How to write awesome articles
(when you haven’t a clue what you’re writing about)

Want to write REALLY AWESOME articles when you haven’t a clue what to write about? Of course you do…  Help yourself to my article writing tips:

Love it or loathe it, article writing can be hard if you’re clueless about the topic.  It’s difficult to educate people on a product or service if you’ve never used it!  Yet article writing is an integral part of SEO and we all have to do it.

So, if you’re in the latter category and you loathe article writing, here are a few REALLY QUICK tips that will help you learn to love it:

Finding a topic to write about:Google Wonder Wheel for Article Writing

The Google Wonder Wheel:
Struggling to find a good topic for your article? Meet the Google Wonder Wheel.

(Never heard of it? This video explains all!)

Simply type your search term into the Wonder Wheel and click through the various topics.  Note down interesting topics, for example, if you’re keyword is ‘cake decorating’ and you saw the topic ‘basketball cake,’ it could prompt you to write several articles on cake decorating ideas for various sports.

Amazon’s Look Inside Feature:Amazon's look inside feature for article writing
Try searching through Amazon’s books.  Find a book with the ‘look inside’ facility and sneak a peak at the chapter breakdown.  Try researching one or more of the chapters for your article!

Forming a good title for your article:Google 'More' Q&A

Just like I mentioned before, using other people’s experiences can really help you write good copy.  It can help you form great titles for your articles too:

Question and Answer Websites:
Visit Google, type in your topic and then hit the ‘More’ button on the left.  Once the menu drops down, click ‘Discussions’ and then ‘Q&A’ (just like in the image on the right!)

You should now have access to hundreds of questions, which people have asked about your topic.  Go and answer all of those questions in your articles!
Ask Jeeves a question and on the right-hand side he’ll give you a whole selection of other questions too.  Often these make fantastic article titles!

Researching your article:

Now begins the hard part, right?  Wikipedia is obviously a first choice for many, but why regurgitate the same content that hundreds of other webmasters have paraphrased too?

Instead, write something useful by searching for new content in the following places:

  • Google books: Flick through the books in Google’s index to find great material to write about.
  • Google scholar: Find great articles, legal documents and patents from a search.   Dig into this material for interesting facts or points of view to write about!
  • Your local library: If you have the time, go and explore books that your competitors are too lazy to go and find!

Writing your article:Writing your article

Ah, now the even harder part.

Don’t even think about writing your article until you’ve drafted a structure.

Throw a couple of headings down on a piece of paper and work out where all your research fits into these headings.  I like to scribble my research onto paper and then cross them off my notepad as I type up my article.  It’s very satisfying!

Finally, if you’d like to write your article quicker, try this article from Copyblogger: How to write an article in 20 minutes. Enjoy!!!

I hope these quick tips have helped you, let me know in the comments!  And, if you have any tips to share just let me know!

Copywriting S.O.S – does your copy need rescuing?

Use these tips to rescue your web copy once it’s all gone wrong… This article will teach you a couple of methods to fix up what you’ve written:

It’s getting late: you’re on your ninth cup of tea, you’ve read your entire Facebook wall AND you’ve already paced the room three times in the last half hour.

You should have written a good piece of copy by now, but you haven’t.

Copywriting SOSDo you know what you need? You need rescuing.

Or rather, your copy does.

So, here four simple tips that will help you; they’ve helped me out loads over the last couple of years. They’re quick to master and simple to implement, so it wont be long before your copywriting nightmare turns into a copywriting dream!

Most importantly, these tips will help you write better, engage your readers and meet your deadlines.

Tip: I use these four different tips to help me write articles for SEO, copy for websites and press releases. I hope they’ll help you too, whatever copy you’re writing!

So, let’s get started:

1. Make a quick plan:

You’ll be surprised how much a plan will help you retrieve your focus. After all, how can you write if you don’t know WHAT to write about?

Scribble down several headings and decide what you need to talk about in each paragraph. You don’t need to write more than a couple of words for each point, just write out a very general outline.

Next, reorder your copy to fit with your plan. If appropriate, chop and change around different paragraphs, but most importantly, MAKE SURE IT ALL FLOWS!

Struggling to get finished? Your new plan will help you write the rest of your copy too.

2. Have you made your point yet?

What’s your point? The copy you’re writing must have a point. To inform? To teach? To sell?

Sometimes you can carry on writing blindly because you think the article isn’t finished yet, but all that’s really missing is your main point.

So, what is your point and have you made it yet?

If you haven’t made it yet, now’s the time to figure out what it is and state it. State it early on in your copy and reiterate it near the end to reinforce the point to your readers.

3. Simplify complicated paragraphs:

If you’re reading a paragraph and it just *doesn’t* sound right, it’s probably full of long winded sentences and poor grammar. So, strip it back and start again. Readers will easily digest concise writing, so by keeping your writing simple you’ll keep your reader’s attention for longer.  (Which means they’re more likely to do what you need them to do: buy, click or share!)

Copywriting plan

Follow these quick tips to keep your copy concise:

  • Only make one point per sentence
  • Use short, to-the-point sentences
  • Don’t over-complicate sentences with long-winded jargon and technical words
  • Avoid writing in the ‘passive voice.’
  • Take out extra words where possible

I can’t claim credit for these points, any good copy writing book will tell you to follow these basic rules.

But how often do we apply them?

Rarely, right? But they do make all the difference to your writing! After spending ten minutes rewriting a sentence to no avail, you’ll be surprised how quickly you can correct the troublesome wording by applying these rules.

Bonus: Soon, you’ll find yourself applying these tips automatically!

4. Think you’ve finished writing?

Nearly finished, but not sure if it’s good enough yet? Unsure why it’s ‘not quite there‘?

Go and put the kettle on, make your tenth cup of tea and take a breather. Use your ‘fresh eyes’ and give your copy a final read through.

Finished copywriting?

Edit anything that doesn’t sound right and then stop again.  Then read through your work one final time (after your 11th cup of tea!)

It’s really important to check your copy through all in one go after spending all day stopping and starting writing.

And that’s it!

Regularly, stop, breathe and apply these four tips to your writing when you’re struggling to get finished.

I hope they help you like they help me, and feel free to include more tips in the comments section if you have any to share!

Img credits: [SOS] – [Laptop] – [Done]