How to Write a High Quality Article: A Proven 7-Phase Process

“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” ~

Stephen King, Critically acclaimed American Author

Since the invention of the internet, the article has been the best communication medium for the expression of ideas. An article is a written piece of content that provides valuable information in a structured format. High-quality articles contain four key criteria.

  • Engaging: The reader understands the article’s purpose and information presented
  • Verifiable: The reader trusts the facts and can independently test and prove them
  • Concise: The article stays on topic and doesn’t include any unnecessary details
  • Motivational: The article inspires the reader to perform specific actions based on its purpose

Articles accomplish these feats by developing ideas. Ideas are the building blocks of content. When properly developed: they engage the reader, keep them interested, and motivate them into action. With some practice and advice, you can motivate a reader to do anything.

You need two primary skills to develop ideas: analysis and creativity. With analysis, you make observations about an idea, it allows you to give ideas value. Primary questions involved are…

  • How does this work?
  • How can it be useful to me?
  • How can it be useful to others?

With creativity you can utilize ideas or weave different ideas together, it allows you to give ideas function. An example would include an author who uses a literary device called a flashback to give us more context about what’s currently happening in the story. Or you can use an anecdote to build a personal connection with the reader by bringing up a situation that happens to everyone.

Identification Phase

“ A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” 

— Lao Tzu.

It all begins with a single word or phrase. The thought that will compose the topic that will evolve through your article. If you focus on something too broad you may get overwhelmed and not know where to start. If you choose something too narrow, you are going to exponentially increase the amount of research that you will have to perform to flesh out your ideas. Choose wisely. Something that instantly makes you focus and keeps your attention. Something, that springs in your mind and gives you direction.

Next, identify the target audience. Who are you writing for? Are you looking to inform, entertain, or persuade them? identifying the goal will help you set the tone of your writing, how the text makes your reader feel. If you are writing to entertain for example, you might include jokes or weird situations. If you are writing to inform you’d include evidence and facts.

Ideation Phase

What are you talking about? Before you can explore the unknown you have to create a foundation with what you already know. Identify the central idea that will compose the core of your article with a simple definition. Ask yourself, what is the main point you want to make in your article? Is it a description? A recipe? A critique? It can be something you’ve been planning to write, or it can be a trending topic. You can use online tools like Google Trends to identify ideas people are interested in.

Example

Let’s say I wanted to write about my favorite meal plan or cooking recipe. I’d start with an analysis about the features of the food and the process to making it. The first question I would ask, what makes this my favorite meal?

  • Is it that it’s easy to make?
  • Is it the fact that it makes my mouth water?
  • Is it the fact that it’s relatively inexpensive?

There are other components to a recipe I’d explore. Like the ingredients, preparation method, nutritional value, timing, and variations. Once I’ve gathered that information, I’d create a document to contain the list of facts.

Research Phase

Once you’ve finished brainstorming, it’s time to start researching. Your goal is to find evidence to support your statements and ideas. This means finding reliable sources that can back up your claims. To start your research, you need to have a clear question in mind. What do you want to learn about? What are you trying to prove? Once you know what you’re looking for, you can start to investigate different sources. There are many different types of sources you can use for research. Books, articles, websites, and even interviews can all be valuable sources of information. When choosing sources, it’s important to make sure they are reliable.

Primary Sources: Analyze The Competition

You can draw inspiration from competing articles to discover information you should include. Be sure not to plagiarize however. Simply observe the facts they’ve decided to include in their article and determine if they’re something you want to add.

Visual Content: What type of charts, graphs, brands, color palettes, and themes did they utilize.

Written Content: What type of quotes, meanings, or other types of text did they use?

Secondary Sources: Credible Organizations

After you’ve done an analysis of the competition, it’s time to investigate all the information they’ve left out. It’s important to identify sources that are not only relevant but trusted. They can be experts within the field. They can be peer-reviewed journals and government websites. What ever the source, just make sure that you will be able to independently verify the information. That means that you can test the information and make sure that it’s true. This is why peer reviewed sources are often the best source.

Utilizing the Sources

Once you’ve found some reliable sources, you can start to gather information. Be sure to take notes so you can keep track of your sources and the information you’ve found. As you’re researching, keep your readers in mind. What information will be most useful to them? How can you present the information in a way that is clear and easy to understand? By following these tips, you can conduct effective research and find the evidence you need to support your claims.

Outline Phase

The biggest mistake most writer’s make is that they skip an outline. An outline provides structure and ensures that your writing flows well. A well-developed article generally has four sections: headline, introduction, body, and conclusion. Spend time to master these four sections and you will make it far easier to write articles in the future. It also increases the time your reader will spend on the page.

Headline: Your headline is the most important element of the article. Its the lure that will entice people to explore what you’ve written. A good headline communicates your article topic, target reader, and the value it provides.

