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Article Marketing Tip: How to Write a Summary for an Article
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Before submitting your first article, you may have thought that you only needed a title and an article, but when it comes to actually submitting the article you find that there are many other bits of information to fill in.

One of the extra fields of info that you might not have thought about before is the article summary (or short description as we call it at SubmitYourArticle.com).

What is this field for and how can you use it to your best advantage? Does it even matter what you put in there?

That’s what we’ll be discussing today…

What Is The Short Description Field Used For?

Article directories use the short description on their summary pages. See, look at the SubmitYourArticle.com article directory and under “Latest Articles” you’ll see a list of article titles with a short description after each.

Additionally, if you were to click on any of the categories on our article directory, you would see a similar list of article titles and short descriptions.

The purpose of a short description is to help give the reader an idea of what your article is about. You have more room in the article summary than in the title to explain what your article is about, and readers find it useful when trying to decide which articles to read.

You’ll notice from looking a summary page on an article directory that some summaries are more effective than others.

What does this mean for the effectiveness of your article marketing campaign?

A good article summary can result in more people reading your article, which in turn can result in more targeted visitors to your website and potentially more customers and sales.

A halfheartedly written article summary could be the difference between getting that potential customer’s attention and missing out on an important connection or sale.

How To Write A Summary For An Article

The article summary should give the reader a foretaste of what type of information is included in the article.

One technique is to simply take the opening paragraph of your article and use that as the article summary. That may work or not, depending on what your opening paragraph looks like. You may wish to pick and choose various sections from your article to provide some “highlights” of the information in your article. Sometimes it may work better to use the concluding paragraph.

Alternatively, you can write your article summary from scratch. Here are some additional tips:

  • The article short description should be more than one sentence long–you have 450 characters to work with, so you might as well make use of that space.
  • Your article summary should be written in complete sentences. Remember that readers will be seeing your short description–perhaps more people will be seeing your short description than even your article. So, take the time to write as if you know people will be seeing it. A short description that simply says “Article about greenhouses” is not as effective as it could be.
  • Tell specifically what your article will teach. That will help rope readers in, as it gives them the best idea of what to expect from reading your article.
  • The article summary should provide more information than what the title gives. Sometimes you’ll see article summaries that is just basically the title restated, but the real purpose of the summary is to provide information additional to the title.
  • Do not put your name in the article summary. Some publishers interpret that as being “promotional”, which will result in a decline. There is not any need to put your name there anyway. Likewise, refrain from mentioning your website, products or services in the article summary. The short description should not resemble your resource box. Instead of being about you, it should be about the topic of your article.

Examples:

I did a quick look at our article directory and found some excellent examples of great short descriptions. Sometimes seeing someone else’s article description is the best way to learn to write your own.

This summary tells exactly what the article teaches, who the article is written for, and why that person should be interested in this article.

And here’s another really good one:

Very straight forward--it tells you exactly what the article is about, what it teaches, and why you should read the full article.

Your Homework:

You might think of the article summary as serving a similar purpose to the resource box. In your resource box you are trying to lure the reader to visit your website. Similarly, the short description is supposed to lure the reader into reading your article.

For your next article, take some extra care with your article short description. Focus on enticing the reader with the subject matter of your article and luring him or her to click through and read the full article. Work on applying the guidelines above when creating your next article short description.

In the meantime, do you have any special techniques that you use when crafting your article summaries?


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5 Responses to “Article Marketing Tip: How to Write a Summary for an Article”

  1. As always, excellent, Steve. The samples were very helpful as well. It’s one thing to tell someone how to do something and quite another to show them. Thank you for all your great insights.

  2. hello from Montana,

    Thanks for sharing this post. I used to use the first sentence or two, but found it was not as effective. Love to learn more each day.

    You are doing an important work, thanks.

    Judy Helm Wright

  3. Steve Shaw says:

    Thank you, Virginia and Judy!

  4. joseph Ng says:

    Dear Steve
    It’s great of you to share some juicy tips on article writing. But in my experience, summary is something like conclusion. What is commented above is really ‘Overview’ or ‘ Preview’. What really attracts a reader should be the Headline above the headline e.g. Breaking News! Head Turning News and etc. Headline could be the subject of the article and Sub headline should be a ‘long tail’ description to encourage readers to read more. Thanks. Your views please. GBU

  5. Steve Shaw says:

    @joseph Ng: Hi Joseph,

    Thank you so much for reading this post. Yes, I agree with you that the title (headline) is extremely important, and we have other posts on this blog about how to write an eye catching headline.

    But this post is specifically about how to make the best use of the article summary (aka short description) field. The article summary or short description (as it is called at many article directories) is another way to attract a reader in addition to the title.

    It may help if I clarify–when you are submitting an article to a directory, there are various fields to fill in, and one of those fields is the “article summary” field. You’re right that it is like an overview or preview of the article. Most times though you’ll see it called an “article summary” or “short description” when submitting an article to a directory or other publisher.

    I hope this further info helps!

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