I don’t know about you, but I can take a while to write an article, usually an hour and then some. Even if I have an idea, I still try to add extra value into the article by doing a bit of research and getting ‘social proof’ to back up what I’m saying.
For this article I decided to time it, so I can see just how long it takes me to create a top-notch, error-free (relatively) piece of content.
In an article over at CopyBlogger.com, the author says he can write an article in 20 minutes. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard this. Some writer/marketers say 20-30 minutes is average for them.
I’m going to use a couple of the CopyBlogger article tips and some of my own and see how I do.
Tip #1 Keep a list of ideas (and information)
I already do this. And, with information permeating every nook and cranny of the internet, there’s never a lack of new ideas. That’s how I came up with this article idea, from the CopyBlogger (CB) piece.
I keep files with links to article on specific topics. When I need to write an article, I look at my file on the topic I want to write on and there they are – lots of ideas and lots of information.
Tip #2 Mull it over
The mentioned CB article advises to let your idea incubate for a while, actually for a few days. The author says doing this allows you to gather supporting information and other idea prior to sitting and writing.
This one I don’t do, maybe that’s why writing an article takes me longer.
But, on the flip side, I gather supporting information (social proof) as I’m writing. So, the time I would have spent prior on this element is done while I’m actually writing.
So, this kind of throws a little monkey wrench into the 20 minute limit. Should any ‘prior’ time writing new ideas for the piece or gathering information be include in the ‘writing time? Hmmm.
Tip #3 Use keywords
While you don’t have to go crazy with keywords, they are still very important. It’s the keywords that the search engines will initially find and index. And, it’s those keywords that ‘searchers’ will use to find the information they want/need.
If you have all the pieces together, Google may very well use your article link as the results in a search query.
Tip #4 Use bullet and numbered points
People love list articles. They’re easy to read and quick to scan. This article is a ‘numbered points’ format.
In regard to writing, using numbered points helps you organize your thoughts and content.
This is obviously optional, but they do make for a more reader friendly piece.
Tip #5 – Add graphics
If you look at blogs, you’ll notice that just about every one includes graphics, usually
images, in their posts.
Top converting tools are video and/or animation. If you can, use them here and there. These content marketing tools are engaging. People love them. And, it keeps those visitors ‘on your site longer.’ This is a great SEO element.
Even SlideShare presentations are a great marketing tool.
Okay, adding graphics may add some time to your article. I keep a folder of blog post images that makes it easy and quick me to find one that will work. And, if I can’t find something that’s just right, I create a new one with Logo Creator. It’s really cheap and amazingly easy to use.
Tip #6 Editing time
This is where you do need to take a couple of minutes to proof and edit your piece. Find something that doesn’t quite work, take it out. If you think you can use it at another time, put it into a file for later use.
Check for spelling and such. While the ‘faster than fast’ element of online marketing may tempt you to forego this step. DON’T SKIP IT.
Your writing is a reflection of you and your skills – make them shine. And, make super sure the content will be helpful to your readers.
Note: This doesn’t mean you’ll miss a mistake here and there, but hopefully you’ll catch the majority of them.
Tip #7 The article length
The author of the CB article says to keep your posts short – under 500 words.
This is a conflicting theory. There are many writer/marketers who say to give the reader more value with longer pieces.
I’m in the middle. I say write the article as it comes out. This article is around 900 words. But, if you’re writing for article directories, like Ezine Articles, then keep it under 500 words.
Sometimes the venue you’ll be publishing on will determine the length of your article.
Tip #8 End it when it’s ended
Once you write and edit the piece, end it. Don’t keep going over it. This is one of my trouble spots. I’ll keep adding to it or tweaking it one way or another. This is just a waste of time. Don’t do it.
This article took me about one hour, maybe a bit more. But, I still had to upload it to my website, add graphics, optimize the post, and add a CTA. So . . .
Try these seven article writing tips and see how long it takes you to write an article.
About the Author: Jim Estill is the CEO of Canadian computer product company SYNNEX and the author of the Time Leadership blog and book.
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