How To Write an Article in 7 Easy Steps
Updated October 10, 2022
Published February 25, 2020
Jennifer Herrity is a seasoned career services professional with 12+ years of experience in career coaching, recruiting and leadership roles with the purpose of helping others to find their best-fit jobs. She helps people navigate the job search process through one-on-one career coaching, webinars, workshops, articles and career advice videos on Indeed's YouTube channel.
Articles are one form of written communication that a company may use to share information with its employees or customers. Articles might be written by marketing or public relations departments to communicate an organization's thought leadership while also providing relevant industry information.
In this article, we discuss how to write an article in seven steps and we offer noteworthy tips for writing an effective article.
What is an article?
An article is a written communication that portrays a central theme from a writer that they want to display to their readership. Article topics may vary and take showcase current or past events worldwide. Additionally, the writer intends on writing content that draws a human interest and connects with viewers uniquely in comparison to other stories.
Other objectives a writer may aim to achieve when writing an article include:
Gives advice and courses of actions
Drives exposure on newsworthy and technological stories
Influences the current opinions of their readers
Read more: Guide to OKRs
How to write articles
Review these guidelines for how to write an efficient article that's likely to be read by your target audience.
Select a topic to write about.
Identify your target audience.
Research facts that reinforce your story.
Come up with an outline of your article.
Write a rough draft and pare down your outline.
Specify your subject matter.
Read aloud until your draft is error-free.
Read more: What Is a Content Management System?
1. Select a topic to write about
Make a list of topics that you want to write about before you start writing. This gives you the chance to find out what you're passionate about. If you're writing an article for your company, brainstorm ideas with the rest of your team to see which topic can evoke interest from potential customers. You may need to communicate with your manager or executive team directly to get a better idea of the audience you're targeting. However, it's recommended that you specify your article as soon as possible, so you can begin writing and see if it's the direction you want to take.
2. Identify your target audience
You need to take the viewpoint of the reader of your article to recognize the target audience you're trying to reach. Consider a SWOT analysis to see which audiences fit the content of the article you're writing.
Also, take a look at these factors when searching for the right target audience:
Demographics: This factor gives you a comprehensive look at an individual's age, annual income geography and educational background. For example, you can target an article for women ages 18 to 35 living in the tri-state area if you choose to write it on beauty products, whereas you can target suburban men ages 35 to 54 on shaving products.
Behaviors and interests: You want to know what type of content a reader is interested in, so it's important to study industry trends in marketing and advertising to see what types of people interact with their brands regardless of the fact they're selling to them. One example can be a company that generates a lot of foot traffic at sporting events for a cause. Knowing what motivates readers to take action provides with you key details on how you can solicit action from them.
Buying habits: Data on customer trends separate those seeking to purchase a product from those browsing the internet. A company can employ targeted ads that persuade them to scroll back to their website, so you may need to check in with your company's marketing team or check for customer trends articles online to see what can be a contributing factor to them consuming a product. This way, you may know what elements can be insightful to your audience and writes content that meshes with what they purchase.
3. Research facts that reinforce your story
Having the facts is essential to writing a powerful story that captivates a reader. You want to have a centralized area to keep your facts, so you can assemble all the elements of your story in one place. It's suitable to have a notebook where you can write down ideas quickly, but it'll be easier for you to write notes digitally on a word processing document on your computer or smartphone.
Some examples of research you can gather include:
Quotes from sources related to the topic you're writing about
Definitions regarding the topic of the article
References to pop culture or media
Local or national events
Resources that a user might find helpful
4. Come up with an outline of your article
Your article should have a basic format before you begin writing, so you can spend more time on the content instead of the structure. Your resources can also aid you to come up with a format that's clear and understandable to the reader.
The four main pieces of an outline that you should draw out should be:
Title: The title is normally the one piece of an article that a viewer sees online when they look for content on their search engines. Make sure that you write content that targets the rich snippet at the top of the search engine result page (SERP) to increase its viewership.
Intro paragraph: The introductory paragraph introduces the main point of what you're trying to say about a topic. This is the ideal method of attracting attention from your audience because you're exhibiting value that demonstrates why they should continue reading your piece.
Body paragraph: The body paragraph allows you to construct and organize supporting information that backs up the point you're trying to make. Use examples from your research above to accentuate your topic and inform your audience about new information and why it's impactful for them.
Conclusion: The conclusion of your article can end with a call to action or something for the reader to consider in the future. You want them to focus on the value they received from what they learned, so they can tell others to read your content and share it with their network. If you're writing for a company, they can have a focus group make determinations on what they want to see next from the company, which can be the driving force to the way you can end your article while enticing them to look forward to more meaningful content.
5. Write a rough draft and pare down your outline
You should write everything down first before you begin editing, so you can unleash your creative process on paper. You can edit everything after and reflect on what you can do differently to enhance the article's quality and which subjects you plan on elaborating on. Make sure that you start writing and editing from the top to the bottom of the article, so you can save time on your first draft.
6. Specify your subject matter
Break down the key points for each section of the outline, so you can stay on track with your article. You want to keep the reader's eyes on your article at all times. You should always be collaborating with an editor or internal member of your team if you have questions on content and where to expand on it.
7. Read aloud until your draft is error-free
The last step is for you to read your article aloud multiple times before you submit it for approval. You want to ensure that'll be concise and understood by the reader. Have a trusted friend or family member read it over to get honest feedback as well.
Tips for writing articles
Consider these tips to help improve the content of the articles you write:
Check for punctuation and grammatical errors: It's important to proofread your articles for proper punctuation and grammatical usage. Also, since articles for media publications generally follow AP style guidelines, it's useful to have an AP stylebook handy.
Time yourself when writing: If you have a set word count, write your first draft and see how long it takes you. This is a great way to manage your time and write quality content on a steady basis while keeping your manager or editor informed about your progress.
Keep your points simple: Clarity is crucial for the success of your writing, and you should get your point across with fewer words than writing more to meet a word requirement. Check with your manager or editor about the content guidelines and word count.
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