Some inspiration, motivation and dedication is all you need to compose a good piece of writing. But wether you’re just getting started or you’re looking to evolve to the next level, these tips will only do your writing well.
The Process of Crafting a Powerful Piece of Writing
Define your topic, but also decide on the objective and added value.
Take a min to research your subject so you have more options and a fuller understanding of what to cover. Make sure you have enough background info to pinpoint your unique perspective and then leave it for now.
- Set out structure
Jot down a quick plan of the article and its fields and needs by keywords, and a working title that reflects those. You can do this through the who-why-what-where-when, by titling paragraphs, or whatever fits your style of writing, so you know what you’re going for.
Write. Write. Don’t filter yet. Just write. Write. Let Words Flow Freely. Write. And Write.
- Add Information
Read your piece once or twice and without editing, fill in the blanks and see where you could add fitting information to complete the story. Make sure not to copy; every sentence of your post must be 100% unique, unless mentioned and styled as actual sources.
Now arrange your writing so that it flows naturally and is scannable. Make sure to open up with a captivating intro and giving an incentive to read on, explaining what’s to come. Throughout the article be clear on the key points of your writing, share information, your insights or inspirations, connect the dots and be concise. Wrap it up with an outro, including a clear call to action, asking the readers opinion and giving your last words and resources where helpful. Apply form in paragraphs with headings, enters, bold, italic, lists, quotes and so on.
What’s the point? Is it useful and unique? Is it inspiring, informative or gives new insight? What could you include to add value?
Step 4, 5, 6 and 7 are interchangeable to fit your style and to be repeated as many times as required.
- Adding Media
Embed images, videos and other elements that illustrate the content and optimize the read.
Give us a quick heads-up on the pending review status of your post and we’ll get right to it and provide you with pointers to improve where possible.>
Before people get to read your awesome post, they have to click it. The time has come to go from your working title to an appealing and accurate headline. Along with a short description. Good practice is to come up with 10 titles then choose or fuse from those. Holler for help ;)
- Revising & Fine tuning
Lay the final hand on your piece with our pointers and your last takes.
Let us check for grammar, SEO, featured image, category, internal and external links etc.
We’ll plan a publishing date and let you know.
Share your article through your own social media channels, our channels, with individuals you think will be interested, in related groups and forums, with related pages and articles, in comments, in real life reference and wherever you see fitted. The bigger the reach, the better.
- In Action
Drive conversation, reply to comments, update and edit if necessary, draw inspiration and motivation for your next write up and rock with it for a minute. We hope this helps. Remember at any given time you can hit us up for personal advice and professional resources (things like http://writetodone.com/how-to-write-better/) to help you out
- Additional Tips
If you have gaps in your knowledge of your subject matter, then bring in an expert who can fill it. Ask the questions both you and your readers need answered and the expert will probably also promote the posts themselves.
Create pillar content
Pillar content is the handful of posts that are your go-to posts. They are not time-sensitive (sometimes they’re called “evergreen content”), they’re your best stuff and they’re solid examples of what you’re blog is about.
Default Type of Articles
Below you find a list of standard and flexible article and blog types for your inspiration. It is quite a lot, a little messy and not my own writing, but it holds plenty of kickstarters. You are in no way restricted to these standards, but they might help you get the writing going and get the ideas flowing!
- List Posts
One of the most popular post types in use today because they are extremely easy to follow and great for sharing. The basic idea is that you take a topic, thought or a problem and you try to come up with a number of separate solutions to it.
* Check-Lists – Covering processes or the basics of a topic
* Collections – Assemble content around one theme
* Laundry Lists – Lists of things to do to accomplish a particular objective
* Resource Lists – Lists of links and third party resources of particular use
(Searching for valuable information elsewhere and, in the end, share links to what you have found. This kind of posts tend to get a lot of backlinks due to the fact that people who have been featured will be likely to share with their followers.
They are usually short (less than 500 words) and share an important piece of news in a given niche. But, you have to be fast! Or save and recycle it in another type of post.
The ‘Definition’ or ‘Statement’ Article
Define something that is relevant and valuable to your readers. Many industries have key concepts which new readers won’t know. If a concept is complicated, produce a pillar article that defines the concept, clearly explaining what it means and how it can be implemented. You can describe a concept in your own words, using your own unique story and voice. This helps to build credibility and trust.
A.k.a. Wikipedia-style post. What you basically do is choose a term that has a significant importance in your field and define it using simple language, so the term is easy to understand for someone who’s new to the topic.
