Thanks to today’s saturation of web-based interaction with tools such as e-mail, social media, chat rooms, forums, blogs, and more, writing has turned into a digital profession.
Artistic writing has its place, but just as important is writing to your market on the web. Consider this: nearly two billion people use the Internet and that number is on the rise. In the past, you could go door-to-door to sell your book, product, or service. But today, being found online could mean complete success or imminent failure.
So how do you get found online? How can your creative writing benefit you on the tangled plethora of Googlers and web crawlers?
The answer is simple: write compelling and powerful articles. Far more effective than standard print or web advertising, free information that’s timely and relevant to the market for which it’s intended can have unmatchable results.
Read on to find out how you can learn essential principles for writing effective articles for the web.
Know Your Market
Before considering what you’re going to write about, first consider who you’re writing for. Your ideal audience will likely fall somewhere between the general market (everyone) and an extremely narrow niche market. Articles which are too generic and broad run the risk of interesting no one, just the same as topics which are only for a select few individuals. Pick your market carefully and know it well.
Once you’ve found the market you would like to target, learn what interests them. Research the latest trends, news, and even other articles (never stealing, of course) to find out what is effective. This preliminary work will give you the edge on what’s up and coming, as well as what’s relevant and important to those within your scope of readership.
This initial research and time invested learning more about your market can provide a great opportunity to spark ideas for the topics of your articles. Keep a running list of article ideas which you can go back to at a later time.
Outline Your Subpoints
Once your market has been established, research completed, and a topic chosen, develop a basic outline of subtopics your article will contain. Important to keeping your content clean and organized, subpoints also serve as stepping stones for readers, who can breeze over your article to find the particular content they’re interested in. Though the hope is a reader will intently read the entire article, it’s important to cater to those on a hunt for specific information.
Make Your Content Memorable
An interesting article should not sound like your eleventh grade thesis paper. Develop a strong and unique writing voice and be sure it’s appropriate for the audience you’re trying to reach.
Provide useful facts, tips, and practical examples. It’s very easy to quickly list a pile of facts or advice; it’s quite another story to show a reader why something is true. Today’s popular blogs such as Mashable, Lifehacker, and Smashing Magazine receive millions of unique visitors every month for one simple reason: strong and compelling content. Present your information in an engaging style that entices readers to come back for more.
How Much Should I Include in an Article?
There is no set word count recommended, only the amount which fits to surpass expectations and provide sufficient information. Depending upon the subject, a 400-word article bullet-pointing crucial information may more than suffice. In other situations, a much larger article including a diversity of points, facts, and resources can be the best route. Once again, it all depends upon your readership and what they will find most useful and pertinent.
Engage Your Audience
An often overlooked element of writing an article for a blog is interaction. Ask questions, and encourage your readers to respond to your article. Starting a conversation within the comments portion of your article is a terrific way to encourage others to become involved in the topic at hand.
Solicit reader feedback, too. Do not be afraid to approve negative comments or feedback when solid points are made. Negative feedback can enable you to refine what your readership looks for, as well as suggest areas you can improve in your writing.
Craft the Perfect Title
You may wonder why the last portion of the article to be developed is the title. The title is arguably the most important part of your article. When developing articles, equal amount of time should be spent writing the article and crafting its title. This may sound a bit extreme, but because of the following two reasons, it’s more than necessary:
Catering to the RSS Feed Generation
It used to be commonplace for individuals to crack open the newspaper to read the latest topics and happenings in the world. Today, readers are turning to tablets, laptops, and even phones to stay up to date. It’s not uncommon for a reader to subscribe to hundreds of blogs, news sites, and more. In this sea of topics and news, what has to successfully capture reader’s attention? The title.
Capturing Readers and Search Engines
Your title must not only snag your readers’ attention, it must be effective for those searching through search engines. One of the absolute highest factors in high ranking for search engines is a page’s title. Often the same as the title of your actual article, a web pages’s title is used in conjunction with the content of the article, the keywords specified, the amounts of links directed at your article, and various other factors to determine how high up the Google (or which ever search engine you use) ladder your article ranks. Consider what you would search for if you were trying to find your article. The more your title includes relevant keywords, the better.
Spread the Word
Though this is not part of developing your articles, it’s still a very important part of the process. The most useful and powerful article can be written, but if no one knows about it, it’s of little value.
Once your article has been published, spread the news. Social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Digg are just a few of the hundreds of free social platforms. Look to other blogs and leave comments (tactfully and appropriately) containing links to your articles and engage in conversation with those within your sphere of readership.
Beyond simply spreading the word yourself, what makes an article truly successful from a marketing sense is having it passed around by your readers. If others enjoyed your article, encourage them to share it through their own social media sites, blogs, forums, or online mediums. Here are a few articles which have gone viral:
- Websites Are Dead: 10 Reasons Why You Need an Online Business
- The Dailies: A Free Icon Set for Writers and Designers
- Developing Headlines and Copy that Sell: Advertising and Web Design
- Billboard Web Design: How to Win Your Audience’s Attention
Become Known for Providing Unbeatable Content
As a side note to spreading the word about your articles: it’s good practice to avoid only sharing you or your company’s articles. If there are articles from other sites which your readers can benefit from, share those as well. You want to become known as someone who provides useful content which helps readers, not someone who’s trying sell themselves. This is a quick way to cause readers to lose interest.
Consistently offer useful and relevant information that gives a great incentive for a reader to listen closely when the time comes for you to advertise your book, product, or service.
Feel free to let us know what you think! Feedback, personal experience, and thoughts on our articles help to make sure we can continue to provide you with useful and relevant information.
- ChristianWriters.com: Network and connect with other writers. Share your writing, receive useful feedback, and learn from other writers in the community.
- Faith Writers: Another useful and popular online community for writers to share and read the work of other writers.
- Blogging Bistro: Learn how to take your blogging and social media presence to the next level.