Getting started can be the toughest part of writing. Many would-be writers never get past the wanna-be stage — not because they don’t have talent, but because they’re unsure of how to write for money.
Here are the necessary parts of a marketable article. It can look daunting, but it’s not. Your desire to share your work with those you can help will carry the day … but you must begin before you can finish.
Your First Article: Format to Sell
The fundamental framework of articles that get bought and read follows a standard pattern. Use this as a checklist to make sure your work is complete:
- The Title
- The Introduction
- The Body
- The Conclusion
- The Call to Action
By working in phases, you can chunk up the work and fine-tune it one layer at a time. Don’t skip the outline. By thinking before you write, you’ll save time and the final product will be tighter than free-form writing.
- Develop your working title
- Outline the problem/solution … bullet points are fine
- Create a rough draft … don’t worry about spelling or getting it perfect
- Use subheads to guide the reader along
- Proofread and edit
- Final copy
Here’s a template to use for your outline
Your introduction will provide two essential elements:
- State the problem
- Promise a solution
It’s important to identify with the reader in the introduction. Direct the problem to a specific audience (those who care about the problem).
Avoid the urge to say whatever you think will attract readers, but fail to deliver on the promises you make in the title and introduction. Let them down once, and they won’t be back.
The Body solves the problem, typically beginning by stirring it up a little more and introducing the solution
- List format articles and posts don’t need to be ordered or step-by-step.
- The how-to format give you the sequence (like a recipe)
- Use bullet points or paragraphs, whichever fits best
The solution is typically followed by a paragraph that wraps it up and provides visual space. Be sure to add subheads that guide your reader through the article. Prospective readers should be able to scan your work via the title, intro, and subheads and instantly know whether the article is truly of interest to them.
To conclude, you sum up the article and provide closure for the reader. You remind them of the problem and the solution, then provide the next step — the “call to action.”
Here’s an example of how the components can work together: Why Visual Marketing Is Ruining Your Facebook Page.
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