It may seem simple and obvious to you, but remember you are an expert in your field, so explain it to the newbies in simple terms and, of course, try and tell a story as an example. A resource page like this is good as a reference piece and often referred back to by other people and websites.
- Round ups
* News Round-Ups – Summarising the daily/weekly/monthly news for your readers.
* From Around The Web – Bringing together the best stuff posted on your topic from around the web
- How To / Step by Step Guide / DIY / Tutorial
Write an in-depth article that teaches people how to do something. The most successful ‘how-to’ articles are based on real experiences and backed up by anecdotal evidence, so its worth explaining how your ‘how-to’ worked out for you.
Some types of opinion pieces include:
* Taking Sides – Staking out a position in a debate often in opposition to other highly visible individuals to attract attention.
* Big Picture – Providing a view from 30 thousand feet of a subject matter or industry.
* Future Forecasting – Highlighting underlying trends and using your knowledge to speculate where those trends may lead in the future
* Digging Deep – Taking an issues of importance and drilling down to the nuts & bolts, then offering your opinion on solutions
*Devils Advocate – Taking a position contrary to what you agree with for the sake stirring discussion and debate
* Re-Framing – Taking a new novel angle on a subject or otherwise re-framing it to change common perceptions
- Presenting a Theory or Argument
If you blog about politics, writing an article discussing your theories about communism, democracy or capitalism can make a great pillar article. The important thing here is to present some unique thought. Give your opinion on a major issue in your industry, or even on a mainstream topic that you suspect your readers will take an interest in. Try not to simply rehash what other people have said and clearly present your own thesis argument. Stimulate conversation, perhaps controversy, about a topic that is often discussed and is not time-dependent and you will draw traffic to your post.
- Case studies
Case studies present a way of solving a problem based on a real-life example. A good case study explains a process (much like a tutorial) but shows what effect it had when implemented. It’s a useful and fun way of showing the effectiveness of a product or service. (In creation, marketing, music, political and social developments?)
Compare. Contrast. Put something into context for your readers. This could be a product history, timeline or comparison. Why does whatever you’re writing about matter? How does it compare to older products or previous events? You can see this format everywhere – sports pages comparing recent results to older ones; the history behind a new product; or the background to a recent event.
- Personal Posts
Write something about your self. Tell a story. Show your weaknesses. When people can relate to you, you will get readers for life. You are not just another blogger- you are someone they feel they know and have a connection with.
- Motivational and Inspirational Posts
Usually an inspiring story about someone achieving something. The main message here is “if he can do it, so can I.” Posts that shake you once in a while motivate the heck out of me, and apparently, a ton of more people. The only problem is that it’s not that easy to find something interesting enough to be turned into an inspiring post.
- Reader Participation Post
When you ask your readers to participate you are bound to get attention – specially if you give some kind of an incentive. Contests are another great way to get noticed.
- Definitive Guides
Definitive guides are another way to demonstrate your expertise on your topic of choice. Get this right and it can become the kind of epic pillar content you can refer people back to for years to come. Types of definitive guides:
* Epic Blog Posts – Covering a whole topic in details
* Overviews – Covering all the basics of a topic
* Downloadable Guides – A book dedicated to topic of choice
- Profile posts
A profile is a post focusing on a specific person, usually someone famous or important in a given field. Profiles usually cover things like: why the person in question became famous, what’s so special about them, what they have accomplished, and what’s their history and background. There are no specific rules of creating a good profile post. You have to choose your target, find as much interesting information about them as you can, and combine it into an article.
- Problems-and-solutions posts
This is similar post type to case studies, only here, the solution doesn’t have to be one that has already been applied. It can be a description of a theoretical solution to a problem, or an idea worth considering for other people struggling with the same problem. For example, let’s look at amateur bodybuilding as a topic. One of the most common problems in that field is gaining lean (fat-free) body mass. A bodybuilder-blogger might create a post targeting this specific problem by giving a number of possible solutions, like introducing a special diet, different workout regime, different hours of sleep, and so on.
- Comparison posts
Every field has some specific characteristics or problems that can be solved by many different means. Comparison posts take two or more possible solutions and compare them to one another. Various aspects of these solutions need to be taken into account if the whole post is to be valuable. It’s also good to point out a winner at the end.
There’s nothing like a good story. Stories are ones of the most reader-friendly types of blog posts. We humans are used to hearing stories ever since we were children. The power of stories lies in their ability of disguising certain messages while describing seemingly unrelated situations.
