There are many ways in which all of us can improve our articles, but let’s look at 5 elements of every article, and identify one way in which we can aim to improve each element.
1. The Title – The article title is almost always the way in which we attract readers to our article. Whether it’s in the search engine results or a list of articles within an article directory, it is the title which is most likely to grab attention. One way in which you may be able to tighten up your articles is to consider your title, and ask yourself why anybody would want to click it, especially when it’s buried within a list of many dozens or hundreds of other, similar articles. How do your titles stand out? If you see your titles merely as a way of shoving a keyword or two at the top, then you’re missing the reader, and selling yourself short. Think about motivation, and if you’re in any doubt, have a look at article titles already in article directories, and ask yourself why you’re drawn to some, and not to others, and try to emulate some of these tactics in your own title writing.
2. The Summary – It’s amazing how often people ignore the summary, yet this is often what’s included under the title when your article is listed in the search engine results pages. Your summary is your chance to support your title. Perhaps someone has been attracted by a positive, interesting and focussed title that grabs attention. If your summary is merely the first sentence or two of your article with little focus, and even less reason for the reader to continue with your article, then you’ll be losing out on a significant proportion of your readership. Make your summaries work harder by backing up your titles to the hilt, and giving the reader a taste of the amazing content to come.
3. The Introduction – Much has been written about SEO, and in particular how important the first couple of lines are in your article. Whilst this may be true, it’s unfortunately resulted in a great many people writing articles which start off as though they’re merely an extract from a thesaurus. Your introduction needs to pose a question, highlight an issue or intrigue the reader. It is your chance to hook the reader in, but all too often people seem to try to hook readers in with little more than a damp sponge. Sparkle a little – dare to have fun, or shock the reader. Statistics work well, as do questions, but make sure you back up what you say within the remainder of the article.
4. The Body – This is where you are winning, because if your reader has got through the title, decided to click it, read your summary, decided it sounds relevant, read your introduction, and chosen to keep with you, then you are doing a great job. Don’t lose them now. The best way to lose your reader is to forget them, and to start trying to either force a hard sell, or focus on your keywords rather than your reader. Make sure you focus on writing for a real audience, and if necessary tweak your wording to exchange a few words for your keywords afterwards if it’s really necessary and doesn’t spoil the flow.
5. The Resource Box – Clearly it is likely to be your intention that having hooked your reader in and held their interest right to the foot of your article you’re going to want to encourage them to find out more about you and visit your website. To improve your resource box think about motivation again, just as with your title and summary. Give the reader a reason for clicking your links. To achieve this more successfully ask yourself why your reader is likely to have come to your article. What were they after? If you gave them everything they could possibly have been looking for in the main body of your article, then you may face a problem, because what else have you left to offer them? However, if you cheat your reader by failing to fulfil the promise of your title, leaving them no option but to click your link or go elsewhere for the answer, then you’re losing out again – that’s if your article ever gets published of course.
Knowing who your target audience is, and thinking about what they’re really after will help you create a resource box which offers them a reason for clicking your links. Believe me, your readers will almost certainly not click your links just because they want to find out who this incredible writer is. They’ll need to be tempted, so think about what you have to offer them that will be most likely to tempt your target audience.