If you can develop content that is informative, provides a solution, and is unique, you’ve solved a lot of problems that come with making money online. And unless you have some capital to play with, you probably won’t be able to outsource “content creation” for a while. So you have to learn how to do it on your own.
First, let’s strike down some myths. You don’t have to be a good writer in order to write good articles. Especially articles that will get visitors to your website. Second, your articles don’t have to be comprehensive. Often times, you only need to make three points in a 400 word article. You’re not aiming to give them a thorough education. No. You’re aiming to give them enough information to where they want to go further into your website… and further into your sales funnel. If you want to learn how to write an article in 7 minutes, you don’t need to know how to write well, only how to follow a formula well. Let’s cover that formula now.
All articles have three phases:
3) Proof Reading
When I’m at the top of my game, I can constantly write articles in 7 minutes. I’ve tracked over 140 articles, and broken down the time it takes me in each area. Usually, 1 minute for research, 4 minutes for writing, and 2 minutes for proof reading. 1 minute for research!? How is that possible? Let’s simplify. For almost all articles, I only need to consult three different sources. They are:
So before I begin to write any article, I will open up each of these three pages. Let’s say I’m writing an article on the benefits of breast feeding a child. Now, since I’m a 24 year old single male, I have no personal experience or knowledge about this topic. So I first plug in the topic to ezine articles. I’m looking for three different articles that seem most relevant. The best articles are ones that are a list of tips, contain “how to” in the title, or seem to indicate it will be easy to pick up some quick facts from.
For most articles, I only need three main points. I find them as quick as possible. If I can’t find them in ezine articles, I then go to wikipedia. And finally google. For each main point I find, I then jot down two or three single words/short phrases for each point. These are reminders of the things I will cover to support the main point. Once I get two or three key ideas from each point I go to work on writing the article. I won’t lie. It might take you a while to get good at being able to grab the right key points right away. But not as long as you think. It took me about a week to get really good at it. That’s it. I used to spend 8 minutes researching a topic, and after only a week of writing articles, I cut it down to one minute. Are you willing to put in a week’s worth of effort to see this improvement? If not, you’re hopeless.
The writing process is next. Before you write ANYTHING, you should have your three main points, and two to three sub points to back each point up. Now it’s simply mechanics. We’re aiming at around 400 words per article. Here’s how the articles break down. One paragraph for the intro, one paragraph for each main point, and one paragraph for the conclusion. Each paragraph will be about 70-85 words apiece. Let’s start with the introduction. Here’s how it works. Start with an opening sentence. I usually like to use a generic IF/THEN approach. For example, “If you’re looking for 3 amazing health benefits of breast feeding, then you will want to read this article.” Almost every article I write starts off like this. Unless I have a better or more creative way, that doesn’t require any pause for thinking, then I will use an IF/THEN opener.
Next, I describe what my three main points will be in one to two sentences. Then I sum it up with what the reader will be able to do after reading this article. Something simple like “After reading this article, you should be able to breastfeed your child with peace of mind.” You don’t have to get crazy here. Now we move onto main point number 1. Here’s our aim for our three main points. Write without having to stop. After about a week of practice, you should almost never have to stop to think about what you’re going to say next. Think about it. If you type at 80 words per minute, in order to write the content in your article in 4 minutes, that means 320 words is the best you can do.
Which leads us to our next point. If you can’t do over 80 words per minute, you either need to become faster at typing, or get voice recognition software. Now here’s a misunderstanding. Voice recognition software is not a magic pill. I use it, and I can get about 170 words per minute with 95.1% accuracy.(Typequick.com).
However, I do find I pause more to think. This is because when I am typing an article, I can think while I go throw the mechanical process of typing. I’m thinking of my next point while I’m typing. Can’t do that as easily with voice recognition software. The second caveat is that instead of taking 4 minutes to write,
and 2 minutes to proofread, it usually takes 3 minutes to write and 3 minutes to proof read. I have to correct more mistakes when I use voice recognition software.
To bring it back to our main point. Voice recognition software is NOT required in order to write a 400 word article in 7 minutes. But, good touch typing abilities are required. I would recommend that you start your first week or two typing your articles, and timing yourself. This way you can get better at the process, and realize how much of your time is going where. Then you can decide whether you want to invest in some voice recognition software. I use dragon natural speaking, it’s probably the best on the market and only costs about $75.
So back to the formula. Your goal when writing your whole article is to never pause to think. That’s why you created your outline, and wrote down you main points and sub points. Just keep them by your side and glance at them, and keep writing. After working this formula for a few days, you’ll pick up some stock phrases you can use ANYTIME you’re stumped on what
to say next.
