Your Words Can Grab Attention, Inform Your Peers and Push Others to Action
Writing a blog or article may seem like a daunting task, especially if you’ve never done it before. Is this your first time writing content to a large audience?
We would like to help you, using this simple guide, to find out how you can easily generate ideas for articles you’d like to publish and the best way in presenting that information.
But what do people want to read?
When people go online for information, they don’t want to have to spend hours upon end searching and reading articles only to find it gives them just the basic coverage. People want depth. They want to see content that is useful, relevant and helpful. They want to be told exactly how to do something, be given examples, what are the benefits of following the guidance and how they can put it into practice.
Let’s look at how using an outline can help us build strong and compelling content for an article…
Using an Outline
When planning on writing an article, you’ll need to focus on creating an outline. Try following these steps for help:
Determine why the topic is important and relevant, then set objectives. Is your objective simply to inform your audience about a particular subject? Do you hope to prove or disprove a certain idea? Is your aim to build appreciation for something or to motivate to action? You need to consider what they already know about the subject and what their attitude toward it is.
The article should benefit the audience in one or more ways. If you fail to make clear its practical value, you will probably not hold the interest of your audience very long. You need to help them see why and how what you are saying is of real benefit to them.
Identify a relevant theme, this is your central idea and how you wish to present the topic.
Don’t write about the same things over and over again, people like variety. Try to vary your content into 4 categories:
- Analytical or Rational Contente. How much time will it take to launch a new business?
- Philosophical or Theoretical Content i.e.10 Reasons Why People start up a new business.
- Case Studies – Use examples, experiences and results from real-life
- How-To Content i.e. How do I launch a new business?
Research and obtain materials and information that are informative and relevant. You’ll need to find out what people are most interested in and how you can write something original.
How to use Google for research:
- Type into Google, keywords related to that topic and have a look through the top 10 results.
- What makes that content so special and why people are attracted to it?
- Note the article format, length, readability, scan-ability and headings.
- See how many times the articles have been shared and number of views
- Are there any comments on the article from audience? If so, note what people want to know more about or if anything has gone unanswered.
- What links are included in the article and how is this done?
- Do you notice any ideas missing from the article that you could home in on?
- Can you create content that is different from all the articles you have investigated?
- Is the content realistic for the audience to use or could you improve upon the advice?
- Note effective images and formatting.
What if you don’t have a topic in mind? Try conducting keyword research. Google Adwords and online SEO tools are fantastic ways to find out what people are looking for.
4. Main Points
Identify the main points you want to talk about. Identify how many points you need but bear in mind no to overdose on too many. The fewer the main points, the more likely your audience will remember them. The few main points that you plan to develop should stand out clearly (capital letters, bullet points, colour coded).
To ensure your main points stand out, proof, references, and other material must be presented to focus attention on the central idea and emphasise it. All secondary points should clarify, prove, or amplify the main point.
Cite the references that you plan to use. When using a reference, an explanation and illustration relating to it will enhance the audience knowledge and understanding of application. When preparing to use a reference, consider the following:
- Do I understand the reference and its meaning?
- What am I using the reference for and is it really relevant for the article?
- Am I missing an explanation about the reference that the audience may ask?
If you have referred or quoted work by someone else, don’t forget to link it to them based on merit. This may be by quoting a website, name, image or linking a website to specific words in the post.
Selecting the right images are vital as we are drawn to visual mediums. Not only do they help by capturing your audience’s attention, promote an impression on the content, but they also help with SEO. Images are especially important when sharing the article on social media.
Photography, visuals, and design sets the stage and enhance your content so that you draw your audience’s attention to the great content you’ve written.
There are plenty of free image websites that can be utilised such as pixabay.com. Explore these sites for images relevant to your content.
Organise the material you have found and get rid of any unnecessary information. All information needs to directly relate to your main points. Deviating from your main points may confuse the audience. Put each item under the main point to which it belongs. If you find some information that that is interesting but doesn’t fit any of your main points, perhaps use this in a follow up article.
As you progress from one point to the next, ensure that the material flows well. You don’t want your audience to lose interest because the order of points is too confusing. You want to show the relationship between each of the points.
Arrange the material in a logical sequence, perhaps in one of the following ways:
- Topical arrangement
- Chronological order
- Cause and effect
- Problem and solution
8. The Headline
The headline is the first stage in the audience taking action to read your article. That means it must make an impact!
