Writing articles is one of the best ways to promote your service or product since it establishes you as an expert in the field and you can get hundreds, if not thousands of links back to your website. But not all articles are created equal. In order to get the maximum benefit from your article writing they should have a consistent layout and structure. Follow these tips to give structure to your content and your articles will have a much bigger impact and stand a better chance of getting published.
For people whose literate capabilities extend to that last school essay that they handed in with a sigh of relief, writing an article is a daunting task and the end result often looks like a wasteland of grey text. A good article is written in such a way that it pulls the reader in and guides him through the content. Conforming to a standard format also makes it easier for article directories and sites that publish content to pick up your article and publish it. It also contributes to a professional image of you, the writer.
Here are the components of an article and how you should use each one for maximum benefit.
~ Title ~
The title of your article, like the title of your website, is probably the most important part of your article. And, much like the title of your website, you are writing for both the search engines as well as human beings. For the sake of the search engines, include your main keyword or keyword phrase in the title. For the sake of your reader, you have to create a title that will “pull the reader in”. In other words, your title must persuade the reader to read the rest of your article. Some examples of good titles are:
“7 tips for ”
“5 ways to ”
A good tip here is to use odd numbers! For some reason odd numbers seem to be more ‘compelling’ than even numbers.
Another tip for coming up with a killer title is to use some of the headline making software that helps you come up with compelling headlines for your sales letters, like Headline Creator Pro. While you might not actually use the headlines it suggests, you will quickly have a list of 100 headlines to play around with and modify. Just be careful though of not loading your title with too much hype – you are, after all, writing an article and not a sales letter!
~ Summary or Introduction ~
The summary, or description, of your article is often overlooked. This might be the only piece of text that will be displayed when your article shows up in an article directory. Sometimes you have the option of submitting the summary separately, other times the article directory software simply takes the first paragraph or so of your article. I suggest that you focus on the first paragraph of your article to provide you with your summary and introduction at the same time.
Like the title, it should create curiosity in the mind of your reader to entice them to read further. Please remember that a good article tries to solve some problem for the reader – try and describe what problem THIS article will solve. Describing the problem by means of a story or example help to make it real in your reader’s mind. A personal example also helps to establish you, the writer, as a real person and creates a rapport with your reader.
~ Body ~
The body of your article will bring across your main solution to the problem that you have sketched in the mind of your reader in your summary and introduction. Please remember to stick to ONE topic! It is very tempting to branch off into different directions, especially if you are enthusiastic about your area of expertise. If you find that you are wandering off into other areas, even if they are related to your main topic, consider saving that information in a scratch pad and make another article out of the material.
DO use bullet points or subheadings to break up your article. Bullets and headings catch the eye and once more pull the reader into the text. But some article directories do not allow HTML code or other formatting inside your body. My suggestion is that you write for ‘text only’ as a standard. Simulate bullets and headings by making use of numbers, capitals, or a special character, like the tilde (~), or star (*).
~ Ending ~
The ending should summarise the reasons why the article solves the problem stated in the title and the introduction. Try and end with an interesting point or final quote, to invite readers to further investigate the topic.
~ Resource box ~
The resource box is the place to write a mini-ad for your site, service or product. You can send people directly to an affiliate link here, or direct them to your site. Try to make the link contain your major keyword or keyword phrase, for maximum ‘backlink’ benefit - if you can.
If you follow this simple layout structure (obviously combined with great content!) for your articles you will find that
- more article directories will accept your articles for submission
- you present a professional image that instils confidence in your reader
- your articles will get published on more websites, leading to more traffic
in short, your articles will get the exposure they deserve!