Whether you are a blogger or a copywriter, you need to write an article that people would actually read. The thing is, it is easier said than done. If you look at the work of marketing gurus like Neil Patel, you would realize how he puts a great deal of effort on just one article.
As a copywriter for years, I want to show you how to write an article that people actually read. First, you have to understand that the audience on the internet is not the same as your newspaper or book. People today want information, and they want it fast.
Here is a snapshot of what we will cover:
- Step 1: Start with the end goal in mind
- Step 2: Write an article with a structure
- Step 3: Provide in-depth information
- Step 4: Get personal in your writing style
- Step 5: Cut, cut, and edit
Let’s get started!
Step 1: Start writing with the end goal in mind
What is the article about? This is the first question you have to ask yourself. Keep in mind that writing for the internet must be focused on adding value to the user, so it is best that you sit back and approach it from the top.
Your goal must reflect on your headline or title. And since you are writing for value, your article title must grab attention. The best article types, with the goal in perspective, are shown below:
- How-to – these are articles that show people how to get something done. You use this type of article to provide instructional materials. It is a common goal of affiliate marketers and writers for product support.
- Review – whether it is a product or a movie review, this article is about your opinion, the goal if which is to tell your reader how you feel about something. An example is this review of SaleHoo.
- Listicle – the goal of this article type is to provide entertainment. It is somewhat closer to a trivia. This, however, can be a variation of a product review, as you can write articles about the top ten best phones, or the top ten dropshipping software tool
Here are two examples:
- Comparisons – this is another kind of product review, but you pit one product against another. A typical product review focuses on the features, pros and cons, and benefits of a single product. This, however, is a direct comparison between at least two different products. The goal of writing this article is to help a reader decide which product to buy.
Now that you have a goal, you can start drafting your article, and you can do this by following the next step.
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Step 2: Write an article with a structure
Any kind of work that provides great results come from a structure. Buildings have a structure, and so do written materials. A structure serves as the backbone of your article. Without this, you will ramble.
In general, the ideal structure of an article is shown below:
Let us discuss each part of the structure further.
It is this part where you give your reader of a taste of what is to come. A bad introduction can cause churn. This is your elevator pitch, and you must be able to convince the reader that he has to continue reading.
An introduction should be no more than three paragraphs. And make these paragraphs short. Somewhere in the introduction, you have to provide a short list of what you will talk about, especially so if you are doing a product review.
This list applies on a case-to-case-basis. If you are writing a how-to article, you cannot possibly enumerate all the list on the introduction. In a case like this, a statement saying that a step-by-step instruction will be provided should be enough.
The body of the article is the meat of the sandwich. If you manage the reader to get past the intro, then you must put in more effort to keep them reading the body.
This is the part of the article where the reader gets value from your work. If you promised a listicle, then provide a list. If you promised a how-to, then provide step by step instructions.
This is where many writers fail, and they start to rumble, causing the reader to tap that dreaded X symbol on a browser.
Here are some tips to keep your readers hooked:
- Write short paragraphs – no more than five lines, please. Huge paragraph blocks are a pain in the eyes and the head.
- Use numbers – use numbers in listicles and instructional articles. People find it easier to follow the steps if they know they are on step 1, or 2, or 3. It is also a great psychological tactic, as people have this mental craving to follow numbers to the end.
- Use bullet points –bullet points organize ideas under one category, and it makes it easier for a reader to skim through information.
- Use bold typeface – select important words and highlight them. It makes an impact on the reader and helps the reader remember the important points you are trying to make.
Remember, the body of your article must deliver what your article title promised. Keep it simple. Keep it short.
Never forget to add a summary or a conclusion. What is the difference between the two?
A summary is a short version of what you wrote. A conclusion is like judgment, or a verdict, which you typically use in product reviews.
It is in the summary part where you should add your last effort for a call to action. This is important if you are writing copy, or if you want your readers to subscribe to your blog.
Step 3: Provide in-depth information
I know what I said—keep it simple. This does not mean you cannot keep it in-depth. People read for several reasons, the most common of which are:
A person who wants to learn would appreciate if you provide valuable information in every sentence. Amateurs use fluff, especially if the writer is paid to produce the content for someone else. It is not unusual for paid copywriters to fill their work with fluff just to meet the word count requirement.
On the other hand, a person who reads for entertainment wants juicy information. If you are writing about the top ten NBA rivalries in history, then each rivalry in your list must contain enough information for the reader to understand:
- The teams involved
- How the rivalry started
- The key events in the rivalry, like one player smacking the other
- How the rivalry ended
Now, there is a pitfall to writing something in-depth. This commonly happens in how-to articles, where the writer adds irrelevant information.
If you are writing how to use a tool, and you told the reader to click on a particular button, move on to the next step. You can discuss what that button is for, but talking about who created that button, what year it was invented or used on the internet does not make sense.
This pitfall is called digression, a situation where the writer or speaker gets away from the main subject matter.
Step 4: Get personal in your writing style
One of the best approaches to use today is to stop being an academic, unless, of course, these are your target audience.
You have to write in spoken words, not in written words. Spoken words are informal, and writing this way makes the reader tread on familiar grounds.
Here are some tips for writing in a personal, spoken form:
- Do not be afraid to use slang
- Use “I” and “you” instead of “we”
- Use contractions like don’t, she’s, we’d have, wouldn’t, and more
Formal writing is a pain in the head, and it does not help in building a relationship with your reader.
Step 5: Cut, cut, and edit
Still here? Great!
The last step is to cut your article and make it short and sweet. Remove any elements that make it long-winding. Once you are done with your article, let it sit for a few hours. Read it again, and cut parts of it that do not add value.
Read your article out loud, and decide if every sentence in there makes sense if you were to say it to a live audience.
As far as grammar is concerned, you can use tools to check your accuracy, like Grammarly, or you can hire experts to do it for you. Tools like Grammarly require a monthly subscription.
The great thing about hiring a freelancer is that it will cost peanuts to get it done, like about $5. I recommend the Fiverr marketplace because you get high-quality results at affordable prices. Registration is free, too.
Remember, there are only five steps you need to be able to write an article that people actually read. Start with the goal, write the body, and end the article with a CTA if you are writing material for a copy, or for marketing.
If you have learned something from this tutorial, subscribe to my blog here. As a copywriter, I constantly write articles to help writers overcome their challenges—challenges that I faced before.