2 Tips to Creating Better Articles

By Jeff Santoro

You're itching to show off your infinite store of useless knowledge on Wikipedia. You've invented a squid and peanut butter cocktail and you want to share it with the world. Perhaps you just want to go on a search marketing article writing bender to boost your website's page rank and give those snarky old Internet search engines a little slap behind the ears. Problem is, are you up to it? Are you really going to write a pithy 500-word article? Or are you just going to write 500 words that accomplish little more than crudding up a little further the already crud-crusted Web 2.0 Internet Universe?

Here are two steps toward writing articles that are better, clearer and more engaging.

1. Your article's lynchpin is its lede (lead).

Some writers prefer lede to lead as it dispenses with any ambiguity. (I will lead her astray by convincing her to drink a gallon of lead paint.) Whichever you choose, make it good. Without a strong, snappy lede your article is doomed to choke on its own tongue and die a meaningless and undignified death.

The article's lede should function as a literary squirt in the eyeballs. "Now just a minute," we should say upon reading the lede, "this is making me hungry for more." Your lede should not only demand our attention, it should crackle with the allure of delights yet to come.

This is a bad lede: "The suggestion, by persons in some places, that the sum total of the enrichment experience potential of going online to check out the Internet in this day and age is in fact in steep decline on account of the plethora of badly written articles, is worth noting."

Leding the article this way would be an improvement: "Here lies the Net, killed by bad writing."

2. Good transitions make your article sing.

So, you came up with a killer lede, followed by two or three sentences that reinforce and expound upon your original premise. We're at the end of paragraph one and off to the races, right? Um, no. An article can't depend solely on its first paragraph any more than a chef can rely upon only her appetizers to satisfy voracious diners expecting a full-course meal. Now you have to entice us into paragraph two and the real meat of your article. We like what you did in paragraph one, and we're willing to tag along further, but only if paragraph two promises flavors similar to paragraph one, but somewhat different and substantially more filling.

Take, for example, the following: For your lede you wrote, "Reading an article with a strong lede is like savoring filet mignon, whereas reading a poor lede reminds me of sucking pured tripe through a straw." We, the reader, were right there with you. One time, owing to a series of spectacularly awful circumstances, we had to suck pured tripe through a straw, and we didn't care for it. So, we journeyed with you, all the way to the conclusion of paragraph 1.

But, if for the opening of paragraph 2 you wrote the following: "I miss my cousin Darla who looks like a supermodel except for the fact that she only has three teeth," that's a poor transition, because what does Cousin Darla have to do with the importance of strong article ledes?

Whereas: "These days, tripe eating is relatively rare among Americans, however a small segment of the population regards it as a delicacy" is better because we stay on task even while imparting new and more in-depth information.

Consistently applying these 2 keys will markedly improve the quality of your articles.

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