Once you’ve fleshed out your initial ideas and completed your research for your article, then your next step is to begin the writing phase of your article from outline. Fortunately, this is going to be fairly easy if you invested some time into the planning stage previously.
Here’s how to do it…
Finalize Your Bullet Points
At this point, you have three to five topics of interest you want to share with your audience, you know which key takeaways you want to include, and you know the overall structure and order you want to present this information.
If you haven’t already done so, take this information and arrange it into an outline. You can then make your final decisions about what information to keep, what to exclude, and which points are going to need more information.
Once you’ve finalized your outline, then copy it into the document you intend to use to create your article. In other words, don’t have two documents open: one document with the outline, and the other document that will become your article.
The reason for only having one document is because then you’re not staring at a blank page, struggling to figure out how to craft your article. Instead, you’re looking at a nice framework of the points you want to include, so all you have to do is start fleshing out those bullet points.
Which brings us to the next point…
Flesh Out Your Bullet Points
At this point, your outline has all these ideas that you want to include in your content. You can now flesh out these bits of information until your article begins to take shape. This includes:
- Turning bullet points into full sentences and full paragraphs.
- Crafting transitions between your main points.
- Writing an introduction that builds anticipation for what’s in the article.
- Creating a conclusion that recaps the main points.
- Inserting tips, examples, stories and similar information to help clarify complex concepts.
You may be tempted to do your editing as you write, but try to avoid this. Writing and editing require different ways of thinking, so you’re actually going to dampen your creativity and your productivity if you try to do them at the same time. Write first, and then you can worry about proofing and polishing it during the Quality Control phase.
Title Your Article from Outline
Once you’ve completed the draft of your article, then your next step is to title it,
At this point, plenty of people think up a title and attach it to the piece without giving it a second thought. What you should be doing instead is taking time to brainstorm several titles that help you showcase the main benefits of the content.
The key here is to be sure your title targets a narrowly focused audience. In other words, make this title unappealing to people who are NOT part of your target market. Meanwhile, those who are part of your market should feel like the title speaks directly to them.
For example: “How to Train a Dog” is a bit bland and very broad.
Question is, what kind of dog? What kind of training?
So, let’s be more specific: “How to Turn Your Unruly Golden Retriever into a Perfect Houseguest Who Sits, Stays and Comes on Command.”
Is that title going to appeal to someone who has a poodle? Nope.
Is that title going to appeal to someone who’s looking for housetraining information? Nope.
And that’s the point: you want to zero in on your ideal reader and craft a title that is going to appeal to them, while repelling those who aren’t part of the target market.
Now a few parting thoughts…
If you invested some time in planning your content, then outlining it, fleshing it out, and turning it into an article actually turns out to be a fairly quick and easy process.