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Tips on writing an effective article

Discussion in 'Copywriting' started by SCookAAM, Jun 29, 2013.

  1. #1
    As popular as article writing and marketing, and for that matter, blogging has become, have you ever wondered what makes a good one? Have you ever wondered why certain blogs and articles get more views or comments?
    There are a lot of determining factors, and I hope this thread will be somewhere where we can all suggest ideas on this subject. i'd like to begin with a couple of tips of my own:
    1.Write for the reader first
    As most of us are aware, articles are highly searched by the engines. many long-tail keyword searches that are even remotely interrogative will bring up at least one article on the first page. But this is not because they're loaded with keywords. it's because the authors wrote them for the benefit of the reader first, and the search engines second. This is not to say keywords in content, summaries and titles don't matter. they certainly do, but you hav to balance this with being truly informative.
    2.Don't over-sell:
    The key to a well-written and popular article is that it's informative to the reader. It answers a question or series of questions. The article should offer the viewer something that they will feel is really valuable. if you do this, your articles will begin to be syndicated. This is not only a great way to spread powerful searchable and optimized content around the web, but it's also a great way to build organic and relevant back links.
    Just a couple of quick thoughts. I hope to see many more from all of you.
    SCookAAM, Jun 29, 2013 IP
  2. Roy Harmon

    Roy Harmon Member

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    #2
    3. Offer Practical Value
    Readers are more likely to be interested in your article if it offers them information they can use. (They'll also be more likely to share it.)
    4. Tell a Story
    Readers will be more likely to read your article to the end if it engages them with a story (especially if that story evokes an emotional response). Don't force it, but if you can find a way to tell a relevant story in the context of your article it will be much more effective.
    Roy Harmon, Jun 29, 2013 IP
  3. SCookAAM

    SCookAAM Active Member

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    #3
    Those are very good.
    SCookAAM, Jun 29, 2013 IP
  4. Muhammad mafazine

    Muhammad mafazine Greenhorn

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    #4
    5. Place testimoni all customer
    6. Give for reader proof
    Muhammad mafazine, Jul 1, 2013 IP
  5. SCookAAM

    SCookAAM Active Member

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    #5
    If I may be allowed to expound a bit on what Muhammad wrote. And you can certainly correct me if I've gotten this wrong:
    5.Include testimonials - while this is a very powerful tool in most content marketing, it's difficult to do this in articles. This is simply because testimonials are clear pitches for a product, service or a company. It may not be impossible, however.
    6.Offer the reader proof - if i understand this, what he's saying is that in your articles, or other content, try to offer some information to back up what you're writing about. For example, you might include statistical information, visual graphs, and cite well-known authorities on your subject matter. Just be sure to include proper notation and credit on the source of your proof.
    SCookAAM, Jul 1, 2013 IP
  6. rbates

    rbates Greenhorn

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    #6
    Actually, I think that what Muhammad was saying goes with his first suggestion about putting up testimonials. I think that he is talking about things like "Proof of earnings", Proof of sales", etc.

    SCookAAM, I do think that your interpretation is more in line with actual article writing. Muhammad was just confused as he is thinking along the lines of a sales page, which is not what article writing is necessarily about. What may have confused him a bit is your item #2-Don't over sell. I guess the ultimate objective of an article is to give information and draw attention to something, and get an eventual sale, but most articles don't actually give a sales "Pitch".

    Might I add to the list:
    Be credible and concise.
    rbates, Jul 1, 2013 IP
  7. SCookAAM

    SCookAAM Active Member

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    #7
    Yes, rbates, I think you are right about Muhammad's #6 being tied to his #5. And both good points.
    And yes, articles do not or should not contain a sales pitch, that was my point in #2. It's an interesting line to walk because you are trying to draw them closer without trying to push a direct sale on them..
    And I do like your point as well. Say more with less. And i thought of another one too:
    7. keep the information general - In other words, try not to include too much date or season-specific stuff in articles. Things that will date them after a short time. Once they go online, articles will essentially last forever. So you want your content to be relatable long after you've written it.
    SCookAAM, Jul 1, 2013 IP
  8. aidanriley629

    aidanriley629 Well-Known Member

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    #8
    In all seriousness, here's my list:

    1. Don't keyword stuff. I don't need to read "model train sets" fifteen times in one sentence. Write good content and the readers will come. And Google won't want to kill you.

    2. (for blogs) Interact with your readers. Respond to their comments with more than just one or two words. They'll feel important. Or at least obligated to reply again, lol.

