Many of us have had to write an article at one time or another, be it for a blog or a newsletter. But no matter the purpose, it’s your responsibility to make it interesting—otherwise no one will read it. (Except you.)
So how can you make your article interesting and engage your reader?
It’s all about the ANGLE.
First pick your topic. For example, let’s say your topic is something many people would consider boring… “microwaves.” What aspect of microwaves do you want to write about? Is there anything new or sexy in the world of microwaves that people are interested in?
Some ideas: how the new generation of microwaves helps retain more nutrients more than ever, OR, an overview of the best five brands of microwaves on the market, OR what the best type of microwave for your particular diet and lifestyle. These are all angles.
Below, are seven article “formulas” to get you started on angle ideas and get your creative juices flowing. (Some elements of each may overlap with each other, but each formula is truly a distinct animal.)
1. The How-To
How-to articles lead the reader step-by-step through reaching an objective. They sometimes offer resources throughout that the reader can go to for more detailed information.
If you want to use this formula, think about what expertise you have to share and turn that subject into an interesting how-to for readers.
Examples: “How to Use Email to Double Your Revenues,” “How to Find the Best Dress for Your Figure,” and “How to Promote Your Business for Free.”
2. The List
This is one of the most basic formulas and the easiest to write. Give a short one or two paragraph intro, then launch right into your list. Keep each item to a few sentences max. People love numbers, so number your list and give your total number in the title. (You may have noticed that the article you’re reading right now is following the LIST format.)
Examples: “31 Ways to Organize Your Office,” “15 Tips for Pain-Free Feet,” “Five Reasons Management Won’t Be the Same in 2001″
3. The “Straw Man”
Here you set up a premise and knock it down, showing the benefits of your alternative view or approach. This is ideal to use when you’re discussing the drawbacks of a new practice or method that’s controversial right now.
Example: We often see on the covers of health magazines: “Are High Protein Diets the Key to Fast Weight Loss?” You get all excited, thinking you’ve discovered an amazing dieting revelation. But the article reveals, point by point, that high protein diets are unsafe for the long term, and that, of course, the only reliable way to lose weight is through diet and exercise.
4. The Mini Case Study
Raise a provocative question and then answer it with three or four real-life examples.
Example: For an article titled, “Should You Quit Your Job and Go Freelance?” you could begin with a few stats on how today’s workforce is leaving the corporate world in search of solo bliss. Then you could feature a few real cases, each with different outcomes to show all sides of the issue.
5. The Interview
Choose a credible expert to interview for your article. Present it in either a traditional article format or do a Q&A format.
Example: If your topic is the latest trends in banking, you could interview a top banking industry analyst.
6. The Trend
Trends aren’t just for fashion! Whenever a trend sweeps a certain profession, you’ll suddenly see dozens of articles covering the topic. From the latest hairstyle to the latest tax shelter, people want to know all about these trends—their origins, benefits, and drawbacks.
7. The Study Finding
These articles report the results of a study or survey. If you do a bit of research, you can probably dig up a recent study on which you can base your article.
Example: “Real Estate Back on the Upswing in Atlanta,” “Aquatic Frogs Now Deemed America’s Favorite Pet,” and “More 40-Somethings Finding Love Online.© Copyright 2011 Ali Brown