Have you been writing your own articles or blog posts for a while but you’re just not sure how to make the content stand out? Then read on.
Here are my 7 focus points for creating great content and ‘levelling-up’ in the world of article and blog writing.
Step one: create great content that is relevant to your reader.
There’s little point in writing a technically perfect article if no one wants to read it or if no one gets anything from it.
Some content ideas to consider:
Think about the overall aim of your article- who’s it for and what will they get from it? Always keep your reader in mind and provide valuable content for your target audience.
As I’m sure we all know from GCSE English, articles should have a beginning, a middle and an end.
The beginning should be an introduction to the piece to give the reader an idea of whether they want to continue- make it enticing.
The end should be a brief summary of the points raised and a repetition of the take-aways. This should also include a call to action e.g. ‘contact me’.
The middle is where the good stuff happens. Ask yourself these questions to help structure the main body of the article:
Overall, make sure your content is well spaced and doesn’t look overwhelming to the reader. Include quotes to back up your content and to break things up as well as links to other supporting articles (your own or ones by other authors that have inspired your content).
The aim of your writing shouldn’t be to fulfil a certain word count- if that’s the aim you’re likely to end up waffling.
The bare minimum I’d recommend is 300 words but ideally around 1000 words or more is better- but not at the cost of irrelevant content or overly elaborate word-smithery.
Your aim should be to provide valuable content which would be challenging in under 300 words!
Your article should be based on a minimum of 3 key points that you want to convey which should be set out using headings and backed up with evidence or quotes from others to give a sense of credibility.
The Rule of Three
Structuring your writing with the ‘rule of 3’ in mind will help you to write memorably, conversationally and impact-fully (see what I did there?).
Writing using structures of three creates inherently funnier, more satisfying and effective content- many people naturally write in this way as it creates rhythm and flow but, if not, it’s an easy rule to remember!
You need a catchy, to the point headline to get your readers’ attention. It should tell them that the content may be valuable to them and be enticing enough to make them want to read on.
Using numbers and emotional language can work brilliantly- for example; “10 ways you can xyz” or “Improve xyz in 3 simple steps”.
Sub-headings create clear structure, space things out and help your reader to navigate the article.
Bullet points are also a great tool to clearly set out lists or to summarise the article as a whole in bite-size chunks.
The famous advertising revolutionary, David Ogilvy, knew that headlines are the most important element of your copy:
“On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”
Your readers want to hear from YOU.
Don’t try to sound like someone else or, for example, write in a really formal manner if that’s not your style.
Write simply, truthfully and keep jargon out of the equation as this can really turn people off.
Read your content out loud to make sure it’s written the way you would say it.
Review, Review, Review
Read your content from top to bottom, resisting the urge to ‘scan’. If it makes things easier, get your PC to read it to you! If you have a (very) trusted friend with a good grasp of written English then ask them to proof read it for you too- they can also tell you if the tone suits your personality.
Taking Things Up A Gear
So you’ve written an awesome article taking in all the points above and you’re pretty pleased with yourself- but why stop there? Here are 3 easy ways to take your content to the next level:
Consider Your Target Market’s Pain Points:
Pain Points refer to the issues, problems or struggles that your target demographic may experience that your product or services can ease.
Make a list of pain points for your ideal customer and use these to bolster all sections of your article- that way, the content will really speak to your target market and will show them that you’re the missing piece of their particular puzzle.
Using images makes your content more memorable, easier to read due to the spacing it provides and can be a great boost in terms of SEO.
For tips on where to source images for your content, head over to our blog on the subject.
The best ratio to use for your images is 4:3.
This is the recognised standard aspect ratio because it’s the most commonly used for monitors and screens- meaning this ratio looks much more aesthetically pleasing on screens.
Make us of both internal links (to pages within your website) and external links (to pages outside of your website) to add weight, further information or evidence to your key points. It will strengthen your argument and position you as the expert while also boosting your SEO.
A Little Round Up...
Remember the 7 steps to producing great articles:
1. Content: Keep your reader and the aim of your article in mind
2. Structure: Beginning, middle and end
3. Length: Aim for 1000 words but avoid waffle at all costs
4. Key points: Cover 3 key points and use the ‘rule of 3’ throughout
5. Titles: Entice your reader and help them navigate the article
6. Be Yourself: Write in the same tone and level of formality that you use when speaking
7. Take it up a gear: Consider pain points and include images and links
I hope you enjoy writing your own articles and blogs and now feel capable of taking them up a gear- good luck!