- Books, Literature, and Writing
How to Write a Highly Engaging Article: 8 Tips
For those of us who love to write, being a writer can be both exciting and exhausting.
Converting our thoughts into words is not always easy. Often it's extremely hard. And there's nothing more discouraging for a writer than to read your own work and realize it doesn't convey your intended message.
Here are eight tips that have greatly helped me write highly engaging articles while also helping me avoid a lot of unnecessary discouragement and stress in the process:
1. Write About Topics You're Passionate About
If you're passionate about your topic, your passion will come across to your readers and they'll be engaged in your writing. Moreover, if a topic is interesting to you, it's likely to be interesting to many other people!
Sometimes we think nobody out there will want to read what we really want to write about. We hesitate to expose ourselves that way. That is a big mistake.
If an issue or subject is important to you, more than likely it's important to hundreds of thousands of people out there. Your writing may serve to encourage others who share your passions and interests and are looking for like-minded people like you to validate their thoughts and points of view on an endless array of topics.
So even if you don’t think anybody out there is interested in what you have to say, go for it! You may be surprised by how many people may appreciate your writing as well as your courage to publish it.
If you're writing for sheer pleasure, write about anything and everything that interests you. If you have several areas of interest (most of us do), write articles on your various interests and see which ones generate more page view – then stick to writing articles on these subjects.
Do you hesitate to write about what you really want to write about?
2. Write About Your Areas of Specialty
A writer who's knowledgeable about his topic is clearly more credible to his readers and has more to offer them, which means they'll want to keep coming back to read more of his posts.
So write about your areas of specialty.
If you're a bicycle enthusiast, write about how a high-tech gadget has revolutionized your riding experience. If you're a teacher, write about a lesson plan that worked wonders with your students.
On the other hand, you don’t have to be an absolute expert on the topic you write about. Nobody knows everything on any given subject (although some people think they do). If you claim to know everything on your topic, you'll come across as arrogant, which will make you very unpopular.
There's a difference between confidence and arrogance. Confidence gives you credibility; arrogance turns people off. Make sure your confidence is based on knowledge.
If there are aspects of your topic you're still exploring or learning about, let your readers know this. They'll appreciate your transparency and it will add to your credibility.
And regardless of whether or not you consider yourself a specialist in your subject, keep learning. Find out what people are struggling with or wanting to know more about in relation to your subject matter.
Addressing these issues in your articles will enable you to reach more people.
3. Choose Your Title Wisely
In a sense, your article is only as good as your title because the title is what engages the readers' attention just enough to make them want to click on it to read your post!
Do your article justice by creating a title that grabs readers' attention and still accurately reflects the content of your post.
Keep in mind that readers are busy like the rest of us and may only spend seconds browsing post titles, so try to lure them with a title that stands out among the others!
4. Connect With Your Audience
Part of connecting with your audience is humanizing your article. One way you can do this is by making a personal connection between yourself and your post so that it gives readers something to relate to in their own lives.
For example, if you're writing about successful dog training techniques based on your own experiences training your dog, make sure you indicate this at the beginning of your article.
Put yourself in your reader's shoes. If you were looking for advice on dog training, would you listen to somebody who has never implemented these methods or to someone who has experienced success using these approaches with their own dog?
5. Present Yourself as an Expert
Another way to connect with your audience is to present yourself as an expert in your field.
For example, if you're a millionaire writing about investment tips, let your readers know your financial status in advance and how the tips you're sharing got you to where you are today.
Again, put yourself in the place of your readers. You would be more likely to listen to financial advice from a self-made millionaire, right?
Consider how much background knowledge your readers have on any topic you write about.
If you're writing on a more advanced or in-depth subject, you may want to include links (perhaps of previous work you've written) to provide them with the foundation they need in order to better understand your current post.
Don’t assume readers know what you know; give them the tools they need to make the most of your article.
6. Write Regularly
Writing is a discipline. Like any other activity, you need to practice and stick with it to get better.
The amount of time you're able to devote to writing will largely depend on your other obligations, but the main thing is to set aside time to write regularly.
If you can, choose the time of day when you're generally more inspired to write, such as early morning or late evening.
While we can’t force or create the inspiration to write, we can encourage inspiration by playing music that moves us, or by writing in a location that stirs our creativity and helps us focus on our thoughts and ideas.
Don’t be afraid to walk away from your computer when your mind shuts down. This can actually help you.
Listen to your mind and body, take breaks, and resume your writing when you’re ready.
In the long run, a change in environment or scenery can improve your focus and energize you to create a better finished product.
7. Focus on Quality
The quality of an article is largely based on the following: substance, organization, grammar and mechanics.
Always proofread your article before submitting it. Electronic grammar and spell check tools are very helpful, but keep in mind that they don't pick up on all grammar and spelling errors.
Read your article several times before submitting it. Share it with a family member or friend and ask them for feedback.
Utilize online thesaurus tools to add zest to your writing!
8. Keep at It but Be Realistic
If you persevere with writing, you're likely to improve your writing skills and draw more people to your posts. This may take time.
Be patient with yourself and celebrate each time one of your articles is published!
On the other hand, you may discover that writing is not for you.
If the frustration you experience in writing is greater than any amount of joy it brings you, perhaps you should consider another activity that is more rewarding.
Either way, you’ll never know until you try.
An Inspirational Message for Writers — Ira Glass
© 2015 Geri McClymont