Headline Guidelines

  • Include popular keywords in your headline. Use around 10 words or 50 characters.
  • Write for people not for search engines. That means making sure your vocabulary matches your target audience. If you are writing to scientists, you use technical terms. If you are writing to casual readers, you use simple words they can understand.
  • Don’t click-bait. Just because you get more clicks doesn’t mean you’ll get any conversions. It will also hurt your content long-term as those readers will mistrust your future content.
  • Use simple adjectives for general content, and use advanced adjectives for specialized content

Introduction: Once you’ve lured a reader, your introduction should keep them interested in what you have to say. This is your chance to give a small summary of what the reader can expect to find in this article.

Introduction Guidelines

  • Don’t repeat the headline. You’ve already lured your reader, now it’s time to hook them in.
  • Keep the introduction between 3 – 5 sentences. Focus on the topic background.

Body Paragraphs: These are the meat of your article. Each body should contain a sub-idea supported by a set of supporting facts and information. More importantly, they need to be in a logical sequential order. When outlining body paragraphs create a bullet point for your statement, then sub bullet points for the facts.

Body Guidelines

  • Focus on one idea per body paragraph. An idea that you can’t break down without evidence.
  • Make sure the information is from an authoritative source such as an academic institution, government website, or independent news organization.
  • Even when information taken from an authoritative source needs to be cross-referenced with other authoritative sources to ensure no bias or miscommunication. Fact check the fact checkers.

Example

Topic: Volleyball

First Body Paragraph: Establishes volleyball history. Explains who created volleyball, why they created it, and how they determined rules.

Second Body Paragraph: Explains the growth of volleyball, how it became more popular and known, and how the rules evolved to solve problems.

Third Body Paragraph: Explains the effects of volleyball. Its cultural impact, opportunities it has opened for athletes, and current revenue.


Conclusion: The conclusion is the most important part of an article because it summarizes the main points and leaves the reader with something to think about. It can also be used to motivate the reader to take action or to learn more about the topic.

Conclusion Guidelines

  1. Recap the main points. This is essential for ensuring that the reader remembers the key takeaways from your article. You can do this by briefly summarizing the main points of your argument or by highlighting the most important evidence you presented.
  2. Motivate the reader to take action. This could involve calling on the reader to make a change in their own life, to learn more about the topic, or to support a cause. If you have a clear call to action, the reader is more likely to remember your article and take action after they finish reading it.
  3. Introduce new topics. If you didn’t have time to cover everything in your article, you can use the conclusion to introduce new topics that the reader might be interested in learning more about. This is a great way to keep the reader engaged and to encourage them to come back for more.

No matter how you choose to use it, the conclusion is an important part of any article. By taking the time to write a strong conclusion, you can ensure that your article leaves a lasting impression on the reader.

Drafting Phase

“Ideas are easy. It’s the execution of ideas that really separates the sheep from the goats.”

Sue Grafton

Introduction

The first 10 seconds are crucial. That’s how long it takes for a reader to decide whether or not they’re going to read your article. In that short amount of time, you need to grab their attention and convince them that your article is worth their time. One way to do this is to use a strong introductory sentence, known as a “hook.” A hook is a sentence that is designed to capture the reader’s attention and make them want to read more. There are many different types of hooks, but some of the most popular include:

  • Anecdote: A short story that relates to the topic. People love stories, and this can be a great way to give some context to what you’re about to write.
  • Statistic: A piece of data from a study or other reliable source of information. This is a great way to begin an informational piece meant for people looking to understand how something works.
  • Quote: The exact words of a respected entity. This establishes trust with the reader and shows that you’re well-informed.
  • Question: If you can land the exact question going through your reader’s mind, they are guaranteed to be interested.

Once you’ve decided on your hook, it’s time to build the rest of your introduction. Begin with a brief 2-sentence summary about why the idea you’re about to write about is important. This will give the reader a reason to keep reading. Next, you need to provide more context for your hook. This could involve explaining the background of the topic, defining terms, or providing some background information.

Create a Thesis Statement

Finally, you need to state your thesis statement. This is the main point of your article, and it should be clear and concise. It should be a sentence that summarizes the main argument of your article and tells the reader what they can expect to learn from reading it. By following these tips, you can write an introduction that will grab the reader’s attention and keep them reading.

Thesis Statement Examples

Exercise is essential for good health and well-being. – States a direct fact

The death penalty is not an effective deterrent to crime. – Makes an argument

The rise of social media has led to a decline in face-to-face interactions. – Shows cause/effect

Body

Once you have identified the main idea you want to develop, you need to establish its relevance to your thesis or argument. This means explaining how the main idea is important and how it supports your overall point.

Establish the Main Idea

  • Start by explaining the context of your main idea. What is the situation that led to it? What are the circumstances that surround it?
  • Explain how your main idea supports your thesis or argument. Why is it important to your overall point? How does it help you to make your case?
  • Use specific examples to illustrate your main idea. This will help the reader to understand why it is important and how it applies to the real world.

Once you have established the relevance of your main idea, you can begin to discuss the situation. This means providing context for your main idea and explaining the circumstances that led to it. You should also describe any observations you have made about the situation.

