There is a plethora of articles out there now to do with blogging and writing articles. They all give various writing tips and tricks on how to expand your career as a blogger or freelancer. The multitude of topics covered in these articles ranges from writing with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) writing to useful formatting tips. A problem, then, is that people often focus so much on the extras that they forget about the simple things.
Start from the Bottom
Writing can be like baking a cake – there are layers to it. Without the most fundamental ingredients, it isn’t a cake at all! And so sometimes, we just need a little reminder to add in the flour, sugar, butter and eggs before we start with all the garnishes.
In this way, drafting is an extremely useful technique. Writing a terrible first draft that just crams all the necessary information in can help us to build upon the base layer. Start by drafting out a structure and a first piece to use as the first layer of your cake. The second layer is the second draft, with a few more ingredients added (such as better vocabulary, adverbs, new sentence structures, etc.). Only then can you add a sprinkle of flare to the piece, icing it with all the extras.
Despite being able to split up the ‘layers’ of an article like this, there’s still a lot to consider just regarding the base. There is first of all the structure: how will the article be set out? How many paragraphs are necessary? Are there subheadings? This is the first thing to think about. Then, what is the topic? If there are any particular keywords that should be used, try and work all of them into the first draft somewhere. Of course, they can be moved around in later versions, and any that seem more difficult to include might appear in later drafts. In general, though, it is important to have the topic in mind throughout the whole process and try to include keywords the whole time.
Some people will be thinking about the audience from the get go, and that’s great! However, for some people it is better to bang out a first draft and get all of their thoughts together before adapting it to be audience-specific. Because of this, it is included in layer two.
After the first draft, try to read through and alter everything to suit the audience. This involves thinking about how sentences are structured, vocabulary and readability. In addition, this stage involves some degree of editing. The second draft should always be an improved version of the first.
Once you are more-or-less happy with your text, then you can start to think about the ‘decorations.’ This might be adding a little bit of flare to the piece, to make it more ‘you.’ Or, it might be formatting it (if that’s part of your job) to make it look amazing on the site. Whatever this means to you, always leave the fancy parts until the very end, so that you can focus on producing a high-quality article.