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Marketing / Business writing

The art of writing articles

Writing articles and getting published is a powerful way to promote your expertise, and your business. Here’s some advice on making your read a good one.

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  1. Have ideas to expand on. This beats staring at a blank screen with a blank head. Be ready to scribble down dot points when inspiration strikes. The germ of some of my best work can be traced to the back of soggy beer mats.
  2. Don’t worry too much about structure at the start. This can come later. Just focus on getting it out of your head and onto the screen, or indeed the paper.
  3. An alternate theme may emerge in the course of writing. Go with it. I’ve lost count of the number of unedited articles I’ve read that have a headline almost totally unrelated to the content.
  4. Write the headline and intro last to overcome the above problem. What you’ve actually written will inform you of the appropriate headline and introduction. Always.
  5. Use your voice. If you’re a humorous person, write with wit.
  6. Don’t underestimate your audience. There’s a school of thought that says you should use the simplest word available. I disagree. You should use the most fitting word. Still you should avoid plundering the Thesaurus just for the sake of it.
  7. Revisit, reread, edit and proofread. While we’ve lots of tips for self-editing on Flying Solo, my main advice is to remember that subtraction is iteration, too.
  8. When editing, cut from the start. A majority of the articles I’ve edited require most of their edits early on. Try to ensure your article doesn’t take too long to get going.

Want more articles like this? Check out the business writing section.

To illustrate the importance of point number 3, this article was originally going to focus on a Flying Solo milestone. Lovely for the ego, not so great reader relevance wise.

As a past Editor I oversaw each article from submission to publication and while I’m the first to admit I don’t know much, I reckon when it comes to understanding what makes a good short read, I know my potatoes.

"The germ of some of my best work can be traced to the back of soggy beer mats."

Which brings me to my final point.

       9.    Know your potatoes.

It’d be very fine indeed if you shared your thoughts on the art of writing articles.

Sam Leader

is a former director of Flying Solo and the co-author of Flying Solo - How to go it alone in business.

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