- By Steve Dempster
- Published 03/24/2008
- Article Writing
As writers, we are constantly being told that writing articles to sell products is the key to internet success, with affiliate riches just around the next corner. If this is indeed the case, why not spend a little time learning how to write an article properly? Article writing had become an internet phenomenon – a favourite way of marketing for many internet marketers and affiliates. With every popular art form comes problems, however – and make no mistake, writing articles is an art form in itself. The problems for this particular internet marketing formula arose when people started jumping on the bandwagon and churning out the kind of rubbish I see pouring into my article directories in a dismally regular fashion. You may have seen them: short ‘articles’ of 300 words that don’t have the smallest crumb of information within them. Articles that are so obviously churned out by a piece of (generally substandard) software that they are laughable. Articles that are blatantly not written by the ‘author’ – and so on and so forth. So what makes a good article? Well, for one thing, an article should contain a beginning, a middle and an end – just like any other story. Because that’s what an article is – a story in miniature, just like a short story, a novelette or a blockbuster epic. The same basic rules of writing apply – and if you don’t have that skill (or worse still can’t be bothered to acquire it) – then chances are that you will NEVER, EVER write good quality articles. That’s a sobering thought. Yet the skills needed are easily learned and, with practice, writing articles will become second nature to you. You may never be another Stephen King or Clive Cussler – but by knowing how to write interesting, informative articles you will suddenly find that you stand head and shoulders above the vast, rolling sea of ‘article writers’ who can’t be bothered to learn how to write professionally.
Professionally? Why, yes – writing is a profession. Many people tend to think of only the big best-seller names as being professional writers but of course this isn’t true. Anyone wh
o writes anything with a view to profit could be called a professional writer but to be a real pro you must invest some time and effort into your chosen profession – or join the ranks of the couldn’t-care-less. So – an article must do several things but here are the most important: It must capture a publisher’s eye. This may be an ezine publisher or webmaster or – if you’re really good as well as lucky! – a paper-based publisher. If it fails to do this, you have wasted your time. It must capture and hold a reader. If a reader does not read your article right the way through to the resource box – where you get the chance to promote your goods or service – you have wasted your time. It must be long enough – but not too long. In practice, a minimum of 600 and a maximum of 1,000 words is ideal. Many article directories (the main target of article writers) have minimum word count requirements. Send one to my directory that’s under 600 words and it gets deleted automatically – no matter how good the writer thinks it is! Why? Because – frankly – an article under 600 words shows, to many editors, very little effort being put into the article and not a lot of commitment. It must NOT be an advertisment. The place to promote is in the resource box at the end. That’s not to say your article shouldn’t relate to your promotional item – it would be a foolish thing to write about hot air ballooning whilst trying to promote skindiving equipment (and yes I have seen instances very nearly as bad as that!). It must be original. Start copying other people’s work at your peril – you will soon find that there is suddenly no-one accepting your ‘work’ any more. The fact is that copied work is also poor work – unless copied word for word (and only a fool would do that!) the ‘rewriting’ degrades the original piece, leaving you with a poor shadow of a thing that no-one will enjoy reading anyway. Write your own material!
The one real way to learn how to write articles is to learn to write, period. Accept this, put in the time necessary and you will find – sooner than you think! – that your articles start to flow more easily, your work-rate steps a gear and – best of all – you can look at your finished piece with pride and say ‘I wrote that!’