Different types of articles
Start by deciding what type of article you are going to write. If you’ve forgotten how to create a Post (as it’s called in WordPress) then Using Your Website will remind you.
1. How to… and Tutorials
These provide helpful advice to your customers. They are factual and you can provide answers to questions your customers are asking.
People love lists. I’ve used this in my articles, such as 21 reasons to have a website and 7 ways to market your business. While there is a temptation to do a large list, try to keep them under 50 items as the points get weaker towards the end. Not only that, few people will read them all.
3. Resources or Link Lists
Is there something you could share with your customers that compliments your business? Then write about it, it might be something you use.
There’s nothing wrong with recommending something that you think your customers will like.
4. Cheat Sheets, Check Lists and To Dos
Provide valuable things your customers will use and you’ll be increasing your value. Perhaps it’s a check list for packing for a holiday – put your products/services in bold!
Have fun with this, and weave in your products 🙂
Review your products. Test them and then tell them what you like and what you don’t. People like honesty, they know not every product is perfect. If you’re upfront with them about the bits that aren’t great, they’ll be more likely to trust you.
Get others to review the products for you. What they liked and what they didn’t.
6. Controversial Posts
If something’s happening in your field that you don’t agree with then why not write a post about it? This is a brave stance to take but, if done well, can set you apart from your competition.
Provide a post with a video that supports what you’re selling is a great. This might be a video from the manufacturers or one you’ve created yourself.
Interview clients or those in your field (if you can). You can do this face to face, over the phone or by sending a set of questions out. It’s a great way to get testimonials from customers. Not only that you’ll discover what they think about your business.
9. Guest Posts
You don’t have to do all the writing! Why not ask your customers to write for you or reach out to the manufacturer and others in your field. Quite often manufacturers have articles you can reproduce on your website (remember to credit them).
10. Case Studies
Take a customer and follow what they do. Start with their problem, talk about what happened and detail the outcome. You could combine this with a video interview (or video of the customer using your product).
So, that’s a quick outline of the various types of articles you can write. The next question is
How to structure articles
They will all start with a headline. To help, I’ve created a ‘cheat sheet’ of headlines for you to download.
Why is the headline important?
It’s normally the headline that provides the text for search engines and social media. This means you want to write a good one to get people to click to your website.
Once you’ve written the headline, think about content.
Take the reader on a journey
You want to take the reader on a journey (don’t give away the answer in the first paragraph), but you don’t want to bore them. Make sure there’s a reason for them to read on.
Remember that people don’t read large paragraphs of text online. Keep your sentences short.
Use headings to break up the text
Headings mean that people who scan read can find what they want. They should tell the story, but again, not give away the answer.
Try to keep the language simple. I write everything using Hemingway. It pulls me up when I use adverbs, etc and grades my writing, so I know it’s easy-to-read
Writing at an easy-to-read level doesn’t mean you ‘dumb down’ the content. The idea is people to forget they are reading, not stop in wonder at your use of vocabulary.
Images tell the visual story
Don’t forget to include images that help tell the story. It’s a great way to showcase your products.
What is the ideal length?
There’s no right answer for this. I’ve read articles that have been over 5,000 words. I’ve also read short ones.
Aim for at least 500 words and try for more. But don’t pad it out, again, you want the customer to read the article not get bored.
Link to other articles
As you start to write articles, you’ll be able to link into others. The longer someone spends on your website, the better.
If there’s an article that seens to fit with what you’re writing, then link to it.
Call to Action
You may or may not want to put a call to action at the end of the article. My rule of thumb is, if it’s natural to do it, then add it in. If not, then leave it out.
But, do make sure you ask the customer to do something, even if it’s “if you enjoyed this article then you may like this one”.
Tell the customer what you’d like them to do next.
Don’t forget your free guide to headlines
Download your free guide to headlines and get started. If you have any questions, get stuck or would like me to have a look at what you’ve written, then get in touch.