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Writing Compelling Content: 5 Elements Of Great Articles (Based On Your Feedback!)
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WritingA big “thank you” to everyone who provided feedback on my question about “What Do YOU Think Makes A Great Article?

As writers of free reprint articles, we can sometimes get so focused on the article production process that we forget what it feels like from the reader’s perspective. Our next two posts will be refreshers on what many readers are looking for in articles in your niche.

Here are the first 5 things I picked out from your feedback that YOU say make a great article:

1 – The article should provide practical, useful information that will improve the life of the reader in some way.

Obviously the information needs to pertain to the specific interests or concerns of the reader, and it takes a bit of preliminary work to figure out what those specific interests are. One great way to figure out what readers in your niche are interested in is to do keyword research.

2 – The article is not too long and is easy to read.

I think that’s a biggie with readers. For those of us who tend to ramble, it’s really helpful to write with a word count goal. The idea is not just to write a brief article, but to write an article that packs a big punch in a few words. What is too long? I think that the ideal word count range for readers and publishers is 600-800 words. If you get into the 1,000 + word range, then you might be much better served by dividing the article into two separate pieces of content.

An article that is easy to read will commonly have shorter paragraphs, bullet list items or numbered list items (or both), and subheadings. Anything you can do to make the information in the article easier to pick out, the better.

3 – The writing reveals the personality or feelings of the writer (depending on the topic).

I think you want to get a sense that the writer is passionate and interested in his or her topic and that you can relate to the author in some way because of how the article is written. Some respondents said that they want to like the author. The only way that the reader can get a feeling of liking the author is if he clearly states his ideas and does so in a way that reveals a little bit of who he is.

I realize that this advice may seem vague–how can you write in a way that makes people like you? That’s a great question, and I would suggest that you should not worry about trying to be likable. Rather, focus on being trustworthy, approachable and genuine in your writing.

4 – The article should provide explicit and strong instructions on how the teaching in the article can be applied to the reader’s life.

This is a good reminder–it’s not enough just to provide the information. It makes a huge difference to the effectiveness of the article if you will take the extra time to detail how the reader should apply the information. This can take the form of  “Homework” that you give at the end of the article or “Action Steps”. The more specific you are in telling the reader what to do, the more likely that he or she will do it.

5 – The article needs to have a catchy title that clearly pertains to an area of interest of the reader.

So, first you determine the topic of the article, and you choose a topic that is of interest to the reader. Then you write a title that clearly tells the reader what the topic of the article is in an interesting way.

Your Homework:

Of course I had to include a “homework” section in this post, after the advice I just gave! Here it is:

  • This week, write an article that focuses on incorporating the element listed above that you have the most trouble with. After you’re written the article and published it, it would be nice if you would leave a comment on this post telling us how you went about incorporating the new element, and you can also give a link to the article so we can see the results of your efforts.Â

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