When I wrote my first book in 2004 my publicist told me, "you've got to write articles to get your message out and sell books!" Being a good soldier I saluted and contemplated how I was going to get it done. My publicist turned me on to a ghost writer who wrote an article under my guidance. After paying way too much for the article and seeing the finished product, I vowed never again to have someone else write for me. I decided that if I had crappy articles it was going to be because I was the one who wrote them, not because I paid someone to write crappy articles for me.
When I wrote my first article, I decided on the topic and just started writing. It was a disaster. The content was disjointed, lacked focus, and made no sense. It also took me hours and hours to produce a piece of garbage. There had to be a better way. Fortunately I found it after a lot of trial and error.
Fast forward to today. I've written hundreds of articles and locked down on a methodology to writing articles which stay on topic, aren't disjointed, and are easy to create. Here's what I do:
Every article I write has four sections, as follows:
Here's why I do it in this sequence. I start first with take-aways because that is what I want my readers to get out of my article. By starting with the take-aways, I ensure that I am putting the reader first and writing for the reader's benefit. Next I construct the core message, or "meat" of the article. The core message has to support the take-aways; if I've constructed the take-aways first then I better ensure the core message aligns to the take-aways. Next I decide how I want to close the article, which is typically a one to two-sentence statement that underscores my core message. The close leaves the last impression which needs to align to the core message. Last, I write the opening story. By writing the opening story last, I ensure that there is a relevant and seamless transition into the core message and that the opening story grabs the attention of the reader.
When I use this structure, I not only get a better quality article, but can produce an article much faster than using the old method of "start at the beginning." If you want to see an example go here. See if you can pick up on the article flow. Happy writing!
Keynote Speaker | Board Director | Autism Advocate | Author | Project Management Expert | Microsoft/Accenture Veteran
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