OK, so what about "discussion" articles? The above questions don't work for these.
Well, I approach discussion articles in the same way I used to approach lesson planning when I was a schoolteacher – by asking myself questions.
Here is the question I used as a teacher:
"By the end of this lesson, my students will have learnt…:"
And I would then list 1 – 5 concepts (depending on how complex the concepts were).
That was it. Once I answered that, my lesson had focus.
All that was left for the lesson plan was to find an interesting way to introduce the concept, and get that concept across to my students.
When writing articles I actually ask myself two questions:
#1 "By the end of this article, my visitors will have learnt…:"
And I then list 1 – 5 concepts.
#2 “What benefit do I want to get out of this article”?
Once I have answered these questions, my article has a purpose, and also a blueprint for its creation.
Since the concepts listed in question #1 are the main points I want to talk about in the article, once each have been discussed, my article will be written, and my visitors will hopefully leave with more information than they arrived with – job done. I then only need to work in my answer to #2, and the page is complete.
It is not really possible to give a formula for writing discussion style articles, since they will differ from subject to subject, and writing style to style, but here are some rough guidelines.
- Identify the keywords you want to target.
- Identify concepts for the article.
- Write the article so that it covers the concept(s) (and include the keywords) in such a way that the visitor will feel that they have learned something on the subject. Use sub-headers and bullet points to highlight main points.
- Create a headline based on one or more of your concepts that is enticing, and tells your visitor what they will learn from the article (I always create the headline at the end, because by then, I have a better understanding of the concepts).
- Call to action – what do you want your visitor to do now?
This is where you work in your answer to #2 above. If your answer was to make Adsense income, then I suppose you could just include another Adsense banner. However, I think that Adsense is making content publishers lazy.
Answers to #2 might include Adsense, but should also include:
Any you choose, should be worked into your page.
- Resource box – if required, to help with the call to action. It does not need to be an obvious "resource box" as seen on so many sites, but it can be used to provide additional information, or help achieve your personal goals for the page.
- Use sub-headers.
- Use bullet points.
Both of these make your article easier to read, and people often skim read, and use headers and bullet points to gauge whether the article is worth reading in its entirety.
- Use short paragraphs separated by a line space to spread out your article. People hate reading big blocks of text.