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Article Writing: Keeping Your Article On Track

Aug 17, 2007
Whilst article writing is a recognised means of promoting a product or service, your article must remain on target or you are just wasting your time. This article gives a few pointers to make sure this staying on target happens!

As an article directory editor (amongst other things!) I find it interesting to watch the 'ebb and flow' of article content, usually dependent on what the likes of Clickbank have on their books as a 'hot property'. Not too long ago it was acne, then online dating became the rage. I await developments on the next Big Thing! This 'following the hot leads' type of reaction isn't a problem in itself but can lead to big problems indeed.

There are four main failings that I have observed when viewing the hundreds of submissions I have received. The first is trying to cover too wide a subject; the second is writing an article that has little or no relevance to the contents of the 'resource box', where the author can put their links for readers; the third is physical article length and the fourth is relevance to the resource box. Let's look at these issues one at a time:

I regularly get articles that try to cover far, far too much ground than is possible in a 4,000 word magazine article, let alone a 700-word web article. Examples (fictitious) are things like 'A History Of The USA' or 'Everything You Need To Know About AdSense'. Promising titles, if they delivered! However, the reality is that any article could only scratch the surface of such huge subjects. The effect is that the reader is left disappointed and exasperated - 'another shallow bit of writing!' is the usual response.

An article written for the web should be informative and hold the reader's attention. To do this it should be relevant to the title, well written and contain at least some information not readily available to the reader, or some personal insights into the subject being written about. To suggest that you can give a complete history of the USA in 700 words is ludicrous - you couldn't give a complete history of anything in that space!

The result is the thinnest type of writing possible, a 'skimming' of a subject that should either be examined in more depth, possibly over a number of articles, or abandoned entirely in favour of something more easily encompassed.

Another trend is towards shorter and shorter articles, the object of which is painfully obvious: churning out as many 'resource boxes' with 'articles' attached as possible. Less wordage equals more speed equals more articles but content suffers to the point where it is of little or no interest to anyone, with articles re-hashing the same (thin) subject matter time after time. No-one wants to read them because they have little to say so their purpose is nullified - that of promoting the product or website the 'resource box' contains.

This seems to go hand-in-hand with a peculiar phenomenon - that of article content having no connection to the links in the 'resource box'. If anything is a waste of time, this is surely it! Given that the whole point of writing the article is to pique the readers' curiosity to the extent that they will investigate the matter further (vis the resource box), this approach fails utterly. There is faint hope of anyone reading an article about gardening clicking-through to links about AdSense passive income (and yes I have seen this!). I don't know if this is being done by authors new to article writing or simply by people who couldn't care less what they write about as long as it means another resource box in a directory somewhere.

The result of all this has led me to a decision. If any article submitted to my directories in the future contains any of the above faults it will simply be deleted. I'm upping my minimum wordage from 400 (always far too low anyway) to 600. This may sound harsh but I honestly feel it is the only way to put a stop to the downward spiral in terms of general quality of web articles in general.

And if I don't get any articles submitted? That would be a blow but somehow I don't think it will happen. What I do think will happen is that submitters will polish up their writing skills and come to realise that quality is preferable to quantity anytime. I truly believe that this is the only way forward for article writing if it is to remain a significant tool in the internet marketer's armoury.
About the Author
Steve Dempster would love to see your quality articles in his article directory.
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