Easy To Follow Formula For Writing Articles

writing-frustrationAre you trying to find an easy way for write an article for your business blog but don’t know where to start?

You’ve come to the right place. This is where you’ll find a tried and true formula for how to write an article.

Writing is a very subjective discipline, and it can be overwhelming to some, so I’m going to give you a basic article writing formula to get you going.

To best use this article I suggest that you read it through once then keep it handy and use it as a step-by-step guide as you write your article.

There are countless ways to write a good article, but I’m going to limit your choices to cut though the overwhelm that blocks many business owners from beginning. This is not a definitive guide by any means, it’s just a way to help you get started.

General guidelines

  • Article length: Shoot for a word count of at least 500 words. Google favors quality content that is longer than the short ones with 300 – 400 words.
  • Style: Just write like you talk. Don’t use technical jargon (unless 90%+ of your audience understands and expects it), use short words and sentences as much and possible and let your natural personality come through.
  • Focus: Let your article focus on one main keyword phrase and carry it through the title, beginning of your article, the URL for your article post and the meta description. If you use WordPress (which I highly recommend) for your blog then you’ll be familiar with all of these.
  • Give value to your reader: Your main goal should be to benefit your reader, not try to write in a self serving way. Your readers will see through that quickly and go elsewhere for information.
  • Include a relevant interesting photo: Most of us are very visual, so draw someone into your article with an interesting image. People like looking at other people, so if you can show an attractive person who looks like they could be benefitting from the information you’re giving, then that would be a good use of an image. Sometimes showing a person to be struggling with a problem that you’re writing about can work as well.
  • Use spell check: If your information is valuable to the reader then you can get away with some misspellings and grammar issues, but why risk it when spell check is so easy to use.

As an example for this exercise I’m going to go through the article writing process as if I’m a chiropractor writing about relieving low back pain.

Step one

Decide what type of article to write.

Following are four types that generally work well. To begin, choose one of these approaches.

How to: This is a simple step-by-step approach where you show your readers how to follow a process or solve a problem. For instance, you may show how to reduce low back pain in a series of steps.

Share resources: Make a list of helpful resources for your readers. One example may be a list of websites, books, articles posted online, YouTube videos or types of treatments that help reduce low back pain.

Tips or checklists: People are always looking for tips, tricks and secrets to help them solve a problem or achieve a goal. Simply make a list of them and share that. Checklists are also very popular.

A chiropractor may share some videos for stretching exercises that alleviate low back pain or give a checklist of things to do when a patient first notices the pain.

Step two

Write a basic outline and follow it to keep your article focused on the main topic without digressing.

Here’s a simple outline format you can refer to.

  • Title
  • Introductory paragraph(s)
  • 3, or more, main points
    • 2-3 sub-points for each main point
  • Closing paragraph(s)

I mentioned earlier that you should shoot for 300-600 words. If you have a lot of sub-points for each main point then you may only have three or four of them. And if you don’t have much to say about each main point then you can add more main points.

Step three

Start writing your article by breaking it down into the different elements and writing about one of them at a time. I’ll start with the title and work my way down to demonstrate the process.

The title
Following are three basic plug and play how-to article formulas for your title. Use one of them if you need some help or get stuck.

  • How To {the benefit here} In {# of steps here} Simple Steps
    “How To Get Relief From Lower Back Pain In Three Easy Steps”
  • The {number here} Best Ways To {benefit here}
    “The Three Best Ways To Get Lower Back Pain Relief”
  • The Secret To Staying Free From {Problem}
    “The Secret To Staying Free From Low Back Pain”

The opening paragraph(s)
This is where you hook the reader and draw them into your article, so it’s important that you grab their attention and stay on point. To help you do that I’ll give you three examples.

  • Simply tell the reader what you’re going to tell them.

“If you’ve ever suffered from low back pain you know how much it can disrupt your life for days at a time. In this article you’ll discover three ways to get fast pain relief. If these don’t work then that’s a strong indication that you need to go ahead and make an appointment to see your doctor.”

  • Start with a question

“Do you struggle with bouts of low back pain?”

   A simple question like that about your subject matter may be all you need to draw in your reader.

  • Tell a story and start in the middle of a “scene” like a novelist

“He lay there with a sharp burning pain that started in his lower back and ran down his legs. He couldn’t move without feeling like he was being stabbed with a knife.

What started as a productive day of yard work ended early as he let go of the clump of weeds he had just pulled from the ground.”

The main points (along with your sub-points for each)
This is the easy part. All you need to do here is to share the information you have with a sentence or two for each of your points and the same for your sub-points. Remember, just write like you talk.

Each of these little segments of your article will probably run at least 50 words or so. Doing the math, if you have three or four main points (supported with some sub-points) then you’ll have around 200 words right there. Add the opening and closing and that should be at least 300 words.

Chances are you’re going to have more to say than a few sentences about each point.

Once you get into the flow of writing your article you’ll probably find it difficult to write less than 500 words. And that’s okay. Google (and other search engines) like more substantial content, and if you end up with 600, 700 or more words of good quality content then you may get more attention from these search engines and get more readers.

Closing paragraphs(s)
Now it’s time to wrap it up. Following are three ways you can do that.

  • Tell them what you told them.
    This may be the most common way to wrap up your article. All you have to do is refer to your outline and summarize what you wrote in your article. If you had a list of “12 Ways To Get Low Back Pain Relief” then you might want to use a bulleted list of your points here.
  • Encourage your reader to take some kind of action.
    For a chiropractor writing about low back pain relief, you might write something like the following.

“Now that you know how to get some quick relief for low back pain, put it into practice. All the knowledge in the world won’t help you unless you take action.

If you still struggle with low back pain after doing what I explained in this article then feel free to give my office a call at (XXX) XXX-XXXX and let me help you. You may have something more serious that needs a closer look.”

The example I gave you here is really a “call to action.” Basically telling the reader what you would like them to do as a next step (giving them a reason to contact you).

  • Conclude with an encouraging message.
    What you’re doing here is giving your reader a bit of a pep talk and motivating them to put the information you gave them into action. This helps the reader to overcome any reluctance or procrastination on their part.

After a quick tip, you’ll see that I used this technique to conclude this article.

Quick tip: Before posting your article, read it out loud to yourself and make edits where needed. There’s something about hearing what you wrote (even if you’re the one doing the talking) that helps you find awkward phrases and mistakes. And feel free to have one or two others read it for their thoughts as well. Then use spell check.

Wrapping things up

Writing is little more than recording what you would say to someone if you talking directly to them. You can do this! So let’s get you moving forward.

What I want you to do right now is take out a pencil and write down three ideas you have for an article. Mull them over in your mind for a while and then choose one to start with.

After that you can pull up this “how-to” article again and use it as your step-by-step guide to writing your next article.

And that’s a quick solution for how to write an article.

Photo credit: Peter Alfred Hess