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From Idea to an Article with #MyBlogU

from-idea-to-articleSo you have a brilliant article idea and you feel like writing an article. Where do you start? How to make the writing process productive?

With that question I’ve come to MyBlogU users and together we have put together a step-by-step guide on how to productively go from a idea to an article:

1. Research Further

It never happens to me that I could just sit down and write the entire article based on an idea. Usually thorough research is involved.

With MyBlogU you can crowd-source that research as well as have some parts of the article written for you.

Here’s what you can use MyBlogU for:

  • Ask what readers would want find in that article
  • Ask to send you related links, infographics, case studies, etc. Here are more things you can ask in MyBlogU Brainstorm section.
  • Create a group interview project to let experts answer the questions you’d like to be answered in your article

Phil Turner @EP_pturner has a great pre-writing process:

There are two kinds of articles; ones I want to write and ones I have to write. Sometimes one turns into the other partway through the process.

To enjoy the writing I need inspiration. Inspired article writing starts long before I sit down to write. I go for walks, spend time thinking over random events, reading random blog posts and occasionally something I read or think about resonates and I say, YES! Sometimes if someone give me a sentence I can turn it into an inspired article, but I need time to ryn the idea around in my head. This doesn’t work with deadline articles.

I approach articles I have to write much more logically. I give myself 24 hours to write each one. I start work in the afternoon; research, intro and subheadings, ideally an outro as well. I then close the file and let my brain work on it overnight. I write the article the next morning, usually in about 3 hours for 1000 words.

Note that there’s never any rush. Some ideas can sit their for months until you are happy with your epic list. David’s @amabaie article “52 more signs that you might be a writer” is a great example of an article that takes lots of days to go from an idea (or idea accumulation) to an actual article.

2. Start Writing an Article When Still Doing Your Research

When still reading on the topic and collecting MyBlogU ideas, I start writing my article in the following order:

  • First I work on the subheadings. When I start writing the actual article, I have a skeleton (subheadings) of the future article
  • Then I start adding brief bullet points lists under each subheading. I may drop in plain text links and references to the images or screenshots I’ll use in the future as well
  • Then I write the title of the article
  • Then I add the introduction and the conclusion to the article
  • Now I expand upon all points under each subheadings
  • At this point I may re-write the title.
  • If I have an Interview or Brainstorm project open, I go ahead and use quotes from those in the articles. At this point I may come up with the second or even third article splitting my base articles into a few new ones (With MyBlogU ideas articles often get long. Plus I get to see more angles than I’d initially think of). The fact that I have the subheadings in place at the very start helps me easily split my articles into several ones (it’s already broken into sub topics)

****Note we have quietly launched a new feature called “Articles” where you can upload your article for others to provide feedback, some edits and suggest a better title! Try it out!

Here’s how Sharon Hurley Hall @SHurleyHall describes that process:

My first step is to do some research to see if there’s any information about the idea and if so, whether I can add anything to the discussion. Then I write an outline of what I want to to cover in the article. That’s usually 5-7 subheadings, followed by bullet points. Then I do a brain dump and write/dictate everything I want to say under each heading. I go back and see where I need other research, or backing for some of the points I make and check that the original order still makes sense.

Then I read again from beginning to end. At this stage I’ll tweak the title to make sure it reflects what the article delivers, ensure that the article flows and is readable, eliminate spelling and grammar errors and redundant words, look for more interesting ways to express concepts and so on. Usually, I try to leave a few days between the first draft and the second so I can see it with fresh eyes.

@JeremyRiveraSEO has a great insight in finding and researching a new angle:

The first thing I’ll do is put a few lines about the general idea. Let’s say I’m working on a post for my client who sells steel doors¬†and I think that people like the idea of safety for their families. So that’s the seed, the question that I iterate: how/can/do steel doors impact safety.

Researching Related Concepts & Ideas

Next, I’ll jump over to Reddit and Quora and see what posts people have made recently about steel doors and jot down those ideas in the post especially any links to non-competitor resources.

Solidify Those Concepts Into Segments

Once I have two or three separate concepts identified about steel doors and safety, then I’ll try to define an H2 worthy header and rewrite the stub concept and any related links into actual readable digestable sentences.

A few notes about keyword research

Steve Counsell mentioned keyword research he is doing when writing an article:

I spend some time on the article title and try to get a good “Hook” in there to help improve the “find-ability” in search engines and to engage more readers. I then move on to the main areas or points of interest that I want to cover as this gives the article structure from the very start. At this point I’ll try to include the main keywords in those section headings and also seek out some synonyms for the keywords…

I’d like to note here that keyword research and synonym research is definitely crucial (Though I never actually spend too much time there apart from using this tool).

I also spend some time on concept research (making sure there are related concepts and events mentioned in the article) which is a good habit to have in Google’s knowledge graph era: Google is notoriously looking for “things”, no more “strings”. More on this here: How I Came to Love Entities by @bill_slawski

I’ve also listed some tools that help me with that concept research here.

3. Editing and Beautifying

I usually do my editing on the next day: That allows me to have that fresh insight and I usually re-write or tweak a few paragraphs.

At this point I also add visuals, embed Slideshare presentations or videos to create some visual appeal. Here are my favorite tools to do that.

Make sure to download the cheatsheet on how to write and market an EPIC article from here:

Big hugs to our today’s contributors:

 

David LeonhardtDavid Leonhardt amabaie
Sharon Hurley HallSharon Hurley Hall SHurleyHall
Jeremy RiveraJeremy Rivera JeremyRiveraSEO
Zen AmeerZen Ameer Zen_Ameer
Phil TurnerPhil Turner EP_pturner
Steve CounsellSteve Counsell stevecounsell
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2 Responses so far.

  1. john says:

    Nice Post, Thanks for sharing.

    Kind Regards

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