Spend a generous amount of time thinking about the headline to make sure it captures the audience attention. Make it simple, not cryptic and try to promote why it would benefit the audience to read on – what’s in it for them.
Create a captivating brief introduction that arouses interest in your subject and that shows your audience that what you are going to discuss is of real value to them.
These are your objectives when writing an introduction 1) get the attention of your audience, (2) clearly identifying your subject, and (3) showing why the subject is important to your audience.
Use questions to peak the audience interest and do so to promote further thinking on the subject. Questions call for a response so this will help your audience get involved immediately. Case studies or your own real-life experience is another way to arouse interest. Whatever way you introduce the subject, get your audience involved. Show them why your material is or should be important for them.
Assess the length of the article. Research has shown that the longer content articles generate more traffic and interest. Articles 3000+ words get more shares on social media that shorter content.You want to make your article at least 2000 words, but don’t be afraid to go as far as 5000. Although longer content ranks better, make sure your content remains concise and you stick to your outline. You want to keep your audience’s attention throughout the entire article.
11. Article Conclusion
Your conclusion should be consistent with your objective and the main points you considered throughout the article.
Often what is said in the conclusion of the article, is what is remembered the longest. If you don’t give the conclusion enough attention, all the hard work put into the main content of the article will go to waste. The last sentence is the most important, so make it punchy, positive and motivational.
If you want your audience to do something (CTA or Call to Action), you have to tell them what to do and present them with an easy way to carry it out.Describe the benefits of following the instruction you have outlined for them and why they should share the article with others. You may want to provide a CTA link to another article to move onto the next stage or related topic.
The placement of your CTA on your website’s page is extremely important. You want as many people as possible to see it. So, where’s the best place for it to be? There are many options to choose from, at the end of a post, on the sidebar, floating banner in the corner or throughout the post itself.
- Appeal to the reader, a couple of compelling attractive words.
- Begin with a verb like “Download”, “Go to” or “Register”.
- An easy-to-find spot that follows organically from the flow of the webpage.
- Contrast the colour from the colour scheme of the page.
- An icon or link large enough to notice but not to detract attention from the main content.
- Provide a simple explanation of where the CTA will take them.
Ideally you want to influence your audience to act upon the information they have read. This may be in a number of ways, put into practice a methodology, call or refer your business for services or go to a website for further information. To do this, use words that show you understand the subject you are writing about, your audience will want to see evidence that your article is of value and is coming from a reputable source. Your words need to relay professionalism but also easy to understand for beginners.
If your content is too complicated, you may put off a large audience looking for simple guidance. For example, the use of acronyms or abbreviations may be common in a particular profession, however if the audience is trying to learn something new or english is their second language, they may not grasp the meaning of your content and may hinder your ability to communicate the key points. However, consideryour audience, you can target your tone and writing style. However, if you determine that searching for your topic is a niche audience, write as if you were writing for them and not for a generic audience with various levels of expertise.
Google posted a blog of questions you could ask giving guidance on what high quality content looks like. They also use these criteria when ranking quality content. Some of the questions to consider are:
- Would you trust the information presented in this article?
- Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it more shallow in nature?
- Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?
- Does the page provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
- Does the article describe both sides of a story?
- Was the article edited well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
- Does this article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
- Does this article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
- Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
- Are the articles short, unsubstantial, or otherwise lacking in helpful specifics?
- Are the pages produced with great care and attention to detail vs. less attention to detail?
Identifying simple words, phrases and short sentences can convey ideas with great power. Any key points you want the audience to remember, spend time considering the choice of words and make it concise.
Bear in mind that images tend to stick in people’s minds longer than text. Look at using words and phrases that can convey vivid mental impressions to the audience, using words that appeal to the senses.
Finally, check your grammar. It is very off putting to read a long and meaty article with bad grammar, you want to leave people wanting to read more from you.
We hope this article has helped you to understand the steps you need to follow to write an appealing and effective article. From here you should be able to create not only basic content but also have the foundations to write a 5000+ word article too.
So, what will you do with all this knowledge now?
We are always looking for experts in their field to share their knowledge and experience. If you’re looking to promote an important subject matter or to simply raise awareness, contact us for information to publish your content.
We are excited to hear from you!