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How to write the perfect article every time.

May 20, 2021
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You know how important a blog can be for your website. Well-written articles with good content and SEO can be a powerful tool in attracting new visitors to your site. Whether you're committed to writing the blogs yourself, you've hired someone else for the task, or you want a good mix of contributing writers, you want to make sure each of those articles is compelling. 

So why are you sitting there banging your head on your laptop with no idea of what to write?

 Allow me to help!

 Recently, I found the most creative writer in the world (I’m not kidding you either 😉). She keeps delivering these amazing pieces with minimum direction from me and with terrifying accuracy about the subject and my actual thought process on those topics (for a second, I thought she was reading my mind 😉) that’s how good she is.

Of course, I immediately thought, man… we got to share the secret sauce with our readers to help them produce killer content like she does (but you will never be as good as her though 😊) but you can get really really close.

This is what she had to say about it: 


Make a List of Topics

The best place to start is at the beginning. You're in business for a reason, right? Your company or firm offers products or services or information you know will be helpful to others. Try to think of the types of questions potential customers might ask about your services and how you might answer them. Then make a list. 

For example, let's say you own and operate a lot that sells recreational vehicles. What might a prospective customer ask about RVs? Here are just a few that come to the top of my mind: 

  • How Do You Level an RV on a Site?
  • How Do You Winterize an RV?
  • What Are the Best Places to Visit when RVing in Wisconsin?
  • How Do I Rescue My RV After I've Backed It Into a Ditch?

 Once you have your list made, you're ready to get started.


Know Your Audience

If you're tasked with writing an article that promotes the benefits of a great, new over-the-counter ointment that does a number on eczema, it's helpful to be able to share the fact that the product has been written up in scientific journals that attest to its efficacy.

 However, you have to keep in mind your audience. Web-writing is a completely different animal than writing white papers and other authoritative reports. If you're writing for the general public, you can't be using medical and scientific language that doesn't resonate with the broad general public. You should, by all means, share such important scientific information. Just be sure to share it on layman's terms.

 While we're on the subject, you've probably noticed that in the world of digital marketing, there are a whole lot of acronyms used to describe terms and products specific to the industry. It's common in other fields as well.

 If the common topic you've chosen to write about has some uncommon terminology, be sure to explain those terms to your readers. And do it in plain English.

 Here's one more thing about audiences on the web: They tend to skim through articles quickly so it helps to: 

  • Write short paragraphs
  • Include multiple skimmable headers
  • Make regular use of bullet points

 

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Do Your Research

There are times you may be very well-versed on a topic you're set to write about, and there are times you may not know diddly-squat. And here I will put my earlier advice into practice by explaining the technical term: diddly-squat. It means "anything." As in, there are times you may not know anything about a subject. 

Naturally, that's not going to be the case when you're writing about your own line of work, but it's also almost always going to be true that you won't know it all. Especially if yours is a niche market in a much larger field.

 This is where the web can be your friend. Personally, I find it helpful to search for and print out several articles on any particular subject I'm preparing to write about. Why print them out? Sure, you can read those same articles online and take notes, but I find it more helpful to print pages where I can highlight or mark-up key information, and sort pages to address subtopics. 

Whichever way you choose to tackle your research, just be sure to seek out reputable, non-biased online sources. And look for confirmation of claims in those multiple articles. If in your research you come upon contradictory information, you'll have to decide whether to present both pieces of information or leave both out completely. 

After all, unless you're working on an opinion piece when you write, you want to get the facts right.


 Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan

 I wish I could lay claim to that savvy prescription, but then I'd be lying. A favorite boss and former salesman made it a habit of using it regularly in his staff pep talks. Chances are he borrowed it from someone else as well. Either way, it's good advice.

 When I plan an article, it's almost always built on an outline. If you've been given a series of questions or subtopics to cover, the outline is pretty much made for you. Also, don't be afraid to add some personality. Your research will likely prompt some questions of your own on the topic that you can work into your content with a bit of humor.

 If you've been given free rein with your article, the most natural approach is to have your first heading define the topic you're about to delve into. From there you'll likely want to explain why this topic should matter to the reader. That's your next heading. Subsequent headings might address subcategories of the main topic or the advantages and disadvantages of the particular product or service.

 While you're writing, try to stay aware of the length of your articles, leaving room at the end for your takeaway or to otherwise wrap things up in a tidy bow. I also like to include a teaser sentence or two at the beginning to (hopefully!) grab the reader's interest.

 

Other Stuff

 Try your best to come up with compelling headings. Preferably, not like this one. In fact, I used it specifically to demonstrate what a poor heading looks like. Don't question me! That's the story I'm sticking with! 

But as long as we're on the subject of "other stuff," I'd like to briefly discuss visuals. Compelling content is vital, but equally so are the photos and graphics you select to accompany your piece. They can do a great (or poor) job at pulling a reader in. In fact, sometimes the visual you settle on can completely upend the article you planned on writing.

 A case in point is an earlier blog post I wrote, The Importance of a Dynamic Website. Perhaps it was because of the word dynamic in the title, but whatever the reason, I immediately envisioned the 1960's-era dynamic duo, Batman and Robin, and built the entire article about websites around their kooky fight scenes.

 It was outside-the-box thinking that seemed to work--that time. But don't fall into the trap of thinking that you should forever toss aside tried and true formulas that have consistently made it easier for you to write. I've tried that out-of-the-box approach on other occasions and have found it can just as easily not work. And I ended up wasting a lot of writing time. 

Go Easy On Yourself

When you come right down to it, there are no perfect articles. But before you start thinking I've destroyed the whole premise of this article, be kind and cut me some slack. Writers write because they find subjects interesting and they want to convey that to others so they might find it interesting and informative as well. Sometimes they'll really hit the mark. Sometimes not so much.

 Here's the thing when you write a blog. You'll finish your article. You'll read it through from beginning to end several times over and feel it flows and answers all the questions someone might ask about the subject. And yet, it may still seem lacking.

Don't beat yourself up. If it's well written but has something missing, chances are it will compel the reader to reach out and ask a question or two. And that's really the goal with web writing. That, in fact, is the perfect result! 


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