An article is one of the best ways to promote yourself and your business. It is a platform to introduce new concepts or insights, explain their importance and discuss your expertise in those areas. But how do you get started, and how do you write an article that people will want to read? Here are our top tips for crafting an engaging article.
1. Consider who the content is for. Before you even open a new Word document, consider who you are writing the content for. Is it for potential clients? Colleagues? Referral sources? Also, think about your goal. Are you trying to promote your business? Educate your readers? Increase engagement on your website or socials? (Or maybe a little of all three?) For your content to be engaging and effective, you must write for a specific audience and with a goal in mind.
2. Provide value for your audience. Once you’ve identified your readers, the next step is to prepare content with their interests and pain points in mind. What would your reader find valuable? Maybe you could write a blog about a new law or regulation affecting their business. Or perhaps you could put together an educational article that walks your reader through a common problem or situation. Keep in mind what issues or questions your audience is dealing with and how you’re the perfect person to provide a solution. The goal is to share useful and engaging materials that people will read, bookmark and share with their network.
3. Be clear and to the point. Whether they’re scrolling through their phone, clicking on emails or flipping through a printed publication, remember that readers have very short attention spans. You only have a few seconds to capture their attention and keep them engaged. How do you do that? By providing content that’s structured, valuable and easy to follow. Start with a title that accurately encapsulates the article; readers want to know what they’re getting into. Be sure to include key information in the first couple of sentences. Break up large text blocks with relevant subheadings. If you back into your story or present too many unnecessary details up front, you risk losing your readers.
4. Keep it conversational. You want your article to engage readers and be easy to understand. Readers who find themselves wading through industry jargon, technical terms or work-specific acronyms are not likely to finish the article. If you are drafting some long-form content and must use an industry-specific word or phrase, define or explain it to your reader. Use a parenthetical or a footnote. The goal is for your readers to understand the value of the article and how you can be an excellent resource for them; that’s tough to do that if the reader keeps getting stuck on unfamiliar words.
5. Don’t forget about visuals. An article with images will have more clicks and views than an article without any images. As you plan your article, it’s important to think about what kind of visuals you’ll be using. If the article is related to a particular event, do you need to attend that program and take photos? Are you going to use a stock image, and if so, do you have the appropriate access and license? Would you prefer to create an original graphic? An engaging article includes eye-catching and relevant visuals.
If you need help with an upcoming writing project, don’t hesitate to contact the Poston Communications team. We’re always happy to help!
Megan Hodgkiss, JD, PhD, is vice president of content for Poston Communications. She is based in Atlanta, GA.