Not everyone can stare at a white screen and compose line after line of compelling sentences. For some the writing process can be more daunting than others.
The best way to find your stride is to develop a step by step plan for how you produce your content. When you become familiar with this process you will not only be able to produce content at a faster pace, but you will also trust the process and your skill because of it.
After a lot of trial and error, I have found a way that works for me. This is not necessarily the perfect method for every writer, but I’m sure you will be able to take something from these steps that will help you with article writing.
Step 1: Researching the Client
My planning process will rely greatly on the type of content that I am writing. If I know that my client merely requested ‘content mill’ articles I won’t compile articles that are too intricate or fact-based. Even though I prefer writing meaningful articles are shareable; those clients are harder to find.
If I’m not writing as a ghost writer and I know the website my content will be published, I will do some research regarding the existing content on that site. The last thing you want to do is copy something that has already been discussed on the site. The idea is to get to know that particular website’s audience and trying to create a similar, yet refreshing voice.
It is not always the case that you will have freedom of choice with the content you are about to write, but even if you have instructions and a topic to work from, your website research will be appreciated.
Step 2: Brainstorming Ideas
If you are pitching ideas to a client you will most probably take the time to brainstorm possibilities Throw around ideas, no matter how bizarre they may seem. Use this time to figure out what will work and what not, do this with the background of your client and audience research.
Step 3: Building the Structure
For me, the easiest way is to plan around a structure. I see the process of planning the structure as building a skeleton that will form the basis of body. Introducing headings or paragraph ideas will help you to stay focused the flow as well as the topic of your articles.
With this article I started with a clear idea of writing about ‘writing’. I knew what the content will involve and describing the steps was mere method. Before the article started taking form it consisted of the Article Heading, and then the sub-headings ‘Researching the Clients’, ‘Brainstorming Ideas’, ‘Filling the Content’, ‘Editing and Double Checking’ and ‘Uploading or Sending’.
Step 4: Filling the Content
I see these separate topics as ‘mini’ articles where the ‘filling’ will just further discuss the introduced topic.
Filling the content is definitely not a mindless process, the style, voice and context will depend on the type of article that you are writing. Some content will include graphs, tutorials, videos and images. This is all included in this section of my planning.
Step 5: Editing and Double Checking
I must admit, this is the part of the process that I have been neglecting. I only recently realized that your content creation is reflective of your skills and expertise. I cannot expect to be taken seriously if a client complains about grammar or spelling mistakes. No matter your qualifications or lack thereof, there are numerous sources and programs online to aid you in this process.
Another tip when it comes to the editing process, is to create some distance between you and your content. Take a break after the writing process and return back to the article with a ‘fresh’ attitude. This way you might spot mistakes you previously missed because you were too involved in the writing process.
Step 6: Uploading or Sending
Some clients ask me to upload the articles online with platforms such as WordPress, and others prefer to edit and shape the article themselves before posting. Read over your article a few times before sending it, to make sure you are happy with the end product.
Be sure to communicate with your client by notifying them of the finished product or the fact that you posted the article online. I prefer feedback and criticism from clients that I have a steady working relationship with. This will ensure growth and development within my writing skills.
I would love to hear your tips and tricks for writing articles? I there something that I should include in my list? Feel free to leave some comments below…
Image Courtesy: Mashable