Right from the get-go, it is necessary to dispel two great misperceptions about article writing: it is neither art nor science. What is it then?
In short, article writing is simply the service provision.
Readers are not interested in an author’s personal experiences; they also have no use for witty turns of phrase and snarky tone. What everyone looks for is value. Bring your readers the value, serve them, and they will continue being your readers. A failure to do so won’t go unnoticed.
An overwhelming majority of articles are not read to the end. Readers don’t stick around because they have nothing to gain from low-quality articles.
If you want your readers to finish the whole thing, finish this article first. Here, we’ve compiled time-tested, ironclad tips for writing not simply interesting but really hooking content. Apply them, and people will keep reading.
How to Write Articles
- Reward your readers right away
Readers want to satisfy their intellectual curiosity. And they want to do it ASAP. So, give them something right from the start. Reward them for opening your article and draw them in. The reward might come in the form of a short and informative sentence. It might also be an amusing image. Think of something; otherwise, people won’t bother to read.
- Pace your reader
There are lots of readers who enjoy loooong sentences and even loooooooooonger paragraphs. All of them are secluded in ivory towers of academia. If, however, your target audience is not restricted to octogenarian scholars, don’t even bother writing long paragraphs. Nobody will read them.
Write short and sweet sentences. How about an occasional longwinded one? Well, there are no unbreakable rules about sentence length. If you manage to form a conga-line of suitable words that carry a reader up and down the hills of dependent clauses completely breathless until they find their footing again, then go ahead and do it!
Give them slim and tasty sentences; give them fat and nutritious sentences. Some will produce fun and excitement; others will require commitment.
Pace your reader.
If you create the right tempo, you will spin them “right round like a record, baby, right round, round, round.”
- Kill your darlings. Let your darlings go
Yes, it is an ancient platitude, but it nonetheless true. I’m not sure if this advice was given by Moses, Stephen King, or Plato, but it works great.
OK, maybe this common piece of advice sounds too harsh. Instead of axing weak sentences and awkward phrases, let them go. Yeah, it is more Zen this way.
If you want nothing else but committed readership – get to the point. Scrap all sentences that fall short of perfection. Let go of everything that stands between your reader and your point.
It will hurt, but it is necessary.
Let me explain.
Would you read a cooking recipe with a paragraph-long explanation of the water boiling process? No. Would you read a recipe in which water is referred to as liquid, colorless and odorless thing containing oxygen and hydrogen atoms united by stable covalent bonds? Hell, no! Then don’t force your readers to plod through similarly tedious garbage.
Let your darlings go.
- Provide readers with substance
Nobody needs fluff. Yet, there are more shallow articles than any sane person would dare to count.
Unlike bunnies, fluffy articles aren’t cute and squeezable. They are cumbersome and hideous. In an attempt to bulk up a slim article, hack writers add some padding. Such authors think the readers won’t notice. They will. And they won’t like it.
Don’t write articles for the sake of writing. Write them to deliver value.
Provide readers with substance and use adjectives sparingly. To ensure that your article is padding-free, edit it generously. Then, re-edit.
- Tell a story
We are story-telling creatures. Keep this simple fact in mind when crafting your article.
A great way to lure readers into your article is to tell them a story. Start recounting a real-life experience, set a stage, and unfold a shocking plot.
In addition to being addictive, stories also work great for making examples. The best thing about stories is that you don’t have to paint a garish, three-pages long picture to illustrate your point. To be effective, they don’t have to be long. Short, simple, and, above all, human stories work best.
- Show, then tell
This is kinda a bleed-over from the previous advice, but it deserves a tip of its own. Because it is important.
When illustrating your points, aim for vivid mental images. Your writing should be evocative and bright. Instead of treating readers to insipid American beer, give them a shot of hot Mexican tequila. You see?
In great articles nothing is described, everything is shown. To make your writing visual, use specific details. Also, when describing something, make use of all five senses. In addition to showing, throw in some smell, sound, taste, and touch.
Metaphors and similes can be excellent visual instruments in your writing toolbox. However, stay away from stale ones. You need to be unique. Come up with fresh ways to compare things. “Happy as a clam” is a sign of literary laziness. Go for happy as the Coyote munching on the Road Runner instead.
How to Write a Good Article
The most important thing about writing an interesting article is to have fun. When you have a great time crafting a piece, readers will enjoy reading it. Other steps in writing are less important. Don’t believe me? Try switching gears and reading this very article as if you were the one who wrote it. Would you be bored writing it? I don’t think so.
Forego every grammar rule and writing convention you know. But for God’s sake, DO NOT DENY YOURSELF FUN!
The takeaway? In the age of skimming, short, punchy, and fun articles get actually read.
Now, it’s your turn. Go and craft your own addictive article.