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The “Top Mistakes” Article Template
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Top Mistakes Articles Are Attention Grabbing

Top Mistakes articles are attention grabbing.

Have you noticed any common misconceptions about your niche, or common mistakes that people in your field make?

If so, you have a prime teaching opportunity.

Sometimes the best way to learn is to see what NOT to do.

Top mistakes articles also tend to catch readers’ attention because they run counter to the popular ‘Top Tips’ articles.

If you’re looking for a new writing template to help kickstart your next article, give this one a go:

1. Are there any mistakes that folks in your target market typically make?

These could be misconceptions or actual behavioral mistakes. Don’t think of this as harping on the negative–many times people don’t realize they’re making a mistake until someone points it out!

Also, anyone who reads your article can avoid making the mistakes listed, so this type of article is like a preventative treatment to common mistakes made in your niche. Sometimes we’re not so hot on learning new things, but we are definitely motivated to avoid disasters.

2. Write an intro.

Tell why these are such common mistakes and why the reader needs to avoid them. What do they have to gain by avoiding these mistakes? What do they have to lose by committing these mistakes?

3. List each mistake/misconception.

4. Offer corrections for the mistakes.

This is where the value is–you are offering solutions to common problems.

5. Be encouraging.

This is more of an attitude than anything else, but remember that the purpose of the article is to help people rather than to make them feel bad for making a mistake.

6. Consider using a number in your title.

This “Top Mistakes” list can also be a “Top 7″ or “Top 5″ or whatever number you come up with.

7. How urgent do you want to be in your title?

If you want to be urgent, then you can use an exclamation point at the end of your title (just one exclamation point please–no need to make it double or triple!)

Take this article, for example: 7 Pregnancy Exercise Mistakes You MUST Avoid!

‘Top Mistakes’ Articles: Examples

Look at these for some ideas for different types of titles and see how these authors structured their articles:

Top 5 Body Language Mistakes in Dating

Wedding Reception Mistakes To Avoid

Top 7 Mistakes Beginner Bass Players Make

5 Common Mistakes New eBay Sellers Make

10 Misconceptions the Self-Employed Deal With Daily (this one is actually a blog post, but it’s the same idea)

And from my own article library:

5 Popular Reasons Why Articles Are Declined (And How To Fix Them!)

What do you think–will you try this article template?

Photo by nixArt

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13 Responses to “The “Top Mistakes” Article Template”

  1. wow, that’s a great tip. I usually tend to use a similar template as most people in any niche like you’ve said already would need to know the top mistakes to avoid.

    P.S. I really like this one because it’s using a different word “declined” [didn't think of this before]:

    5 Popular Reasons Why Articles Are Declined (And How To Fix Them!)

  2. Peter says:

    Solid, practical advice as always Steve.

    Keep it up.


  3. Kelwyn S says:

    Wow! A terrific idea. I was just in the process of brainstorming for article ideas.
    This concept has sparked a number of great ideas within me.
    Please keep up the good work.

  4. ashu marthin says:

    i really like this but please i will like you to continue advice me ever i made a mistake.thanks you very much for your concern

  5. I second Codrut’s comment! Great tip.

    And I especially like that you gave us actual examples!

    Thanks so much.


  6. Elda Titus says:

    Thank you for all the very useful information. Your posts contain different angles and helps when one is struggling to come up with articles. Thanks again!

  7. Ricardo A. says:

    Very nice tip!

    Who doesn’t want to improve himself? We might be making mistakes without realizing it. But something like this can help us out.


  8. This is exactly what the doctor ordered!

    Yes, I will certainly take you up on the ideas you have listed here.

    Ralph Justice

  9. Another solid jammed packed article with helpful,
    information for both the beginner and experienced

    One thing I would like to add to this tip, research
    forums in your niche market, write down the top (FAQ) that the readers have, and write an article around that idea.

    Thanks for the information Steve

  10. Matt says:

    Great article. I have a couple good ideas for lists myself.

    Question- Lets say I have an idea for an article on the “top 7 mistakes in interior design”. Rather than listing all 7 mistakes in one article, how could I do a seperate article for each mistake? And how would you title the articles?

    One idea may be to create a category called “mistakes in interior design”- and then have an article for each mistake. But in that scenario, I would end up having too many categories… How would it work if I titled it like this: “Common interior design mistakes- #1: too much furniture for the space”, and so on for the other 6.


  11. Steve Shaw says:

    Hi Matt,

    You’ve got a good idea, and here is how I would use it:

    Write an article with the top 7 Mistakes.

    Then write an article spotlighting each of the 7 mistakes.

    So, you will end up with a total of 8 articles.

    The titles can be specific to the mistake (the topic of the article) or you can subtly tie the articles together with a title like:

    Interior Design Mistakes: Too much furniture for the space

    For the articles that are spotlighting a particular mistake, be careful not to put Part 1, Part 2, etc or Mistake #1, Mistake #2 in the title.

    So, don’t put “Common interior design mistakes- #1: too much furniture for the space”

    But rather put: “Common interior design mistakes: too much furniture for the space”

    Each title should stand on it’s own and not be dependent on the other articles.

    Here is a post that outlines how to do an article set like this:

    How To Launch an Article Series from One Lonely Article

  12. Pro says:

    That is a great idea. It is good to create an article out of different “points” in previous articles. I’ll definitely do it.
    Thanks for the post.

  13. Its great to get all your hints and tips, very useful information here.

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