individual format. The result of this negligence on my part was widespread rejection. Some of them didn’t even bother to reply to me. I said that to say this: writing an article on the Internet needs to follow a ‘house style’ as well. No matter how great or informative your article is, it’ll soon be buried under the virtual slush pile of similarly great (or even better work) if it doesn’t follow the format of article writing on the web. Here are some crucial formatting to follow when writing an article on the Internet
1. Treat each article as your virtual CV. Never publish without first editing thoroughly.
2. Use at least one optimized image within your article. Learn why it’s vital to optimize your images here. The recent rise of Pinterest and Clipix makes it even more important to have better, more optimized images.
3. Use sections with bold (or larger) headings to make your article easier to read or skim.
4. Additional bonuses: do a ‘revision’ or ‘takeaway’ at the end of each article to recap the main points you’ve made. Readers and editors appreciate that. It’s also a helpful and clever way to build up your word count if you need to.
Use keywords throughout your article
This doesn’t’ apply to hardcopy magazines, but one of the most important things about writing online is to understand the importance of keywords, and know how to use them. If you were looking for writing course on the Internet you would type in ‘writing course’ into your search engine. The results that appear at the top of your search results page would obviously be those pages with high page rank and a good amount of back-links. However, one of the most important factors of getting your articles at the top of these search results page, is how relevant it is to the search query. This is where keywords come in. Your keywords must be used multiple times throughout your article, but in order to create an impressive article that sells, you need to be able to achieve this as cleverly and as unobtrusively as possible. Here are some crucial points on understanding and using keywords when writing an article online.
1. If possible, bold, italicize and underline your keyword once (for each element) in your article.
2. Go to Google Keyword Tool. It’s free to use. Type in your keyword in the ‘Word or phrase’ panel. Type in your captha, and scroll down see the results for how people are searching for that phrase. Note: you can toggle the ‘broad’ and ‘exact’ options to see related and exact terms respectively. Once you’ve found the terms people are using to find your keyword, you can also pepper these around on your article. This keyword tool can be used in several other ways, but I never write an article without first consulting it to find the best keywords within any particular topic.
3. If you’re asked to use a certain keyword throughout your article, but can’t find ways to use it naturally, be crafty and use statistics on the Internet by saying the following: ‘I typed in the phrase (for example) ‘how to write an article’ in my browser and found that … search queries were made for that term this month. Or, what does the term ‘keyword here’ conjure up in your mind? You may’ve always thought ‘keyword here’ was an unpopular phrase, but to me ‘keyword here’ is…’ There are so many possibilities. I suggest keeping a note of them to use when you’re pressed for time.
I have other ideas which are beneficial for writing articles that sell. However, I’ve now exceeded a thousand words and will have to keep those thoughts for a follow-up post. Please do share How To Write An Article That Sells on your favourite networking sites so that other writers can benefit from it too. Thank you
Anne is an author and freelance writer and blogs at her writing blog, A Blogger’s Books, where she’s written a series called, ‘How to Write An Article Online’.