- Research posts
A step-by-step guide on how you are (or someone else is) researching a specific topic. For example, you can share how you’re selecting when buying your secondhand MPC, or how you’re searching Hip Hop History, or find cool likeminded people and online accounts.
- “What others are saying” posts
This is a combination of a research post and a link list post. The main idea is to find a topic and find other people sharing their opinion on that topic. Sometimes it’s better to not pretend that you are the most knowledgeable person in a given field, but share the opinions of other experts instead. It’s the thing Napoleon Hill was famous for. You could also do this by following a certain hashtag or discussion on Twitter.
- “What if” posts
A hypothetical post about something—”What would happen if X?” kind of thing. To start, choose an interesting topic, find an element that’s certain to exist in that field, and try to write a post about what might have happened if that element never existed. For example: “What if Biggie was still alive?”
- Parody posts
A satirical view on a given topic. The easiest way of coming up with such a thing is to choose another publication about something, note down some of the ideas presented in it, and extend them to the point of absurd. For example, many building-a-successful-blog gurus tell you about the importance of commenting on other blogs. In response, you could write a post on “why you need to comment on 1,374 different blogs a day if you want to be successful.”
- FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) posts
I’m sure you know very well what this is about. The only problem with coming up with these kind of posts is the “frequently” part. If you want to create a FAQ style post you need to have an audience to get the questions from. Creating a fake FAQ containing only some imaginary “frequently” asked questions is the biggest sin of them all.
- SAQ (Should Ask Questions) posts
A similar type to the previous one, but this time you, as the expert, provide a list of questions and answers your audience should be asking you. The trick here is that frequently asked questions are not always the ones that are the most important (that’s because people don’t know what they don’t know), so in a SAQ post you can present your expertise and deliver much value to your readers.
One of the easiest ways for people to process information is through images and visualization. Info-Graphics (information graphics) are images that communicate information in a visual format and are therefore easy to digest and very shareable.
Some types of info graphics include: How-To Guides, Visual guides to a step-by-step process, Researched Statistic, Breaking down stats and numbers, Time-Lines, Cataloguing sequences of events or a history of something, Did You Know, Breaking down facts and figures on a particular topic. Tools for creating info graphics: Piktochart, Easel.ly, Visual.ly, Infogr.am
- Cheat sheets
As Wikipedia defines it, “a cheat sheet is a concise set of notes used for quick reference,” and that’s exactly what it is. I’m sure that you can find many rules, tricks, methods of doing/using something that relates to your field or niche. You just have to put it all together in a neat PDF file and share it with your readers. Just to give you some examples of nice cheat sheets: Cheat Sheets & Quick Reference Cards for Developers.
- Open questions
This is usually a very short post. Just a single question to your readers about whatever topic. But, of course, it has to be something related to your niche, and it has to be something that actually interests you, something you want to know … maybe as part of research for your upcoming post. Publishing this kind of post can help you tighten the relationship with your readers and encourage some of the quiet ones to speak up. The only downside is that you have to have a moderate readership in order to make this work.
- Starting a debate
Similar to publishing an open question, only this time you are saying what’s your opinion at the beginning of the post, and let your readers pick a side, so they can share their own arguments in favor or against. One more time … you have to have an audience for this to work. Once you consider the debate finished you can shut down the comments and write a follow-up post pointing out some of the most important parts of the debate.
- Presenting an existing debate
Let me just give you an example. A while ago, Corbett Barr published a post presenting a debate between Pat Flynn and Everett Bogue on whether or not you should allow comments on your blog. The debate has been prepared earlier by interviewing both sides giving them the same questions, and then letting them take a look at each other’s answers so they could react to them. This is a great idea and I have to implement it myself in the near future. I encourage you to do the same.
How is it any different from a poll or a survey? Well, a quiz is not a tool for you to find out something about your audience, but a tool for your audience to find out something about themselves, usually in a funny and entertaining way.
- Software, tools, scripts, plugins, themes, services
You can use a blog post to announce your new software, tool, plugin, service, etc. Share some information about the thing—what it can do, who it is for, how and when to get it, and so on. This might be a good way of notifying your readers of what’s going on in your business, what you’re up to, and what’s in it for them
Every day more bloggers start to publish comics as a constant element of their publishing schedule. If you are, or can get, someone who can create the actual comics, it might be a good way for you to expand your audience and give them something that’s very easy to digest.