How to Write an Article That Keeps Their Eyeballs Glued to the Page
By SaRita Custis
Chief Business Growth Strategist
“Jeez, would you shut up already?!”
Believe it or not (if you know me well, you probably believe it!), those words came out of my mouth, directed squarely at — me.
I started writing a killer article to help you write killer articles, and it kept growing and growing and growing and … you get the idea.
So I decided to put it all into a white paper/report to make it as easy as possible for my readers. And to give you a little teaser, here is part 1 of my special report “How to Write an Article That Keeps Their Eyeballs Glued to the Page.” You can download the full report here ==> How to Write an Article That Keeps Their Eyeballs Glued to the Page.
And now, Part 1…
Knowing how to write an article – putting words together in a way that makes sense – means diddly squat (yes, that's a technical term) in the realm of content marketing.
If your articles don't hold the attention of your audience, you're done. Hang up your digital pen and go do something else.
Or … fix the problem!
Keep your readers' interest by following these 10 simple steps to writing a fantastic article.
1. Write an article about a topic that means something to your audience
I know it sounds obvious, but picking topics to write about can be harder than you think.
When you're writing an article, you need to forget about you and figure out what your audience wants to read by identifying the questions they have and the problems they're experiencing.
Then make your article 100% focused on helping your prospects and customers solve that problem.
2. Base your article on the words they're actively searching for
In order for your article to be found, you need to identify the words and phrases people are using in the search engines when they're looking for the help you have to offer.
To do this, brainstorm a list of words that are relevant to your market and applicable to the topic of your article. Once you have a good list, use the Google Keyword Planner to find specific keywords that are being used by the people you can help.
Use this list of keywords to narrow the focus of your article and to help you plan the content and structure.
3. Develop a title that makes them care
Your title must include the keyword or keyword phase you are trying to rank for – preferably twice. It also needs to highlight the main benefit the reader can expect to gain from reading your content.
When your articles are accessed by the search engines, the first thing they see is your title. If your keyword is in the first few words, the search engine immediately knows what the article is about and can quickly decide to include your article in the results it sends back to the person doing the search.
If your title doesn't clearly tell the reader what benefit they can expect from reading your article, chances are the article won’t get read, so spend a lot of time on it!
4. Create a hook
If the title is the key to a great article, then the “hook” is the handle that opens the door.
The “hook” has to make the reader want to stick around to find out what you have to say. It should spark their curiosity or ignite their imagination.
If you haven't captured the reader's attention in the first few sentences of your article, chances are you've lost them. They might skim through the rest of the article, but they probably won't be fully engaged, and your message won't get through.
5. Quickly outline key points for your article
Every article you write will have some main points you want to get across to your reader.
This might be
* 5 tips for…
* Top 10 questions about…
* 7 lessons I've learned…
* 8 simple steps to…
Simply make a list of those points and why they matter. That is why they matter to the reader! This sounds harsh but your audience doesn't really care what matters to you.
The outline will make up the core of your article.
6. Fill in the blanks
For each of the points in your outline, write 2-5 sentences to explain it. You could answer a question, explain how to accomplish a task, or even share your experiences.
The key to keeping your article body engaging is to tell a story while you solve the reader's problem. Let your personality shine through so your audience can get to know you, but keep the focus on helping them.
As you're putting together the “answers” to fill in the blanks, be sure to use their buzz words (words that have meaning to your market but not necessarily to the general public).
Using common terms and injecting your personality throughout your content allows your reader to connect with you at a level that builds trust.
7. Make Your Resource box work
Your title will draw the reader in, your content will help them learn to trust you, but your Resource Box is where you get your reader to take action.
A resource box is basically a few lines of text that provides a little “snapshot” about the author of the article. This resource box also allows you to include additional information about you, your website, your newsletter, etc.
This is where you provide a link to your opt-in page. Your article may have the best information available on your topic, but if you don’t provide your reader an easy way to connect with you, all of your effort may have been wasted.
8. Emphasize the Summary
Sometimes referred to as the description or snippet, the summary is the most neglected part of article writing.
Your summary is a short 2-3 sentence summary of your article. It is what shows up in the search results below the title of your page, so write a Summary that continues to pull the reader into your article.
If you don’t take the time to write a great summary, the search engine will display the first part of your text OR the part of your article that it decides is the best match what the reader was searching for.
Don’t let the search engines decide something so important to your business.
9. Optimize for keywords
You write your articles to help the people who read it.
In order to help those people, though, you need to make sure they can actually find your article.
According to Google, in its efforts to return the most relevant search results to its users, “Today Google’s algorithms rely on more than 200 unique signals or ‘clues' that make it possible to guess what you might really be looking for. These signals include things like the terms on websites, the freshness of content, your region and PageRank.” (emphasis mine) (source: https://www.google.com/insidesearch/howsearchworks/algorithms.html)
Since they specifically mention three factors, be sure your article addresses all three.
And always follow Article Writing Rule #1: Write the article for the reader. Period.
I feel almost silly writing this as a step in how to write an article, but proofreading is essential if article marketing is part of your overall marketing strategy.
The content you write is how you connect with your audience. If it's full of errors, it could easily chase readers away. Even those who don't leave will likely have a negative opinion about the quality you're able to provide.
Here's one helpful hint: Read your article backwards word by word to find spelling errors. Then read it backwards sentence by sentence to find errors in grammar.
Of course, another set of eyeballs always helps, so ask a friend or colleague to review it for you.
And there you have it: 10 simple steps you should follow every time you're writing articles for your market. Use these proven techniques to immediately start writing content your audience will love.