Whether it’s to make a living or to augment your income, knowing how to craft an effective article is an essential skill for those who prepare online content. This starts on the ground floor with doing some prep work and goes on from there, and the final result will be a piece that can be a pleasure for your audience to read.
Here are ten tips you can consider next time you set out to write:
1. Do your research
If you are preparing an article for a client, make sure you know exactly what they are looking for. It’s okay to ask questions, and once you feel confident that you understand what is expected, it’s time to do your basic research.
The more you know about a topic, the more interesting your writing will be. It will also make it easier to include additional relevant statistics, facts or other details that may add extra value for the reader.
2. Consider the structure
Now that you have the information you need, it’s time to consider how you will structure your article. Keep in mind that many people scan a piece before they even begin to read, so make sure the important details are easy to find. Unless it is being written for a specific audience, it’s wise to leave technical jargon out, and also to write to the literacy level of the intended reader.
Along with all of this, it makes sense to remember that many people peruse articles online using a mobile device – in fact, mobile internet has now overtaken desktop. Keep your sentences and paragraphs short and snappy.
3. Titles make a difference
The importance of coming up with a catchy title can’t be overemphasized. Keeping them short and avoiding overly dramatic clickbait-style wording is best. This being said, it’s perfectly fine to use humour if you feel it’s appropriate.
4. Bait your “hook”
An exciting opening sentence catches the reader’s attention, encouraging them to find out more. Since it may be seen in online descriptions, it’s a smart idea to make sure it works out of context. Many authors choose to frontload their pieces with a lot of detail at the beginning, which will let the person reading it know what it has to offer them specifically.
5. Make good use of hyperlinks
Including hyperlinks in an item can add more depth and tends to help a piece get picked up by search engines, provided it is relevant and adds value. They also lend credibility by making it easy to verify any facts presented and ensure that other authors receive attribution for their work.
6. Keep SEO at the forefront
This may sound daunting, but it’s really not that hard. Simple choices like using keywords close to the beginning of a written item, adding hyperlinks, and utilizing headings and subheadings may all prove helpful, and keep in mind that following the principles of good journalism will usually result in pieces that are become SEO friendly by themselves.
7. Consider mixed media
If you wanted to find out how to grow plants, would you rather read a block of text or one that is broken up with lots of colourful pictures of flowers and diagrams showing how to do basic landscaping chores?
It depends on the subject matter of course, but often, graphics and other elements such as video and audio offer another way to easily create materials people will want to read. There are lots of free or low-cost sources for these online, with Pixabay.com being a good starting point.
8. Avoid the temptation to “pad”
When you’re trying to reach your set word count, it can sometimes be tempting to pad out your work with filler content, and it can be very easy to fall into his trap. To keep this from happening, finish what you’re working on and then, as you edit, look for places where you can add additional details or facts that add more value to the article.
9. Cutting it down to size
Having too many words can be as big a problem as not having enough. As a writer, it may be painful to cut out parts you worked hard on, but it may be necessary. Besides, you can hold on to them so they can be used as the starting point for your next work.
10. Wrapping it all up
Now that you’ve reached the end, it’s time to construct the closing paragraph. Don’t add any new information, and try to limit it to just three sentences. Some writers use it as an opportunity to ask the reader a question, which can encourage them to think and leave them eager to find out more.
Whether you write on your own as a freelancer, prepare ad copy for a business or craft pieces to promote a not-for-profit group, knowing how to construct an interesting and engaging piece that’s a pleasure to read can really pay off. Get in touch with us at Words of Worth now to find out how we can help you to get started at writing from home today.