Writing and submitting articles is an effective marketing strategy to deliver targeted visitors, increase your rankings and boost sales. However, it is easy to equate article writing with onerous tasks such as writing a high school or university essays. The memories of the pain involved in this form of writing can take time to fade away. The good news is that after learning a few simple steps, writing your own articles isn’t as hard as it appears.

One of the biggest hurdles most new writers face is finding ideas to write about. The easiest way to begin is to write about things you are interested in and preferably passionate about. You already have knowledge in these areas which can be shared with others. It is easy to under-estimate your own abilities in areas you are experienced in. Talented people are often surprised by the level of questions novices ask (it is important to remember that there is no such thing as a stupid question – only stupid answers).

Once you have decided on a general area, a good way to narrow the topic down is to focus on the problems that people have. Typically, people read articles because they want to be entertained or they want information. Writing entertaining articles is a particular and more difficult skill. However, writing informative articles can be as simple as sharing tips that you have learned. A guiding principle is to expect the readers to be looking for “What’s in it for me”.

You may already know the common problems that people have in a particular field, but if not, a good source of information is to look at related online forums and note the most common questions asked. If you don’t have all the answers a small bit of research can assist. Often the answers are readily available with a Google search that the readers could do themselves. However, you are adding value and convenience by providing a range of answers in a single document.

Most people don’t like to read large documents from the Web, so unlike long essays, articles tend to be around 400 words long. If you break the article into an introduction, a small number of sub-headings, and a conclusion you may only have to write about 50 words in each section. The sub-headings may be for authoring purposes only, but if they are relevant they can be left in the final article.

The first draft should be for your eyes only. Don’t try to produce a final copy as you write. It tends to be much quicker to get your thoughts down and come back to edit later. The final step in the writing process is to proofread your article making sure that the writing flows and would be interesting to the reader. Ask yourself, ‘does the article provide information the potential reader is looking for?’. It can also be helpful to have someone else proofread the article. This is also the time to remove spelling and grammatical errors.

If you still have problems writing you may want to do a search for ‘article writing software’. There are many packages around which can make the process easier. Similarly, there are numerous e-books available on the topic and many of them are available for free.

Once you have written your article you may want to add it to your own website as an item that search engines love – a piece of original content. If you add an ‘About the Author’ section with a link to your website, you can also submit it to article directories. As other websites publish your article you receive another thing that search engines look for, one-way backlinks. Article submission can be a tedious process, but software and websites that can submit to multiple directories in one go exist to make the job much easier.

After writing your first few articles you will find it is not as daunting as it first appears. You never know, you may even want to offer your services as a freelance writer on the Internet as a way to make some extra income.

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