Articles should lie at the root of your content marketing strategy. They should be the first thing you do. You can put them on your blog, which is preferable, or you can publish them in an article directory. But regardless of which you do, you need to create them before you do anything else.
The most common way, and the manner in which people are taught to write, is to pen their introduction first, then list the points, then a few sentences for each one, and then the conclusion. And while that may make a lot of sense, it’s not always the best way.
One of the hardest things to do in any writing assignment is to write the introduction. If you know what it is, and how you will lead into the points, then you can use a kind of “stream of consciousness” to do it. But if you’re stuck, the introduction is definitely not the place to start.
The easiest thing to do is to start with your conclusion. Begin with the end in mind, as Stephen Covey has said.
Well, what’s the end? The end, the conclusion, is what you want the people who read, listen to, or watch to think and, most of all, do, as a result of having gone through your content.
You’re familiar with the idea of a “call to action”, but you have to ask yourself why anyone would want to take action in the first place. If you don’t have a good answer, then the chances are practically non-existent that anyone will. They simply aren’t going to make the leap. Instead, they’ll tell themselves that that was interesting, and move onto the next thing – as if they were reading stories on a train in a local newspaper.
So you have to start with the end. Think about what you want to have happen next.
If you want people to follow a link to get more content, then your conclusion needs to get people to do that. If you want them to go to your blog, then what you say at the end needs to make them feel obligated to do so. If you want them to click on some anchor text to get a free product, then that has to feel like the most logical thing for them to do.
The alternative, of course, if for them to just say, “I liked that” and then forget that you had anything to do with it.
List the Main Points that Lead to Your Conclusion
Now created your conclusion. You’ve explained your main point, and that logically takes your readers to your anchor text. How do you get them to that conclusion? The answer is that you lead them there. This is commonly referred to as arguing. Arguing is not a negative thing in this case. Instead, it refers to the act of laying out your ideas in a logical order.
This is both easy and difficult. It’s easy in the sense that when you read it, the argument makes perfect sense. But, it’s difficult in that it’s not always obvious what that looks like. That’s why it can be beneficial to outline why you have to say first.
The outline is nothing more than your ideas jotted down. There’s no need to follow that boring outline model that you were given in school. Outlines are for your benefit, and no one else’s.
Start with your conclusion, and then work backwards. In no particular order, what would you need to say in order for your readers to draw the same conclusion as you? What would they need to feel that would make them want to click on your anchor text?
If you’re using points, then put the strongest one first. After the bullet point, write one general sentence about what it means, and then one that’s a little bit more specific.