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How to write a great blog acrticle
In this three-part series you will learn what makes and breaks a good blog article. The first part covers the basics and focuses mainly on the structure of a list-based blog post, as well as a professional step-by-step approach to craft one.
First of all, you'll need an interesting topic. Let's assume that you already have a blog and know your target audience reasonably well. The most important thing for every article is that you can offer your readers a real benefit.
You want to do it right, so research will be the longest part of your writing process, and that's great when you think about it. Because every single minute you have to invest here is time and effort your readers won't have to spend themselves.
If you have trouble gathering the information necessary for your article, I'd say that this is a very good sign, because it means that the topic you are writing about hasn't really been properly covered before.
By the way, don't waste any time finding a good headline at this point. Just slap a suitable working-title onto your article and focus on other tasks first.
Write down every point you want to talk about in your article, and think about in which order you want to bring them up.
Check and check again, if all points on this list are really worth noting, or if you could just skip some. On the other hand, consider if there may still be some important points missing.
You really should have something helpful to say about every point. If not, you have to research a little more, until you find a truly satisfying answer to every question your article brings up.
If there are too many issues on your list, you may want to split your article into two or more smaller postings and make them a series.
Write a short introduction (2 to 3 sentences tops) to make your readers curious and to summarize what this article will be about. Give it your best, because based on this intro, many visitors will decide if your article is really interesting to them, of if they'd rather go and search for information somewhere else.
Your intro is like a binding agreement with your audience. You are basically saying "Whoever reads my article will learn the following..."
You have to honor this deal, because everybody will be disappointed if you're promising all the answers, but don't deliver anything useful. Since you already have your outline, you should have a pretty clear picture of what you can promise without having to lie.
If you just can't get your intro to be engaging, there's a good chance you made a mistake early on. It's possible that you weren't careful enough during outlining or you may have simply chosen a not-so-engaging topic to begin with. If so, you should go back and set things right.
It's about time to actually start writing. You may be thinking now: "that' easier said than done", but in fact, you already did the biggest part by now.
Thanks to your outline, you already know by now, exactly what you'll be writing about. And since you already crafted your intro, you have set up a clear contract with your fans that now only needs to be fulfilled.
Write as much as necessary, but keep it as short as possible. This will be your first draft, so don't let things like spelling errors, or considerations about phrasing or writing style distract you. Things like that are problems of your future-self, and currently none of your business. Your only task is to deliver answers that are as smart and helpful as possible.
Did you succeed answering all points in a satisfying manner? If you aren't completely sure about this, you can always do a certain part again or go back to research a little more. In the worst case, you may have to reconsider whether an issue should really be included on your list, if you just can't find anything useful to say about it.
If you feel certain that you have said everything important, give your readers a short summary of what they just learned, and should you're article be part of a series, maybe give them a little hint on what the next post will be about.
This may sound a bit trivial, but a summary of what we have learned turns out to be an excellent support for our memory, and your followers will appreciate it.
Depending on your article, you may also want to put in a little call to action at this point. Challenge your readers to try out what they just learned or encourage them to share their personal opinion in the comment section.
Hey, remember when we talked about your future-self? Well, congratulations, that's you now.
You should now start to read your article to yourself aloud. Edit it wherever you think that it doesn't sound right yet. You probably remember that you were supposed to keep it as short as possible?
I know this is tough, but cut it even shorter!
Editing should be the step which (next to research) takes up most of your time and energy. Nobody writes down a perfect first draft, and that's exactly why editing is so important.
If you're not under time pressure, you really should take a break at this point, to gain a little distance from your text. If possible, sleep on it for a night or two, and you'll be able to take a fresh look at your work.
When you're finally happy with style as well as content, run your article through a spell checking software and remove all typos. If you have the opportunity, submit your article to a test-audience and see if they can find some more details to improve.
Don't forget that your post still needs a proper title. This is arguably the most important part of the article, because it depends on the title who will open your article and who won't.
One way to attract many clicks, is to use titles with numbers in them, for example: Our 7 Philosophies or best lists like 5 Important Books for Novelists. Don't overuse this method however. Only apply it where it makes sense.
Once you have found the perfect title, your blog post is finally complete.
In this article you learned how to write and structure a typical list-based article. You now know how important a good intro is, and which steps you have to follow in to craft a finished article out of an original idea.
In the next article, we'll talk about some more advanced ways to further improve your blog articles.
Ben Wendtner is an Austrian writer and sofware developer, as well as one of the founders of Belletristica.Zum Profil