Ever feel like you're in a rut when it comes to writing articles? No matter what you do, most of your material comes out in the same format with the same tone and the same style. How boring is that?! Karon Thackston (author of Wordtracker Masterclass book, Article Marketing: The Write Way to Build More Links) has 13 different answers to your problem.
Here's a great way to break the monotony. These 13 article styles are just the ticket for bringing variety and interest to your writing and ensuring your readers stick around longer.
1) News - Think like a reporter. You'll need to appear uninvolved with the person or event being written about. As a journalist, your sole purpose is investigating the facts and delivering that information via written story. No fluff here … just straight up, unbiased info.
2) News roundup - Like a "greatest hits" CD from your favorite artist, a news roundup compiles several news stories (usually from a certain time period or from certain events with common themes) into one article. For example, you might write "Breaking Agricultural News from Around the State" that includes snippets of several stories pertinent to the agricultural industry in your area. You might also do "Top Political News for January" (or for a particular year).
3) Interview - Introducing your audience to someone of interest makes for a great piece, if you ask engaging questions. "What's your favorite color" and other such teenage-ish queries should be left for a private conversation. But if you're able to get to the heart of issues, bring out insider tips for success or help your audience experience what life is like as a crab fisherman in the dangerous and frigid Bering Sea, you'll have 'em hooked!
4) Human interest - Often heartwarming, always emotional, human interest stories focus on real-life people. The homeless man who turns out to have a golden voice for radio announcing. Elementary school girls providing lawn care for senior citizens in their neighborhood. A fundraiser who saved a family from bankruptcy after their 10 year old son needed emergency brain surgery. If the thought of an event or person brings about a whispered "wow," chances are it's a human interest story.
5) Analysis - Going deeper into a topic can often be characterized as an analysis. Basically, to "analyze" something is to break it down and take a closer look. You're getting more specific, perhaps explaining the who, what, when, where, why and how of a subject. Analysis articles can be written in the form of news or a comparison among other ways.
6) Case studies - This style of article is generally longer and more detailed than most. It focuses on one specific case in point (as the name implies). These days, case studies are particularly popular in the business-to-business marketing realm, but they are also useful in many other instances including business-to-consumer marketing, the medical industry (eg, those published in the New England Journal of Medicine), the research industry and more. Most case studies start by defining a problem then work through the creation of a solution, how that solution was implemented and the end results that followed.
7) How to - One of the most popular styles of articles, the "How To," is an old standby that every article writer has employed on a regular basis. What makes it so user-friendly? The fact that we all love to learn how to do new things. Explain a process in your article and you're almost guaranteed to have a hit on your hands.
8) # Tips - Can you offer readers several tips for being more successful at something? Put those tips into an article.
9) Best/Top # ______________ - Have you done any keyword research lately? One of the most commonly searched phrases is "best ____________" From "best laptop computer" to "best way to cure poison ivy" people are hoping to cut through the garbage and get right to the most effective info. By offering the "Best or Top 3 Ways to Spot a Thief," (or something in that same format) you're giving them exactly what they want.
10) # Lessons learned - Have you been through the School of Hard Knocks? Share your valuable personal experience in an article such as "5 Lessons Learned About Choosing a Puppy." Or, if you watched a TV show, participated in an event or otherwise took part in something that you learned a lesson from, turn it into an article.
11) These mistakes - Another wildly popular style of article involves mentioning "these" _________. For instance, "Are You Making These 3 Mistakes when Writing Press Releases?" The word "these" is very specific to what's in your content. The form of a question added to the use of the word "these" begs the reader to dig into your content.
12) Your introduction to __________________ - For most industries, beginners make up the largest percentage of the population. Why? Because there are almost always more people who start something and who finish/continue it. Small business owners, for example, have a frightening statistic to overcome: most small businesses in the U.S. fail prior to their fifth anniversary. Offering an introduction to some topic will have wide appeal and could catch you some followers who will stick around their entire business lives.
13) Take a position - Political correctness has no place in these types of articles. There is no fence-riding here and trying to please everyone is a lost cause. When everybody else is doing their best not to set off flares, you can attract a lot of attention by taking a position. Pick a timeless debate (which works better: long or short copy?) Or something more current (is affiliate marketing a deceptive practice?). Choose a side then stand your ground in writing.
About Karon Thackston
Karon Thackston is President of Marketing Words which provides SEO & web copywriting services plus professional copywriting training.
Copy not getting results? Want to learn to write natural-sounding SEO copy yourself? Check out Karon's complete copywriting course, keyword optimization guide, and other books today.
If you prefer, contact Marketing Words for a web copywriting quote.