It’s not difficult to write a great article as long as you have a good blog post outline (continue reading and decide if I follow my own advice). The outline is the framework of your post and must follow a certain path, from beginning to end.
In this post I want to explore what I do when I’m creating something new and the steps you should be taking as well in order to write something that will be read.
If you remember nothing else, remember these three things:
- The Introduction
- The Body
- The Conclusion
- The purpose of this post was to show you that with a good outline you can write a great article.
Right after the titillating headline, you need to capture your reader’s interest within the first sentence, maybe two if the first one was intriguing enough. You need to introduce the premise of the article, what it will be about.
If you don’t get their attention immediately and also let them know that your article has what they are looking for then they are likely to click away as quickly as they landed.
As an example, when I first began this post my first sentence actually started with, “It’s usually difficult to write a great article…” Then I realized that that was not helpful at all because visitors reading this page are likely looking for tips on recommendations how to do something. So I changed it to, “It’s not difficult…”
And really, it’s not difficult to write a post with a well-crafted outline.
You also must let your reader know that “this is what the post is about”. Don’t save the surprises for the end because they likely won’t make it that far if they’re not sold on the beginning. It’s like saying, “Keep reading to find out what I’m talking about”. I would recommend that you just get there quicker and tell your reader what they need to know…immediately!
As you continue to write and gain experience you will find that you can say a lot in a few words.
This should include three of the most important things that your reader needs to know. You can now fill in the details about the article, the product, or the review. That being said, don’t write a novel when a short story would do. If you like to use mind-mapping you may want to do so when you are sketching out your bullet points.
You need to show and tell:
- Why the reader needs this information,
- How it is going to help them,
- Here’s the solution to the problem.
These points need to be clearly identified and either highlighted or in bold, like the headings and sub-headings in this post. The reader needs to, and often does, scroll down the page fairly quickly. If the headings stand out and stand on their own then your reader will be that much more inclined to read what’s in between.
Each heading and sub-heading must pull the reader forward.
Also ensure that your blog outline is just that, an outline. Don’t make it the post but rather a framework that lets you fill in the gaps as you write. Just like an actual post, your outline should pull you forward from beginning to end…logically and show how you are going to capture the main points.
Often when I’m writing, I will make bullets of the three points I want to cover in the actual article. These bullets typically become the headings within the article and will lead to natural sub-headings and the actual written content.
I also find it very useful to copy the entire outline, and specifically, the bullets in the body, right into the article I’m working on because this keeps me focused and moving forward. And before I know it I’m writing out the conclusion because:
A good outline writes the article itself!
You’ve reached the end of the trail or the end of the “story”. Now, in one sentence or two, you must summarize everything in a way that the reader will remember. You’re creating bookends with the Introduction and the Conclusion and the book (the body) in between.
Your conclusion should include a “call to action” if there is something you now want your reader to do. Don’t leave them guessing what that is…tell them.
You should also invite them to leave a comment or a question and let them know that you will get back to them. Remember, you want them coming back to read your next post and by asking for their comments you are engaging them…that in itself is a call to action.
They should have had their questions answered by the time they are reading your conclusion, including why this post is for them and what they should now do with the information.
Having an outline does not mean:
Rather, a proper outline should include:
- Introduction – what is the premise or what is the “story” about? Preferably one sentence.
- Body – what are the three bullet points that you intend to make? Write them out.
- Conclusion – summarize and include your “call to action”. What do you want them to do?
Has this helped? Taking my own advice, do you have any comments or questions? If you do then please leave them in the section below and I will get back to you.
The purpose of this post was to show you that with a good outline you can write a great article.
If you would like to read more about creating articles I have another post that will show you how to publish an article. With practice this gets easier for everyone…even those who say, “I’m not a writer”.