You’ll develop your own “swipe file” so to speak. So after your introduction, you write on your first main point. You make a general statement about it. Then you make a more specific statement about it, as it relates to your sub points. Then you simply communicate each of your sub points. And you close out the paragraph with a summary of the points, and/or a transition to the next paragraph. This gives you 4 to 5 sentences per main point. since the average sentence is around 15-20 words, you’ll get about 85 words per paragraph. Which is perfect for an article around 400 words in length.
Then you close the article out. Make a closing statement about your subject. Then sum up each of your three points. Now tell you reader what they should be able to do after they have finished reading your article. Now, I want you to know I don’t always follow this formula to a T. If I come up with a unique way to present the article, while I’m doing the research, then I’ll go that route. However, if I am in doubt, or have to pause and think, then I will stick with the formula as a back up. Either way, almost all well written articles follow the paragraph breakdown. Main point introduced. Specific point made about the main point. 2 or 3 items to back up the main point.
Let’s be realistic now. Will you write an article in 7 minutes after you read this guide? Not likely. But when were you able to do things perfectly the first time you tried them? Heck, as a kid it took me two months to learn how to tie my shoe, and I didn’t get my drivers license until I was 22. When I first decided to start writing articles, I would take more than 1 hour to write an article. My articles were a bit higher in quality, but not enough to make a difference in the marketplace.
That’s when I decided to sit down and study the whole process. And that’s when I mapped out the formula I outlined above. The first time I put it to use, it took me 30 minutes to write an article. Not bad, 100% increase in productivity! I was actually aiming for a goal of 15 minutes per article, and figured it would take me a month to achieve. But with a bit of discipline and focus, I achieved 15 minutes in 3 days!
So learning this formula intuitively didn’t take near as long as I thought it would. And literally, within 7 days I wrote my first 7 minute article.
2 More Neat Tricks I Use to Write 7 Minute Articles
Sometimes I won’t have enough information from my research to write an article that’s 400 or 500 words. Other times, I will be given a bunch of keywords or topics that are similar in nature, and I have to come up with unique articles for each keyword. What do you do when these situations arise? I use “crutches”.
The story is a great way to capture attention, get your point across and fill out the article. Let’s say you’re writing about stock market investment mistakes. You could say, “Diversify your investments.” Or you could say the following: “One day John came home from work. He did what he did everyday after coming home from work – he logged in to his online
portfolio to check his investments. Lately, he’d been making a killing. He had taken all his money, and put it into companies all belonging to the same industry. This industry had been hot, too!
Stocks were rising like crazy, and everyone was getting in. Then one day the bubble didn’t just burst – it exploded! John – and many other investors – were the vicitm of dot-com stocks. John lost everything. This could’ve been avoided if only he
diversified his investments.” Creating a story is easy, and it doesn’t take much research to do it. All I needed here was a tip – diversify your funds – and an example – the dotcom bubble burst. From those two pieces of information, I was able to come up with 107 words!
Stories are one of the most effective ways to turn a 300 word article into a 500 word article, or to make your subject matters fresh and unique. As a bonus, when done properly, they will engage the reader even more than your general articles would have.
Another great way to write fast articles, is to use an example. Let’s say you’re writing an article about how to compare different credit card merchants. In your article, you mention the fact that each merchant charges a percentage fee for each transaction that is made, making it an important factor to consider when choosing between different merchants. You can stop there, and go on to the next point or you can provide an example. You could write:
“I want you to imagine for a moment the potential impact of this. Let’s say this year you process $100,000 in credit card orders. Let’s say your merchant charges 2% for each transaction — that means you end up paying a fee of $2000.
Later you find another merchant would have only charged you 1% on each transaction. Simply by choosing a different merchant service provider, you could save a thousand dollars. It would have been $10,000 if you had processed $1 million in credit card orders.”
To recap, the example and the story are two perfect tools to use when you need to write quick articles with little research time. In fact, just imagine if you started the article about credit card merchants with a story about a business owner who had trouble with processing credit card orders. Then you segued it into the example above. Your article would practically be finished. If you’re writing an article that already had a nice entry for it in Wikipedia, then here is a trick to get the outline for your article in less than 15 seconds. Let’s say you’re writing an article on “colon cancer”. Find the entry in Wikipedia. Within the entry, there will be a small section titled “contents”. Here’s what it
Now you have all your main research points documented for you. For the first article, you could write about the symptoms, risk factors, and diagnosis methods. Or, you could write an article on the 7 treatments for colon cancer, which are listed right there on the content page.
In fact, almost each of the main points can be broken down into its own article. You can write an article on just the symptoms, then one on just the risk factors and so on. Just go to each section, find three main points you can expand on, then quickly research them.
These series was culled from Jason Fladiene’s blog