This is a great article written by fellow savvy solopreneur Michael Pollack on his blog. In fact it’s so good, that I’m just going to reprint it here. But visit Michael’s SmallBusinessBranding.com blog for other great tips.
10 Tips For Writing Better Articles
Writing articles is a great way to create exposure for yourself and your business. In fact, I’d suggest it’s one of the best marketing tools you can use. Webmasters and newsletter publishers are always looking for good content. Further, aside from your time investment, it’s completely free advertising.
Here are 10 practical tips to ensure your articles get published and read by others.
1. Write to serve.
Before writing an article, ask yourself what problem it will help others solve. Some of the more common issues people deal with revolve around a lack of something, whether it’s time, money, self-confidence or just joy in life. How will your article help with these issues.
2. Grab their attention early.
If possible, intend to "hook" your reader right from the get-go. Ideally, your title should be the hook. When creating the title, ask yourself if it would make you want to read the article. Your first paragraph should also serve as a hook , as well as a general introduction to the article content.
3. Write to one person only.
Forget the fact your article will be read by many people and write to only one person, just like I’m doing with you now.
4. Keep the flow logical.
Don’t bounce around from one idea to the next. Each paragraph should logically follow the next. Although there may be different ideas expressed in each paragraph, they should dovetail off each other.
5. Use quotes to support your main idea.
Quotes from famous people are a great method to reinforce your ideas. They help you make your point and add credibility to your overall message. I use the quote library found at Motivation Mecca http://www.joshhinds.com or Uinspire at http://www.uinspire.com
6. Keep your paragraphs short.
Ideally, 4-6 lines per paragraph is what you want to shoot for. It looks and feels much more appealing to the reader to see "bite-sized" paragraphs.
7. Inspire action in your article.
If your article is, in fact, intended to solve a common problem, give people practical suggestions for taking action. Remember the formula "insight + action = growth."
8. When possible, tie your message to everyday activities.
A good example of this is "life is like a box of chocolates." Make it easy for your reader to relate to your ideas. That will also make it easier for your reader to apply your ideas in their life.
9. Summarize the article in the final 1-2 paragraphs.
Briefly summarize the main points of your article, how people can take action from the information and what results they can achieve.
10. Don’t forget the resource box.
Provide a brief resource box following your article. It should tell a little about you, your business, how you serve others and how to contact you. Be sure to include your URL and email address with an invitation to contact you or visit your site.
Using these 10 tips should help you write powerful articles that get published and read. Above all else, remember this. A writer writes. So – first – be a writer in your own mind.
Thanks, Michael, for reminding us of these important points when writing for a newsletter, blog, or other website copy.