Have you been asked to write an article for a magazine or blog? If so, you should jump at the opportunity. Articles are a great way to build a name for yourself in your area of expertise. It’s also exciting to see your name in print!
But if you haven’t written an article before, it can seem a difficult task.
This five step guide is for you if you’ve got an article to write and are struggling with writer’s block or word count woes. It’s also for you if you always turn down the opportunity to write an article because you don’t know where to start.
Step 1: Sort the subject matter
If the magazine or blog editor has given you a theme or title then skip to the next section, you’ve sorted the subject matter. If you’ve got a free reign, the first step is to brainstorm possible subjects. Here are a few ideas to get you started…
What’s the question you’re most frequently asked?What’s the hot topic in your field right now?What do you do differently to everyone else?What does the future for your industry or career look like?What’s new in your sector or community?
Step 2: Brainstorm the content
Once you’ve got the subject matter sorted, brainstorm everything you could talk about in relation to it. Don’t worry about filtering information at this stage, just make sure you’ve captured all the points.
Step 3: Organise the content
Once you’ve brainstormed the content, you have to organise and filter it. You need to arrange your points in an order that:
coherently covers the subject matter you’re writing aboutwill make sense to a reader who will be reading the article without all (or any) of the background information on your subject or your particular opinion on it.
You’re likely to find at this stage that some of your brainstormed ideas won’t have a logical place in the final cut. That’s fine. Leave them out.
Step 4: Do the maths
Next you need to do a bit of maths.
Divide the number of points you want to make by the number of words you’re allowed in the article (don’t forget to allow space for an introduction, a conclusion and some linking text between points).
Are the numbers realistic? If yes, great. If not, then there are two things to ask yourself.
Are you covering your chosen subject in too much detail? If so, then go back and cut down the number of points you want to make.
If you aren’t covering your chosen subject in too much detail then ask yourself if your subject matter itself is too broad or too complex to be suitable for this length of article. If that’s the case, then it’s time to go back to the drawing board to look at your subject matter.
Step 5: Write the content
Once you’ve sorted out the subject you want to write about, the points you want to make, the order you want to make them in and the approximate number of words you’ve got for each of them, you’ve basically cracked your article, so it’s time to get writing. Good luck!
Catherine Every is a freelance copywriter living in Herefordshire, UK. Her website is www.hellopippin.co.uk