A solid ‘article writing formula’ or writing strategies give readers a better experience, it syndicates well with search engines and gets more social media shares. An article that does all that is an awesome article! Whether writing for your own website, working from home as a freelance or you are a student looking for writing strategies, you’ve come to the right place.
1. Get Clarity on Guidelines/Instructions
Great freelance writing clients will give you a brief, not just the name of the topic. This brief may include specific instructions such as word count, target reader audience detail, references to competitor articles or general points on the tone and voice of the content. If they haven’t given it, ask them for one. Here is a sample:
#Pro Tip: Paste the instructions and use as a reference as you write your article.
2. Research the Topic Thoroughly
Industry experts can write unique and high-quality articles fast, with no research. Regular writers may take up hours to write the same article. An awesome article gives information to the reader. This makes it shareable on social media.
#Pro Tip: Use search engines in incognito mode to get unskewed search results.
Unless you are an expert in that category, do thorough research to craft a solid article. Use these platforms:
Linkedin groups and articles
The Write First, Research Later Approach
Here you write first and then look up authority websites to back your opinions. This makes sure your research or the reference websites don’t influence your thoughts and the final product is unique.
The Research First, Write Later Approach
You can always use more inspiration if you research first before writing your article. But chances are, your untapped thoughts and ideas may stay buried. To write a perfect article, spend at least an hour studying 7-8 high-quality reference articles.
#ProTip: Refer to websites with Domain Authority 30 and higher.
3. Split YourWindows
According to this Dell, dual monitors boost productivity and user satisfaction. For freelance writers, your earning potential is higher with higher productivity. You can work on combined devices such as two laptops, or one PC and an iPad, etc. Splitting your windows does much the same work, without the extra cost of a second monitor or other devices.
Work on your article in one window and the other has your research. This saves your time of going back and forth to your reference articles and makes you productive.
Here’s a screenshot from my Mac Air laptop.
4. Design the Framework
The split window method is a great way to build the framework of your article. Designing a framework before you start writing your article is very important because this framework will help you calculate the number of words, saving you time and making your article look good too.
Confused? Allow me to explain.
For the article “Tips for choosing an Immigration Lawyer in Fort Lauderdale” in the screenshot was for 700 words. If the introduction is around 150 words. Then that leaves 550 words for the article. I found 8 points through my research. Now each point needs 550/8=68 words to reach the target word count.
With word count assigned for each element, you won’t have to ramble or fluff your article just to get to the word count. Instead, the framework allows you to focus on each element of the article. Further research for each point gives you more opportunities to write a high-quality article. Assigning an approximate word count to each section splits it almost equally, making it pleasing to the reader’s eye too.
- Write in second person the ‘YOU’ language to engage the reader.
- Keep paragraphs as short as 3 sentences to avoid big walls of text that sound like you’re preaching.
- Use bullet points for emphasis.
#Pro Tip: Research first, list subheadings, divide the word count and then focus on each section.
5. Write First, Edit Later
Writing first helps you get everything you know about that topic out of your system. If you edit as you write then it breaks your chain of thought and takes much longer to complete too. So if you know the topic well, write first, don’t stop to edit the spellings or grammar. Just type type type till you finish.
6. Now Take a Break
That’s right. Once you’ve spilled all your blood, sweat, and guts into this article to make sure it is informational, relevant and engaging, it’s time to take a break.
You need a fresh pair of eyes to edit and proofread your article. This is because when you’ve spent hours writing and looking at your content a few hundred times, you become immune to minor errors.
So unless you have pen monkeys to assist you with editing and proofreading, take a break. Do something else to get your mind off the article. Then come back later with a renewed spirit and a typo strainer for the final round.
7. Edit and Proofread
There is a major difference between editing and proofreading. By order, editing comes first.
Editing: This is where you go back and read what you wrote to revise the sentences or framework to make the article fluid and easy to read. You can remove entire paragraphs if it makes little sense. Edit your article to make sure you stay on topic, it sounds and looks GREAT.
Proofreading is editing your article grammatically. You are looking at every sentence with a keen eye now. Read every line again to check for grammar, sentence structure, and use of passive words. Thankfully, there’s an app for that. Correction, there are many, many apps to check grammar and writing style.
Here are my favorite online writing tools: Grammarly, Hemingway and Prowritingaid. Paid versions have more features. Just go to their website and copy-paste your content there. You get instant highlights on problem areas and reasonable suggestions. Make the necessary changes and viola! Your content is near perfect.
Do you have any tips for me? Let me know, I’m still learning. Scroll down and leave a comment!
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