Discuss the Situation

  • Be as specific as possible. The more specific you are, the easier it will be for the reader to understand your point.
  • Use evidence to support your claims. This could include quotes from experts, statistics, or personal observations.
  • Be clear and concise. The reader should be able to follow your argument easily.

After you have discussed the situation, you can make an argument to demonstrate the value of the idea. This means explaining why the main idea is important and how it can benefit the reader. You should also address any potential objections to your argument and explain why they are not valid.

Make an Argument

  • Start by stating your argument clearly. What is your main point? What are you trying to prove?
  • Support your argument with evidence. This could include quotes from experts, statistics, or personal observations.
  • Address any potential objections to your argument. Why is your argument valid? How do you respond to people who might disagree with you?

Finally, you can demonstrate to the reader how they can use the information you have provided to solve their problems. This means explaining how the main idea can be applied to real-world situations. You should also provide specific examples of how the main idea has been used to solve problems in the past.

Demonstrate the Problem Solving Process

  • Be specific. The reader should be able to see how the information can be used to solve their own problems.
  • Use real-world examples. This will help the reader to understand how the information can be applied to their own lives.
  • Be clear and concise. The reader should be able to understand how they can use the information to solve their problems.

Conclusion

In your conclusion, you should summarize the main points of your article and reiterate your thesis statement. You should also highlight the most important information that you have presented, such as statistics and facts that support your main idea. This will help to ensure that your reader remembers the key points of your article. When you are summarizing your article, you should focus on the information that is most valuable to the reader. This could include information that is new to them, information that they can use to solve a problem, or information that makes them think differently about a topic.

The last sentence of your conclusion should be your call-to-action. It’s a command you give to your readers to encourage your desired action. Do you want them to click on a link? Do you want them to reach out to you? Do you want them to share your website on social media? Then say so! You’ve provided the value, not get them moving.

Common Examples

  • “Click here to learn more.”
  • “Share this article on social media.”
  • “Contact me today to discuss your needs.”

Revision Phase

Successful content is revised to perfection. By following these steps, you can ensure that your content is as polished and professional as possible. This will help you build trust with your readers and increase your chances of success.

Perform a fact check: It’s easy to misremember your facts during the writing process. You want to ensure that the information you’ve presented is accurate to build trust with the reader. Check your quotes and citations, make sure any dates are correct and go over your sources one last time. First impressions can be last impressions over one simple mistake.

Read aloud: Pay attention to the tone, rhythm, sentence length, and arguments of the article. Does it stay on topic? Does it give readers time to absorb the information? Are some parts difficult to pronounce? Are there any redundant sentences? Are there any expressions that your readers might not understand and need to be explained?

Proofread the article: Proper spelling and grammar demonstrate that you’ve put effort into your writing and care about the reader. If you aren’t confident in your proofreading abilities, it doesn’t hurt to hire a professional. If you are on a budget you can also use a service such as ProWritingAid to assist you.

Peer review: Before publishing your article to a wider audience, make sure you test it on a smaller group. This group should represent your ideal target reader. Gather feedback to see if they understood the message, enjoyed reading it, and wanted to read more.

Distribution Phase

Once you’ve completed the article it’s time to distribute it. You can have the best content in the world, but there is no point if there is nobody there to read it. Distribute it on social media in communities that will allow it. Focus on the Search Engine Optimization to make it easier to find.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long should an Article be?

An article should be as long as it needs to fully develop the idea you are talking about. However, generally search engines prefer articles that are over 2000 words. Google is becoming more and more competitive.

How long does it take to write an article?

A good article should take about 5 days of work to write. That’s a round a week. Each day should be focused one of the five phases: Ideation, Research, Outlining, Drafting, and Revision.

What is an Article?

In the context of writing, an article is a piece of writing that presents information about a particular topic. Articles can be found in newspapers, magazines, websites, and other publications. They can be short or long, and they can be written in a variety of styles.

What types of Articles are there?

There are two main types of articles: informative and argumentative. Informative articles provide factual information about a topic. They typically present the facts in a neutral way, without expressing any opinions or biases. Argumentative articles, on the other hand, take a position on a particular issue and argue in favor of that position. They typically use evidence and logic to support their argument

Closing Thoughts

Once you have revised your article, it is complete. Congratulations on your hard work! Your article is now an asset that you can use in many ways. You can update it with new information in the future, or you can transform it into content for other purposes. For example, you could include several body paragraphs in an eBook that you are writing.

Here are some other ideas for how you can use your article:

  • Share it on social media. This is a great way to get the word out about your article and to attract new readers.
  • Submit it to a publication. If you think your article is high-quality, you could submit it to a magazine or website.
  • Use it as a marketing tool. If you have a business, you could use your article to promote your products or services.

No matter how you choose to use your article, be proud of the work you have done. You have created something that is valuable and that can be used to inform and entertain others.

Now that you’ve got all the information you need to write your article, time to get started! I can’t wait to read what masterpiece you create. If you want to start a blog, check out my post, “What Should My First Blog Post Be About?

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