How to write an article

Hopefully by now, with this series on content marketing (you’ve just started reading #5) you’ve boarded the content marketing train. Content marketing answers your audience’s questions and helps you build trust, develop relationships, improve conversations, and generate leads. It’s a no brainer.

With the previous article about pillars and clusters, you now have a list of topics to write about. This brings us to the next hurdle – how to write and what to write. I’ll be honest, this is what we have built this business on – either business owners don’t have time to do it, or they sit down thinking it’ll be easy and give up when they realise it’s not. I’ve been doing it so long that I could probably do it standing on my head.

So, the first step is to create some time to do this – not when you’re tired and not when you have other deadlines that will distract you. Much like any goal, it’s best to set yourself up for success.

The next step is to find a formula that works for you and/or the topic you’re writing about. Listed below are differing strategies – find one that works for you, but don’t put the rest out of sight, because some topics only work with some strategies. Best to decide the topic, then figure out which strategy suits.

Strategy One: point and shoot

  1. Select a topic and think about the audience and what they would want to know from you. What is the question that they are going to ask Google? For example, “How to write an article.”
  2. Research the facts that reinforce your knowledge.
  3. Write down an outline of the article – intro, how many points, summary, and then expand on each section.
  4. Read it out loud to someone and see if it makes sense to them.

Strategy Two: Problem and solution

  1. Select a topic and make a list of all the negative things about the topic, then identify which ones you can provide solutions for. For example, “How to fix bad writing.”
  2. Research scenarios within your company where you have provided the solution.
  3. Write (in any order, start with the easiest first, then fill in the gaps).
    a) An introduction to the problem.
    b) Tell the story of the problem the client was experiencing.
    c) Explain your solution and how it helped.
    d) Align it with other problems the reader might be undergoing.
    e) Call to action – offer help.
  4. Ask the client involved if they would like to provide a testimony/comment on the article and work it in. If they don’t want to be mentioned, ask if you can use their feedback anonymously.

Strategy Three: Topical

  1. Find something in the recent news or in a movie or a famous quote that relates to your business.
  2. Write the topic in the form of a question or statement, for example, “If you have nothing good to say, then don’t say anything.”
  3. Ask three to four people what they think about the question or statement and write their point of view.
  4. Summate the topic and ask your audience what they think, if you care to, share your conclusion.

Strategy Four: Thought or passion piece

  1. This one takes more focus. In the time leading up to your article, take note of deep thoughts or passionate opinions you experience.
  2. Start writing down what you think and then same with strategy three above, ask others what they think and allow the conversation to widen the topic.
  3. Finish with one sentence that sums up the topic and ask for feedback or run a poll for your audience.

Strategy Five: Technical

Select a topic and explain it. Yup, that easy. Ideally, this strategy would be used by the person who has the talent or skill for the technical topic. If required, it could be a numbered step process, for example, “Ten steps to writing your article.”

Strategy Six through to Ten:

  • Dos and don’ts: instead of sharing tips or tricks, keep it simple and advise on your strengths
  • FAQs: sharing frequently asked questions about a topic is a great way to share information that might be otherwise hard to discuss.
  • Interview: if you have access to an industry expert, creating your article in a question-and-answer format can add interest.
  • Seasonal: you can turn your topic into a seasonal one, how to look after your lawn in winter will be different from summer.
  • How to: similar to strategy number five, telling or showing your audience how to do something for themselves is often highly-searched content.

Summary

They say that when it comes to writing, you just need to start. “The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.” But if you find yourself stumped, sometimes a change of scenery is needed, or only work on the article for 25 minutes at a time (the Pomodoro technique), plan the time you spend writing and make it a habit or try reading something on the subject before you begin.

“This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard, and you put one word after another until it’s done. It’s that easy, and that hard.”
Neil Gaiman.

Our next article will talk about language, keywords, and Google search results. Should you need some help or even starting guidance, feel free to get in touch with the MasterJack Marketing team at Gilligan Sheppard.

If there are any terms we’ve used in our articles that you are not familiar with, please view our ‘Marketing Jargon Glossary’.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
No posts found.