Writing articles is a great way to share knowledge and provide value for your audience.
It gives you a chance to demonstrate what you know. Also, they give you have social media content that can help you to bring traffic back to your site.
1. Some questions to ask yourself
Before you even start thinking about writing the article, it’s good to ask yourself the following questions:
What do you want to write about?
If it’s something that doesn’t interest you or that you know nothing about, it will be hard to write a good article! What do you know about and what will add value to your readers?
Why are you writing the article?
- What is its purpose?
- Do you want to share a story/ pass on some knowledge or a list of tips/ show people how to do something?
- Do you want to show what it’s like to work with you by sharing some of your knowledge?
- Do you want to build credibility to show that you know about a particular topic?
- Do you want to help people to learn something?
- What will be your call to action at the end? What do you want people to do next?
Who is your audience and what level of knowledge do they have?
This is important because if you know this, it will be easier for you to write in a way that is relevant. If you’re writing for professionals in a specific field, you can assume some prior knowledge. But if the topic is new to them, you may need to explain some concepts first.
Also think about whether the article is for your own audience or for someone else’s. If it’s for your audience, you need to write in a way that is consistent with the rest of your content. If it’s for another audience, do you know enough about them?
How will you structure your article?
If you’re explaining how to do something, a structured plan, in which you list out the steps in a logical order, can work well. It is easy for the reader to follow the steps and complete the task.
If you’re giving information, such as tips or advice, a numbered list can work well.
If you want to present an idea, it’s good to introduce it, explore it, and then write a conclusion so that the text flows in a way that makes sense. Do you have reasons to support your idea or argument? Do you want to explore other points of view or possible objections?
If you want to tell a story, what is the point of the story? Why are you sharing it, and what do you want the reader to take away at the end?
Or maybe you want to combine a story with a point of learning.
2. Make a plan
Whilst it may be tempting to get all of your ideas down as quickly as possible, it can help to plan out the structure first. You might want to write the headings and then fill in the text that goes under each one. This will make it easier to put things in an order that makes sense and to make sure that you haven’t forgotten anything important.
Think about whether you need to do any research before you start to write.
If you are writing a list, what are the points that you want to make? Writing some bullet points first, even if you don’t use them all in the end, will help you to make sure that your ideas are clearly organised and that you don’t repeat yourself.
3. Write the article
At some point you will have to do the work and write the article, but this will be easier if you know what it will be about, who the audience is, and how you want to structure it.
If you struggle with writing, try to block out some time in which to write the article. Put the writing time in your diary and try to make sure that you won’t be disturbed.
It’s ok if you don’t like the first draft, but it is easier to work with words on the page than a blank page! So start writing and you can decide later whether you want to keep all of your ideas, whether what you wrote makes sense, and whether anything is missing. You can always delete sentences, move them around, change them or add to them later.
4. Don’t publish your article immediately
It can be difficult if you’re working to a tight deadline, but you are unlikely to see mistakes or things that don’t make sense if you read the article immediately after you have written it. Where possible, do something else and come back to it later so that you can check it and make sure that everything is as you would like it to be.
Try reading it aloud. This will also help you to spot anything that isn’t quite right, or where your brain was faster than your fingers and you missed out a word or punctuation mark.
You might want to ask someone else to proofread it for you as well.
5. How will people find out about your article?
Your best or most useful article won’t make any difference if nobody knows it exists! So it’s also important to think about what you will do after you publish it. Where will you share the link? How will you encourage other people to read or engage with it? Do you want to start a discussion? If you want people to comment, make sure that you respond. People are less likely to comment a second time if they feel that their first point was ignored.
Often the hardest step is the first one. Hopefully this guide will give you some ideas so that you can take that first step.