I have a few steps I take when writing articles, and I’d like you to know that even though this is my current recipe for writing articles, my techniques evolve over time, and it might have changed in the next few months. However, I also believe that by following this formula you will be able to be a more efficient writer.
Step #1: Research
This is the first step I take whenever I want to write a new article. While it might be easier to write a complete article (like this one) without research in a field I’m familiar with, it wouldn’t be that feasible in a field I know little to nothing about.
My reason for researching first is to have a basic understanding of the field I’m writing about, and how easy it is to write in that field. During this process I also try to understand the basic terms used in this field, the basic format used for articles, and the top blogs and websites in that field.
This kind of research is still a basic version, and it is just to give you an understanding of the field.
Depending on how new you are to a field, it might take hours of research to understand the concept enough to be able to write on it.
Resources I use: Google and Yahoo Answers
Step #2: Brainstorm
Once I’ve been able to get a grasp of a niche by researching, the next step I take is to brainstorm. And no, I don’t just rush into writing an article.
The reality is that most articles I write have already been written before I lift my pen, and that’s the importance of researching. It can be when I’m in a boring place, or when I’m on the road or in the car, I make it a duty to brainstorm on what I researched earlier. That will prepare my mind for the articles I plan to write while at the same time ensuring I still have a clear understanding of what I researched earlier.
Step #3: Outline
Now that I have a clear understanding of the niche I am to write on, the next step I take is to outline. By outlining, I mean mapping out the topics and ideas for the articles I plan to write.
While a lot of people believe in writing their articles first, I believe outlining is more effective. Mind you, I’ve experimented with both approaches.
Outlining first is like travelling on a road not that familiar with a map in your hand, whereas writing your articles directly is like travelling on a road you’re not familiar with without a map.
There are two major ways I outline, and I’ll be explaining them below.
By Categories: The first way I outline is by categories. In other words, if I’m to write an article about marketing, instead of just writing 10 titles from off my head, what I do is come up with 5 categories or so, and then try to come up with 5 titles for each category.
For example, if I really were to write an article on marketing, my categories will be something like: Content Marketing, SEO, Guest Blogging, Article Marketing and Link Building. You will notice that some of the categories listed are sub-categories of categories already listed, but I can easily get unique ideas on each one.
If I really did research the niche I plan to write an article on it won’t be difficult for me to generate 5 unique titles for each category listed.
If you try to do the same and you find it difficult or impossible, it means you haven’t researched enough – so you should give yourself some time and do the research again.
By Post Type: The next way I outline my content is by post type. This also has to do with me having an idea of which kind of post works in a particular niche. Once I have an idea, I’ll come up with 3 or more kind of post types, and then come up with at least 5 titles for each post type listed.
This approach can work with any niche, even if you’re low on categories. If I were to write for any niche for example, 3 post types I will use will be: List Posts, Comparison Posts and Opinion Posts.
You see that those are already unique post ideas for you to write on, and you should be able to get an idea for 5 posts from each if you really know what you’re doing.
Having a Complete Outline
When it comes to outlining, I have tried two approaches before: The first one being coming up with the titles alone, and the other one being coming up with the titles and the points. In my own experience, I have noticed the approach of coming up with the titles and the points to work the most.
While it might be easy to only come up with the titles, I don’t think that makes a complete post outline, and I also think it will hinder “your flow” during your article writing process. For example, when you finish writing “article A”, instead of going directly to “Article B” you will have to start over again with getting the points for “article B”, and that might even lead to you losing your “writing mood”.
Step #4: Research Again (based on your outline)
The next step I take after having an outline is to research again.
The first research I did is just to have an idea of the niche I’m writing on, while the second research will be based on my outline. In other words, I’ll try to research to have more knowledge about each title I write.
In most cases, most of the titles will be similar, so reading a few articles should give you an idea to cover a lot of topics.
Step #5: Write
The fifth step I take after my second research is to write. Yes, just write and let everything flow. In a period like this I will turn off the internet or disregard it completely, and thankfully, my first and second research will give me enough points to ensure I really don’t need the internet for anything – and if I’m in a mood that I can’t control my desire to use the internet, I switch to my second laptop that doesn’t have the internet installed.
Writing is the simplest aspect, as every step before this has already simplified the process for you. In reality, after doing all the above, I can write a quality 500 words article in 7 – 8 minutes, and I can write 5 – 6 articles in an hour depending on my mood.
Simple, isn’t it?
Resource: A Word Processor
Step #6: Edit
This is the final step, and it is also the most important.
Writing your article doesn’t mean you’re done with it. You need to edit to ensure the consistency of your flow, the accuracy of your grammar and the correctness of your points.