Writing good articles takes practice, but there are some strategies you can apply for creating useful content with minimum effort and time investment. Given below are the basic steps you should follow when writing a blog article, as well as formatting tips that will help you structure your content and provide information in an organized and easy-to-follow way.
How to write an article: step-by-step guide
1. Choose your niche and topic
There must be a niche you’re more interested in, and know more about. Identify your niche and then choose a topic you’d love to write and read about.
I’m passionate about fitness and know a lot of things about HIIT workouts. I would love to read an article that compares HIIT workouts to other forms of training, and highlights the benefits and drawbacks of high intensity intervals.
My niche is fitness, my topic is HIIT workouts.
Now it’s time to find out if there are enough potential readers out there, or in other words, if people search for terms or phrases that could sum up my article idea. It’s therefore time for Step 2: keyword research.
2. Do your keyword research
Choose some keywords to optimize your content for. Don’t be fooled by the misconception that non-SEO articles don’t require keyword research. Unless you already have an established audience and a list of subscribers to send your updates to, it’s unlikely that your well-written but poorly optimized articles will be found and shared by a significant number of people. It’s therefore important to choose keywords that generate numerous monthly searches.
You can use Google’s Keyword Planner which is available in AdWords. Type your topic in the search bar and hit “get ideas”, then scroll down until you see the two tabs – Ad group ideas and Keyword ideas. Click on the second one and you’ll get a list of suggested keywords, with monthly searches and competition.
Choose 2-3 keywords with more monthly searches and low-competition.
NOTE: In general it’s recommended to optimize your website for higher competition keywords, but for quick wins, low competition terms are a smarter choice. If you can find some long-tail keywords with good monthly searches you can get traffic faster and start building inbound links.
I already decided my article will focus on HIIT workouts. From the list below, I will choose “HIIT workouts for women“, “HIIT workout plans” and “HIIT cardio workout” as my keywords.
As you can see, none of these keywords refers to HIIT workouts versus other forms of training, nor to the benefits of these exercises. So the next step will be to find a way to incorporate these keywords in an article that talks about my preferred subject.
3. Prepare the structure of your article
The basic structure, regardless of your niche, is given below:
- Introductory paragraph = 1-2 phrases that summarize the article or intrigue the reader; should contain one of the keywords, placed at the beginning of the article if possible.
- Heading 1 = contains one of the keywords, addresses the questions or statements found in the introductory paragraphs;
- Body text 1 = section that explains Heading 1;
- Heading 2 = may contain another keyword, prepares the conclusion;
- Body text 2 = section that explains Heading 2 and prepares the conclusion;
- Conclusion = summarizes the article;
Before I start writing the actual content, my structured article will look like this (all those xxx mean you have to add text there):
Main keywords are colored in red, and you can see I added some extra keywords from the list, such as HIIT training workouts or HIIT workouts for home. I can add external links on those keywords, and use them to start promoting the article once it’s done.
4. Write the article, starting with H1
A lot of beginner writers struggle with the title and intro, and the good news is you can change the title as many times as needed before you publish the article.
If you don’t feel inspired and don’t know how to start the article, what to write in those introductory paragraphs, skip them for now and fill in the remaining parts of the text. This makes the entire process faster and easier, and you’ll see that once you finish with H1 and H2 (and their respective body texts), you will have a better idea of how your intro should look like.
This is a simple strategy, but if you take this basic structure and implement it in your articles you’ll eventually get faster at writing good articles, as you’ll start writing with the big picture in your mind.
Other practical tips
- Start writing with the conclusion in mind. If you know what you want to prove in your article, it will be easier to organize the text and structure it.
- Before you start writing, decide what type of article you want to create. A listicle will have a completely different structure than a product review or an educational, evergreen article.
- Find relevant and attractive pictures for social media posting. This will encourage your readers to click, like and share.
- Identify opportunities for building inbound links. For this you will have to research your competition and see who links to their articles – I’ll explain the entire process in a future article.
I hope you’ll find this method useful and I’d love to hear from you if you have a different approach, so feel free to post your thoughts and suggestions below. If you need help, don’t hesitate to get in touch using the form in the Contact page!