In my previous article, I laid out seven fantastic steps you can take to write articles that get read and shared on social media. Those steps laid the groundwork for a concise and high-quality article, but now it’s time to take your article writing mastery even further.
Writing an article that contains info the reader is looking for isn’t necessarily too difficult. The greater challenge is giving the reader an experience they’ll remember and want to share. Below I cover in detail eight more actionable steps to take to supercharge your reader’s overall experience and takeaway.
1. Does the article offer any new, refreshing and useful advice or ideas?
Just about everyone understands that in order to produce something new, you must use at least some aspects of work that’s already been done. In other words, nothing is ever 100 percent original. Despite this, it should never be painfully obvious that you’ve ripped off someone else’s (or your own) prior work.
Take a few moments to contemplate how you can add some originality to the piece you’re currently working on. Does your article provide useful information you haven’t covered before? Does it give the reader your honest, professional take on a new industry practice or technology? Does the article have fresh insight from a recent experience of yours?
All of these (and others) are ideal elements that help your article become and remain original. A fresh, invigorating article full of practical information is exactly what your readers want.
2. Are paragraphs short, well arranged and flow smoothly from one to another? Are sentences short and well constructed? Are punctuation and grammar well-suited and correct?
So often, writers produce a decent article or blog post, but neglect formatting. Keeping your writing easy on the eyes and simple enough to understand is truly as important as the writing itself. You may have written the best new eBook in your niche or compiled a ton of case studies and real-life examples, but if your readers can’t visually comprehend your writing at first, they’re going to ignore it altogether or find another expert to learn from.
Visual comprehension, put one way, is the ability to glance over or skim a piece of writing and be able to understand most (if not all) of it. Having to “force” your eyes through one massive block of text is grueling, and if this is spotted within your article, readers will avoid it like the plague.
People need the opportunity to quickly and efficiently consume your content. In addition to editing for visual comprehension, make sure grammar is on point, spelling is correct, punctuation is accurate and sentences flow well.
3. Is your article descriptive, sensational, thought-provoking, emotive or inspiring?
Any article you write should be at least one of these. If you can’t inject at least some emotional power into your writing, you should re-evaluate it and edit until it has been improved.
Readers love what best remains in their memory! If your writing is emotive, it will be memorable, and if it’s memorable, that’s because it was emotive. These two elements of writing are inextricable.
4. Have you revised the article to remove irrelevant ideas and strengthen your points?
Every piece of writing you compose should be as succinct and action-oriented as possible. If readers aren’t drawn in and given the precise information they need, they’ll be disappointed and hastily search for another expert.
Ruthlessly edit your work until only the most valuable sentences remain. What can be said in fewer words should be. Keep all paragraphs germane to their respective subheadings and cut to the chase at all times.
5. Is your article running the risk of copyright infringement, libelous statements or other distasteful actions?
Using a real-life example of someone from a recent news story to prove your point can be highly enticing, but this rarely has the payoff you may anticipate. On top of this, it’s all too easy to criticize or belittle someone who the news has already painted in a certain light.
Despite all this, refraining from defamation is the wisest choice. No statement within your writing, regardless of the individual mentioned, is worth sacrificing one’s reputation or career for. Keep your writing clean in all regards and you’ll be able to sleep well at night.
6. Have you waited a few hours to give your article “fresh eyes” and polish up any awkward phrases?
When you’ve finished an article or post, it’s best to wait at least a few hours before it goes live. This is because nine times out of 10, you’re going to catch something the second read-around that you missed during the first.
Withholding yourself from always publishing right away is a fantastic, easy and free way to level up your writing. You’ll have more confidence when sharing your writing after doing this than if you simply broadcasted your new post without revision.
7. Does the article make sense?
Here’s another often-overlooked component of steadily improving your writing. You should be able to look back on your article, view the piece from a bird’s eye vantage point and have the whole article still make sense.
A common roadblock writers of all kinds face is getting so deep into the writing itself that the final reader’s experience is muddled and illogical. You should be able to read the article, understand the individual points and still absorb the key takeaway and call-to-action.
Speaking of which…
8. Have you closed your article with a killer call-to-action?
If you’re writing an article and your objective extends beyond personal enjoyment, you need a call-to-action! No piece of copywriting is complete without it.
Put simply, a call-to-action is the final paragraph or sentence your reader consumes; one that prompts them to take a specific action. It’s pretty straightforward; yet, most writers neglect quality here or forget it altogether! Always end your article with a precise call-to-action. Otherwise, the reader will forget who you are and you’ll have missed an opportunity to engage with them further.