There is no fixed formula for writing, but as an article writer and blogger I’ve found there are certain practices that just help me work better. Here I’m going to share my 7 golden rules of online article writing, and I hope they help you get better at writing blog content yourself.
7 rules of online article writing to help improve your writing style and effectiveness
1. Know your audience
The first thing you need to know when you’re writing blog content – or anything else for that matter – is who will be reading it.
Just as you would speak differently to different people when holding a verbal conversation, you should be able to adapt your writing ‘voice’ to suit your audience.
The more specific you can be about the audience you’re writing to, the more success you’re likely to have connecting with them and getting them to follow a particular CTA (call to action).
If possible, before you start writing or even choose a topic, research the demographic of your intended readers, the problems they face, and the solutions they’re looking for. This article contains a full breakdown of the process of defining your target audience.
2. Determine your target keywords
You don’t have to be an SEO expert, but it’s a good idea to have a basic grounding in how keywords work. This is particularly important if you’re writing articles and blogs as part of a content marketing strategy, since well-placed keywords can heavily influence the amount of traffic your article receives from organic searches.
Invest the time in researching relevant keywords for your business and including them in your content. If you’re writing blog content for a client, be sure to check whether they have any keywords they expect you to incorporate.
Did you know that Stuff With Words offers one-off keyword research for just $80? If that seems like the easiest option for you, get in touch to tell us more about what you need.
3. Find an angle on your topic
This might seem like an obvious one, but you should have a specific topic in mind before you begin writing. Steps 1 and 2 will help, because once you know who your audience is and which keywords you need to include, your options will automatically start to narrow.
To give an example, I was recently invited to contribute a chapter to a book about being a digital nomad. No further topic was specified, but of course I had to choose exactly which aspect of the nomadic lifestyle I would write about. With a 1,000-word limit, I couldn’t even begin to cover many of the things I thought of. In the end I settled on writing about parenting as a nomad, and how to juggle remote freelance work with the responsibilities of being a parent.
Having pinned down this topic for my writing, it was much easier to bring the piece together.
4. Plan your main points
This is more of a suggestion than a rule for article writing, but time is money and I find I stay a lot more focused when I have a rough plan to follow.
Once you have identified an idea for your blog or article, jot down the main points you want to cover. Then arrange them logically so your writing will flow from one point to the next.
Once you begin writing, you may find that you want to take your article in a different direction or arrange your points in a different order to what you’d planned. There is no problem with this at all, and at least now it’s a conscious decision rather than a meandering of your mind.
Tip: If you do deviate from the course you originally planned for your article, keep a note of your initial idea as you may want to go back to it another time.
Some writers may be fine just tapping out a title and taking it from there, but my personal preference is to plan ahead when I’m writing blog content.
5. Research if required
Some articles – opinion pieces and creative content, for example – will require little or no research. Others will require a great deal more.
When searching for information online, do take the time to find reliable, credible sources. Include several relevant links to external sites that will add value to your readers. The more authoritative the sites you link to, the better it is for your SEO, too.
6. Stick to your brand voice
As you write your article, you need to make sure it adheres to your brand guidelines (or those provided by your client).
To help freelance article writers create content that accurately reflects your brand, put together a one-page brand style guide for your business. This should include things like what your company does, who the products/services are aimed at, and the tone of voice you want to communicate in. It can also explain your preferred writing style and format.
In fact, this is a useful exercise to do even if you’re writing blog content for your own business, as it helps keep you more focused and reminds you of style elements you may need to check.
As a writer, it’s a good idea to ask your client in advance if they have any specific brand guidelines they expect you to stick to. Otherwise, you could find yourself having to re-work your writing after submitting it.
The last in my 7 rules of online article writing is: proofread your work. Some might say it’s the most boring stage; I would argue that it’s the most important.
Why is proofreading so important?
Because if your website content is full of mistakes, it won’t reflect well on your company and could end up costing you money.
Equally, if you’re a freelance writer, clients will hold you in much higher regard when you return work that is consistently error-free. They’re more likely to want to work with you long-term, and may be more open to negotiating higher rates – particularly if the quality of your work means they don’t have to hire a proofreader themselves.
If grammar isn’t your forte, don’t despair. Our professional proofreading services will check your blog, article, web pages, and other content for common writing mistakes such as:
- Spelling mistakes
- Grammatical errors
- Syntax (sentence structure)
- Incorrect word choice
- Word repetition
With someone else doing all of this for you, you can concentrate on doing more of what you’re great at.
Every article writer and blogger is different, but sticking to these content writing rules should make it easier for you to write high-quality content that engages readers.
Do you have any other golden rules of online article writing that you always follow? If so, leave a comment below to share them with us.