Put your thoughts on paper in a formatted way and you get an article. It definitely sounds so easy. But when one is asked to do so, a number of issues seem to appear out of nowhere. To deal with this, a step by step procedure of article writing needs to be kept handy. Articles are useful for voicing one’s opinion out to the world. Through an article, one’s beliefs also get penned. It is necessary to know the nukes and crannies of article writing and the format to follow to come up with a perfect copy.
Any long-form content that is written on a particular topic and published in print or electronic medium is termed as an article. They can be of many types. Articles can be written for propagating news. One may publish one’s research results in the form of an article. Debates, academic analysis, pieces in magazine or website content- all fall under the broad category of articles. Some articles require a formal tone and serious approach while some do not call for so much seriousness. The language of the article differs accordingly too. Having said that, if there is any single thing that determines the tonality of an article that is the ‘target audience’- its geographical location, socio-economic status and overall psyche.
No matter what type of article one may attempt to write, the basic objectives always remain the same. These are:
To Inform. To Persuade. To Remind
The article must agree with the topic or headline or main theme throughout the content.
It must provide adequate information about the central idea so that the readers find it useful, that is, it must educate the audience it is written for.
Articles provide advice on relevant topics and give suggestions also which the readers will find helpful.
Articles have a strong influence on the readers and often create thinking compulsion among them. So, the content generated by businesses and brands for marketing communication should be able to influence the buying decision of their potential customers.
Life-stories, practical issues, ways to counter them, development in the various sectors, personal experience all can be the content of an article for discussion.
Format of an article is the first thing that grabs the attention of the readers. Though not watertight, the basic format of articles remains somewhat similar. It is like this:
Title or Heading
The main part of the article in 2-3 paragraphs (or as per the word count). Appropriate subheadings before some paragraphs help to break the monotony in a long article.
Conclusion with the recommendation or suggestions of the writer, often putting forward an appeal too.
1. Topic Choice
The first step is to select the topic on which the article will be written. In most cases the articles are aforementioned. If not, then the choice of topic is crucial as this has to be something that readily attracts a reader.
2. Audience selection
Not all articles are for everybody. The topic one chooses will determine who the target audience will be. For a research paper, the audience is students or scholars working in the similar field while a newspaper article is for the common people.
3. Purpose Identification
The objectives of the article must be identified in the next step. Or else, the content will be like a rudderless ship. Once the aim of the article writing is sorted, one can proceed to the next step. Throughout the content, the main aim should be met.
4. Information Collection or Research
Before starting to write one must browse through resources available and collect all the information he/she can get relevant to the article. After this, the information needs to be selected too for putting in all information will make the article bulky and monotonous.
One should make a mental note of how the article will be organised throughout. This includes setting the information in a proper manner so that the article looks neat and informative at the same time without putting an additional burden of statistical representations.
Now comes the final and the crucial step. The content demands one’s grip on the language and grammar both. It puts one’s vocabulary stock to test too. The introduction part must be short, easy-to-read yet catchy so that the reader continues to read further. The information is to be put in an organised manner so that the reader is not lost halfway through it.
A spelling mistake here and a grammatical error there can be real turn-offs for serious readers. So, after writing an article, the copy must be checked thoroughly for any unintentional errors. Proper editing can even improve the quality of an article manifold.
Using too many facts or no facts at all- both are not right.
Using too formal language with difficult vocabulary reduces readability.
Using long paragraphs instead of short ones.
Forcing personal opinion onto the readers and making the writer himself present in the article.
Choosing a relevant topic and giving a catchy heading is a must.
The introduction decides whether the writer is successful in holding the interest of the reader or not. So, it must be written with a fresh flavour in it every time.
The writer mustn’t try to please everyone. She must know her target audience well and write an article that resonates almost perfectly with that section of readers only.
The flow of language should be easy.
Diverting from the central theme is a strict no-no.
Clear writing with interesting twists and turns.
Using paragraphs more often. No paragraph should be ideally more than 150-words long.
Connecting sentences must be written carefully.
Repetition of the same information or idea in the article or the same words in one sentence. should be strictly avoided.
The conclusion should be in alignment with the introduction and the whole work.
Writing articles is a creative work and demands penmanship of the writer. Relevant content with proper use of language, punctuation and grammar is not enough to grab attention. Incorporating quotes, arranging the whole content in a structured manner, and citing examples and data, etc are also an indispensable part of an article. Following all these tips makes an article worth reading.