If you’re here, then you’re probably a consumer of top-shelf writing and media. Maybe, just maybe, you’re an aspiring freelancer who wants to get into the article writing game. While articles and blog posts don’t all follow the same rules, there are some structures and templates that can make the process much less laborious. If you’re interested in learning how to write, or just curious, you’ve found the right blog post.
Article writing is one of those things that we don’t normally give a lot of thought to. Even those of us who avidly hop from read to read don’t normally stop at every sentence and think “How’d he do that?” or “Nice research there, Linda!” But, if we stand up and take notice, we can actually learn something about the structure, flow, and order of a good article.
At Bunny Studio, we even have our very own content library, where we publish over 100 monthly articles. We cover any and all topics related to freelancing and high-quality remote work opportunities. How do we manage a high-turnaround, high-demand environment where topics change by the minute? Moreover, how do we do it with a multi-ethnic, multicultural, distributed team of freelancers?
Easy: we’ve gotten this stuff down to as exact a science as can be. While there’s room for variety and individual choice, we follow some common-sense rules that make life easier. If you’ve ever thought about writing an article but the process seems too daunting, don’t worry. We’ve all been there, and I’m here to help!
So, what’s this all about? Let’s start with the easiest concepts and work our way up slowly. An article, as you probably know, is a general interest piece written for a wide audience. They — and also blog posts, which follow a similar structure — are meant for the prime-time. Usually, brands, companies, or publishing houses put them up-front-and-center. They’re meant to be a way to communicate concepts, ideas, or opinions to a general or specialized audience.
Toppr.com suggests that article writing has the following objectives:
- It brings out the topics or the matter of interest in the limelight
- The article provides information on the topics
- It offers suggestions and pieces of advice
- It influences the readers and urges them to think
- The article discusses various stories, persons, locations, rising-issues, and technical developments
Finding Your Audience
Now we’ve established the “what” of article writing, we need to understand the “who.” Your writing can be fluid, vibrant, and poignant, but it won’t do you much good if you don’t know your audience. Knowing who you’re writing for is half the battle won. It helps establish the vital moving parts of an article, such as:
- Topic — the all-important matter you’ll be discussing, expounding on, and, hopefully, making interesting.
- Tone — are you writing for a hyper-specialized mag targeting academia? Maybe blue-collar workers in the Appalachians? Middle-class Texans? The right tone helps you connect; the wrong tone alienates.
- Intent — what is the final goal of the article? If you gauge it correctly, the article’s a success. If not, then it doesn’t matter if you’ve written a Pulitzer-worthy essay.
Have you ever see the popular meme that’s been making the rounds all over the internet? Regardless of where you’ve been, you’ve probably stumbled across a comment that follows this structure:
“I’ve been thinking really hard about the nature of the universe. Sometimes I’ve wondered whether all of existence is just consciousness experiencing itself through the illusion of separation. Maybe psychedelic and contemplative experiences are just a gateway into the way things truly are.”
“Sir, this is an Arby’s. Can I take your order, please?”
This is a funny way to think about the topic, tone, and intent. You can write the most searing political exposé since Watergate, but what good will it do you if you’re writing it for a cooking magazine? Even more so, who cares if you’re the next Yeats if your employer just wanted you to write a piece about re-potting Bonsai trees?
Some Notes on Tone
Now, this is not the be-all-end-all on tone. There are plenty of exceptions to this rule but, more often than not, you’ll have to write in simple language that’s easy to understand. The reason is that you want to reach the biggest amount of people possible. Now, this often leads to pseudo axioms that aren’t necessarily true. Stuff like “write so a third-grader can understand you” is well-meaning, but it tends to underestimate the reader.
As a rule of thumb, write in a simple way that’s easy to follow. But, always try to give the readers their due; while no one wants to see you writing baroque, flowery prose, it’s OK to have style and to let it show from time to time. The more proficient you get at article writing, the more you’ll know when to underwrite, when to play to the gallery, and when to go for broke.
Article Writing – Research
Now, another crucial part before you even start writing an article is research. This is especially relevant with general interest articles. Often — very often — you’ll find yourself outside your area of immediate expertise. How are you supposed to write something engaging, interesting, and even fun to read if you’ve got absolutely no idea about, say, totem poles?
The solution is something you should brand into your mind as quickly as possible. Article writing is about learning as much as it is about writing. You’ll have to perform constant research and become god-tier at finding reliable sources. Even more so, you’ll have to indiscriminately weed out the bad ones. Learning how to compare, collate, and contrast information is as vital a skill as having a good vocabulary and impeccable grammar.
The internet, especially, is rife with bad information, bad articles, and just plain bad sources. Learning how to separate the wheat from the chaff is just the first of many things you’ll need to do. Is there anything like a process when it comes to research? Here’s what we typically do.
- You’ll have to become extremely familiar with search engines. If you’ve got specialized, high-quality sources (like PubMed for clinical studies), all the better.
- Read a few articles on the topic you want to cover. Always make sure your sources have credibility. Sometimes it’s hard to gain consensus, or it hasn’t been reached yet. If you’re writing about a controversial topic, it’s OK to include caveats.
- Compare the information, and extract the parts you think are the most pertinent for your own article.
- Don’t copy, write as a way to inform the reader, but also to broaden your understanding. Write in your own words.
- Don’t flood the reader with quotes, but it’s OK to include them from time to time.
Article Writing – Structure and Format
Here’s another golden rule that we follow here. We try to keep articles short and to the point, with well-defined headings that cover relevant topics and don’t overwhelm the reader. We’ve found that there are ways to write that maximize engagement; again, these are not set in stone, but great rules of thumb if you’re into general interest article writing. Make of them what you will but bear in mind that we’ve got over 1000+ articles attesting to its success. If you’re just starting out, or interested in trying them on for size, be our guest.
- Draw the reader in with a short introductory paragraph that involves the main topic of the article. Don’t go on and on, or you’ll risk losing their interest.
- Use subheadings to divide your articles into sections. H1 is typically a title, H2 is for important topics, and the rest can be used for sub-topics.
- Don’t go on forever without using a sub-heading! While we typically stick to the 300-word rule, you can follow your own. The thing to remember is to try to have text into more-or-less equal chunks. It’s all about symmetry, but also about giving each part its time to shine. Regardless, setting a limit to allow your sections from being overlong is a good idea.
- Writing in an introduction, body, and conclusion structure is usually good form. Sure, some articles may give you more leeway to experiment, but generally, it’s a good idea to stick to methods with a proving track record. No one wants to watch Memento when they’re learning about cryptocurrency. That stuff’s complicated enough as is.
You should also keep spacing, font, and paragraphs in mind at all times. Please, oh please, don’t be one of those people that writes like this:
Audiovisual media is all about clarity.
But, did you know that videographers didn’t always think about it this way?
That’s right, one of the most sacred cows of media was once a niche idea, spoken about in hushed tones.
Write in paragraphs. Go easy on the enter button; you’re not writing for one of those “diet miracle” infomercial sites. And we all don’t have to write in the same font, but keep it simple and elegant. Don’t go too “out there” with your choices, or you’ll risk drawing more attention to the font than your writing.
Yes, it’s time to get to scribbling and putting everything you’ve learned about article writing to good use. This is when these golden rules will apply:
Hopefully, you’ve gained some insights that will help you defeat the curse of the blank page. While article writing may seem like a tall order, it’s just about practice and determination. If you follow these ground rules, you’ll find it much easier to establish your own flow and style. Once you’ve gotten enough practice, you’ll be amazed at how much you can write in a day, and how many complex topics you can understand — and thus write about.