How to Write an Article Like a Pro
As a career professional, you have valuable experience and knowledge. You’re a subject matter expert in many areas of the career development field and others want to learn from you. Why not write an article or a blog post to share your knowledge with others? What’s that you say? You can’t write an article? Yes, you can! Read on to learn how you can write an article like a pro. By following these steps, you’ll create an attention-getting post that will increase your visibility, influence, and authority.
Step 1 – Choose Your Topic
There are many topics that career professionals are interested in reading about. Pick one that you’re passionate about and that you believe your readers will find compelling and engaging. Jot down a key phrase and a list of key words related to your topic. CPC provides members with a list of topics to help them select ones that career professionals will find interesting.
Step 2 – Create an Outstanding Title
Your article’s title should draw readers in and include your key words. Think of what people searching for an article like yours might type into Google. Make your title short and compelling but let your audience know what’s coming. Don’t be afraid to make use of some strong or controversial words.
Step 3 – Pick One Clear Angle for Your Topic
Your topic may be a broad one but avoid the temptation to cover it all. Pick one clear angle and focus on that. Try to pick an angle that’s intriguing and offers a fresh perspective.
Step 4 – Organize Your Thoughts
You probably have a lot of knowledge about your topic stored in your head. Jot your thoughts down and shuffle them around so that you create an outline that flows logically. If needed, research more information from respected and credible sources. Don’t forget to create a list of those sources so that you can include hyperlinks in your article to substantiate claims and cite original works.
Step 5 – Lead With a Strong Opening
The first paragraph of your article should hook your readers so they can’t help but want to read to the end! Connect with your audience right away by asking them a direct question or using the word “you.” Let them know what’s to come in the post and make a promise to deliver something they want.
Step 6 – Write in Your Natural Voice
When we write in an authentic voice, that comes through to our readers. It helps to form a connection between the author and the audience. Use a friendly and conversational tone. Keep your sentences short and language simple, while still demonstrating your passion through your choice of words. Use interesting sub-titles to organize your main points. Above all, be you!
Step 7 – Get the Length Just Right
There are a lot of opinions on the topic of the ideal length for an article, but if an article is too long, readers might doze off. If it’s too short, people may think you really don’t know all that much after all. Try to aim for a total of 600 to 1200 words to strike a happy medium.
As for paragraph length, each one should be no more than three sentences and each sentence no longer than 25 words, whenever possible.
Step 8 – Close Strong
Well, you did it! You enticed your reader to get all the way to the end of your article. Good work. You now need to consider how to write a strong ending that will make your audience want to return for more of what you have to share in the future.
There are several ways to create an effective closing. You can: write a summary, drop a “teaser” for a future post, ask questions that will inspire comments and reflection, include a challenge or a call-to-action (CTA), or circle back to where you started and remind readers of your original promise.
Step 9 – Review Everything
This is basic advice that applies to everything we write, but don’t forget to check and double-check your spelling and grammar. Read the article out loud to yourself and ask a friend to read it, too. Edit if the flow could be improved or if you come up with better words and phrases to use. If you think you’ve been a bit too wordy, fix that.
You Can Now Write an Article Like a Pro!
I’m confident that by following these steps, you can write an article like a pro. Did you like this post? Did you learn something? Well, I followed my own advice when putting this piece together. It’s not perfect, but if I can do, I know you can, too.
I’ll conclude with a call-to-action. Please send me your articles! I’m clearing my inbox so that I have room for all of the professionally written posts you’ll send me. Remember that I’m always here to help, so please don’t hesitate to reach out.
Cathy Milton, after a long career in the telecommunications industry, embarked on the path to becoming a résumé writer. She has been a member of CPC for 10 years now, and has earned the MCRS, MCIS, MCCS, MCES, and MCWS designations. Cathy is CPC’s Communications Manager, a Board Advisor, and an online course facilitator. She is an avid sailor, a fairly decent cook, and active “pack member” in her pet menagerie.