    3. Write about what you know. I admit that I write articles for paid websites about boosting fuel efficiency with new engine technology, but it's got to be obvious that I have no idea what I'm talking about. Not only that, but writing about something you love becomes fun.

    4. Don't fluff it up. If you can't make it past 100 words without splitting up all your contractions and writing sentences in the longest way possible, throw out the topic.

    5. Do research. Even if you know more about bird flu than anyone on the planet, you'll often find something that will give you an idea of something else to include in your article.

    6. If you're writing something like reviews, don't always be super positive. "Despite the explosive diarrhea, I'd recommend Jose's Taco Shop to anyone!" just makes me press the back button as fast as possible.

    7. Ditch the words that add no value. "If you wish to...", "In order to..", just say "To"!
    Would you rather read an article full of sentences like "If you're looking to become a student at XYZ university, just click here for more information" instead of simply "Click here for student information." Filler words are part of language, but not part of SEO and won't keep readers reading.

    8. Establish an amazing headline and focus all your intriguing information in the top left area of the text. This picture https://s.yimg.com/ck/image/A2354/2354908/2354908.jpg (from Yahoo!) shows, according to them, where readers focus their attention, and claim that a reader will not go on if they are not interested by that point.
    They don't actually cite their study to view the details, but it makes sense and I know it's exactly what I do when browsing the web.

    10. dunt right like dis. Readers tend to frown upon misspelled words. It makes you lose credibility. For me, it's not because you can't spell, but because you can't press a simple spell check button. Errors with homonyms and grammar aren't usually detected well by spell check, so proofread it yourself. Twice. Out loud.

    11. Don't make another blog about mesothelioma. We get it, it's from asbestos.

    12. Research your keywords. After that, research them again. Find which ones will suit your topic, have minimal competition and a decent amount of searches. Google's AdWords tool (I believe) is good for that. I once wrote an article about some strange mushroom (I don't even remember what it was called) and it generated over $100 in a month on eHow, just because almost no one had published content on that topic. It broke my rule about writing about something I love, but doing enough research can remedy that.

    13. Don't say "studies have shown". :) Because that makes me say "what studies, who conducted them, what were the parameters and why is there no citation!"

    14. Don't ramble on like I am now.

    I hope that helps. :)

    Edit: about testimonials, I personally never believe them. I can write a testimonial about myself and say Obama wrote it and I think that's what a lot of companies do. (Not the Obama thing, but make up testimonials).
    aidanriley629, Jul 1, 2013 IP
  9. SCookAAM

    SCookAAM Active Member

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    #9
    Well, if you were going to post here, I really wish you'd put some thought into it lol.
    That's a good list. i think one of the most interesting things about writing articles is broadening your scope. As you said, write what you know, but articles give us the opportunity to research and lern some about topics on which we might not be well-versed. Just be careful. As stated, you don't want to come off as a know-it-all who doesn't.
    SCookAAM, Jul 1, 2013 IP
  10. aidanriley629

    aidanriley629 Well-Known Member

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    #10
    Yep. I've also found that when I write about what I know, it takes about half the time, so when I write for money it's obviously the better choice. I think one of the most important things that people don't realize is that writing for a magazine, book or whatever is completely different from writing online. They may be excellent writers, but without knowledge of SEO and how the web works, no one will see their work.
    aidanriley629, Jul 1, 2013 IP
  11. SCookAAM

    SCookAAM Active Member

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    #11
    That's a good point. I'd be curious to see some of your work.
    Do you write for clients, or do you produce writing online and places ads so that your writing generates its own income? I've not delved into that, but I hear it can be lucrative.
    SCookAAM, Jul 1, 2013 IP
  12. aidanriley629

    aidanriley629 Well-Known Member

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    #12

    I write for the medical website LiveStrong, which is run by Demand Media. I get paid $50 for very short articles (400-800 words) because I have an advanced degree in the medical field and I'm a year away from my MD. Unfortunately it's very hard to get hired there now. Back when eHow was still hiring, it was easier to get in, but then Demand Media fired almost all of their writers either last year or the year before.. the only ones who remained were those with high scores on their little grading system.

    It's been a while since I've found any of my articles, you give up all rights to them and they don't publish your name and sometimes the articles get published in a magazine or somewhere else, so I don't even bother looking anymore.

