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Article Writing: How Do You Write For Quality?

Aug 17, 2007
Article directories receive hundreds of articles daily - but why do some articles perform better than others? In this article we examine some of the reasons.

Article writing, for a competent writer, is a fairly easy discipline. The task is to write an informative and interesting piece of work in the range of some 400-1200 words. Yet many articles that I, as an article directory editor, have seen are just not up to the mark. Why is that? Let's leave aside for the moment the ones that are grammatically poor or have been obviously assembled by cherry-picking several sources of information.

The function of an article written with the express intent of being reproduced throughout the internet on blogs, ezines and the like is to sell a product - indirectly. It should be written in such a fashion that the reader's interest is piqued and then held until the article's conclusion, resulting in a level of interest that stimulates the reader to click through to the author's site, link or whatever.

Poor articles do not achieve this goal for a variety of reasons and most of these can be summarised by the following points:

1. The article is a blatant advertisment with little or no interesting content.
2. The article rambles on vaguely with no focus or simply has no point to make.
3. The article may have a theme but that theme does not relate very well to either the title or introductory paragraph.

An article, no matter how short, is a story - and all stories have a beginning, a middle and an end. In an article that is written for promotional purposes, these 'anchors' can also be called question, development and answering conclusion. So what are they and how do they work?

1. The 'question' should be in embedded in the title - 'Green Cheese: Is The Moon Really Made From It?' is humorous but effective. It defines the question that the article will answer.

2. The development discusses if indeed the moon is made out of green cheese and, if possible, offers some counter-arguments to this - 'so what then was Neil Armstrong stood upon back in 1969?' This phase encourages the reader to think and consider what you, the author, are saying - and here you must write with authority, being sure of your facts as you can be. Any signs of insincerity at this point and the reader will realise this. Your authority has then been lost together with the credibility of the article.

3. Answering conclusion: this can either confirm or refute the theory of the moon's status as green cheese - it depends on how the author wishes to answer his or her own title question. In this fun example we could wind up with something like 'so it appears the moon is not made of green cheese - but there are those who think it still is. Are you one of them?' and go on in the authors box to promote telescopes, conspiracy theory books or a host of other things.

The last question is important. It performs the same function as the 'if you want more information...' endings but, I think, has a better ring to it as it asks the reader to consider their stance on the subject.

Articles written to the above formula - and article writing is formulaic - will usually perform well. Now let's consider the badly written and the cut-and-paste sector.

Not everyone speaks English as their first language yet English is the language of choice for article writing. Right or wrong, it's fact. So I would suggest to those people who write articles and whose first language is not English - get some help. Why? Simple. It doesn't matter if you are intelligent, well-educated and successful - poorly-written English makes your article look amateurish. Get a copywriter or at least get a fluent (and I do mean fluent) English speaker to vet it for you. You might be surprised at the improvement in reception your articles receive.

For those who (and it really is so apparent) just cut and paste blocks of text from who knows where to make up an article, or for those who simply re-arrange their articles so as to make ten from one, my advice is - give it up. I see these every day. One may get posted to my directory, the rest will be binned. Realise that there is NOT a lot of really high quality content on the internet and write instead just one version of the article - but make it the best you can. That will get you noticed and you will gain the respect of your readers.

If you have got this far in this article then perhaps I've proved my point!
About the Author
Steve Dempster writes fiction, copy and articles for the web. His directory site can be found here or for more writing info see his site I Want To Write!
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