    I've never added ads to my articles personally, I've always gone through a company such as eHow, Yahoo Voices, Textmaster, etc. (I recommend all of them). I get about $500 a month doing nothing because my articles there generate passive income, meaning I earn money when someone visits one of my articles. The thing is you have to stick with it and can't expect to earn much for a long time. Once you master SEO and get about 200 articles, the money starts coming in. You can contact me on Skype for more info if you'd like.
    aidanriley629, Jul 1, 2013 IP
  13. ReferralCandy

    ReferralCandy Member

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    #13
    To add on to everything else above - the viral potential of articles sometimes are what creates that insane boost to tens of thousands of hits (albeit some being short-lived). It can be as simple as jumping onto the bandwagon. For me personally, coming from an editorial background managing a column at an online magazine, i've overseen idea pitches and gotten writers (or myself even) to churn out articles in double quicktime upon spotting a potential area to hit for optimum viral exposure. It is a matter of hovering around a meagre 100 views sometimes, to supercharging it to 22,000 views in just half a day. It's absolutely exhilarating watching site stats explode that way.

    My colleague wrote a blog post on Jessica Rey, a former Power Ranger selling "modest swimwear" by telling girls to "reveal their dignity" and raved about Converse's genius of a marketing team. Both posts went viral, with the CMO of Converse, Geoff Cottrill, retweeting the said post, and following us on Twitter. Sometimes, it's about hitting the waves of online media at the right time, with quality content in tow. It gets anyone great exposure, with spillover effects onto older articles or content, and a certain percentage of retaining new readers.
    ReferralCandy, Jul 1, 2013 IP
  14. aidanriley629

    aidanriley629 Well-Known Member

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    #14
    You bring up an interesting point, actually. There is a difference between newsworthy articles and 'evergreen' articles. I never write articles on current events, even though they make more money up front, because in a year or so no one is going to remember that topic, and the article stops making money. Content that is going to be equally interesting ten years from now will still make me money, though. So I prefer to 'invest' in evergreen content. I've found it pays off more in the end, with a bit of patience.
    aidanriley629, Jul 1, 2013 IP
  15. affilorama

    affilorama Active Member

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    #15
    Don't forget to share your articles on social media sites. I think it's a complete waste writing good-quality articles and then letting them sit there, waiting for users to stumble on it. Promote your post and share it to users. You not only get backlinks to your article, you get traffic too.:)

    Hope that helps. Have a good day!
    affilorama, Jul 1, 2013 IP
  16. ReferralCandy

    ReferralCandy Member

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    #16
    Hi aidanriley629! Totally. Wherever i'm writing or overseeing writing from, i make it a point to have a regular flow of evergreen content. Things that are useful, generic, easy reading and just basically content that will go for miles down the road. This is a permanent, unwavering baseline that i work from. I find that the main advantage of these viral pushes are for the occasional traffic spikes to "get noticed", if you want to put it in a blatant fashion, now and then. It helps if the direction for your site involves being current as well.

    In all - baseline of quality, evergreen content that will be useful even in time to come. Viral articles to liven up the otherwise healthy and steady viewership stream. Helps to get the brand name out there so next time someone mentions Brand A, there's a chance of someone else who'd quip, "Wasn't that the company who wrote about XXX that other time?"
    ReferralCandy, Jul 1, 2013 IP
  17. serge ashtears

    serge ashtears Peon

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    #17
    This is really a very useful knowledge for me

    Thank You
    serge ashtears, Jul 2, 2013 IP
  18. SCookAAM

    SCookAAM Active Member

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    #18
    I'm glad this has been helpful, for all of us, i hope.
    There is anotehr thing to remember about posting articles: they are indexed by search engines. If you enter a long tail keyword phrase in Google that is the least bit interrogative, you will invariably see articles pop up. So aside from everythign else, articles get high search value and can create high quality back links as well. And this is to say nothing of syndication.
    SCookAAM, Jul 2, 2013 IP
  19. aidanriley629

    aidanriley629 Well-Known Member

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    #19
    Absolutely. It's extremely important to pick a niche for each blog for many reasons: keywords (the keywords will be split between different niches if you don't write on the same topic, and your page rank will probably go down in the long run) subscribers: someone may subscribe because of article XYZ that you wrote, then you go and write an article about foot cream and the subscriber is like, "uhh, why did I subscribe to this?" :)
    aidanriley629, Jul 2, 2013 IP
  20. ReferralCandy

    ReferralCandy Member

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    #20
    ^that. HAHAHA. Yes. That's when many people find themselves with very erratic sign-up and drop-out rates!
    ReferralCandy, Jul 2, 2013 IP
    aidanriley629 likes this.