Writing an Engaging Article in 9 Steps
A guide which can help you sell anything (even a flying broom)
If you think about writing an engaging text or blog post for the first time, this guide will come in handy.
Let me say one thing: there’s no sacred knowledge for writing text. Everyone can walk their own paths.
This guide is for those who ask themselves the question: “Should I create a headline first, search for some info on the subject of “how to write an article” or just throw in every thought that comes into my head?” I hope this step-by-step guide will help you develop your idea into text.
We’ll be using the world of Harry Potter to make the guide illustrative — we’re gonna write an article on “How to choose a flying broomstick” for the online store, “Harry Broomer”.
And I apologize to all of the Harry Potter fans for not strictly following the canons of this universe as this article is not a fanservice, but rather, an educational material. Describing a formal object will make it easier to understand the text.
Step 1. Identify Your Audience
It’s important to talk to your reader in the language they’ll understand to make your writing more engaging — speak of the advantages of the product that are important to your audience. First and foremost we need to understand the target audience and keep this image in our minds up until we publish the text.
Who might find our article interesting:
- parents looking for the first broomstick for their children so they can learn how to fly on it or play Quidditch;
- sports enthusiasts who decided to learn to fly as adults;
- ordinary wizards who are looking for a replacement broomstick but don’t have a good eye for modern models.
Wizards outside of our target audience are:
- professional Quidditch players, as they know the market pretty well and keep their eyes on the ball;
- hypebeasts, as they hunt for rare limited collections and newest models and can change their broomstick once in a season;
- aristocrats, brand believers, as broomsticks for them are positional goods, which let them show off in front of their colleagues in the Ministry of Magic. These wizards value exclusive status and custom design over utility and modest price.
Step 2. Understand What You Are Writing This Text For and Why the Reader Needs It
Before writing a text ask yourself two questions: why am I doing it and why people would read it? When you answer both of them, you will understand what you should write about.
What We Are Writing Text For
We are doing it to tell about the product range in the “Harry Broomer” shop and sell as many new broomsticks as possible.
Why Wizards Will Read Our Article
Every segment of the target audience has its needs for the article to cater to. You can identify the segments using customers surveys or RFM analysis. In our case, we have the following audience segments:
Parents: Convenience, Safety, Controls Simplicity
It’s important for them to know what to pay attention to so they can choose a convenient, simply controlled, and also safe vehicle for their child.
Sports Enthusiasts: Convenience, Comfort, Profit
They used to fly as kids and since then various technologies like automatic transmission and a foldable stem appeared. They want to learn which modern features will be useful for them and which are for professionals only.
Ordinary Wizards: Durability, Simplicity, Profit
Their old broomsticks are good for nothing and they need a new one. Not some junk that will fall apart in a year, but a reliable and convenient vehicle, which will serve long, won’t break apart, and can be easily repaired. They don’t need any modern technologies and features, which increase the price. These wizards are looking for the simplest broomstick made of quality materials. It’s crucial for them to make sure that every galleon spent earns its keep.
Step 3. Put Yourself in the Readers’ Shoes: What Answers Would You Expect To Get From the Article?
Let me remind you that the subject of our article is “How to choose a flying broomstick”. Every point must gradually close in, examine different functions of a broomstick and life situations, in which these functions may be useful. You should avoid facts not related to the subject (history of the “Harry Broomer” company; broomsticks popularity rating in various countries; the story of how the author flew on a broomstick for the first time and fell down into a mandrake thicket).
Put yourself into the target readers’ shoes and ask the questions as if you were them.
Start throwing the questions in instantly. Write them down, save them in your notes, send yourself voice messages. Let it be a giant pile of unsorted and even repeating questions — you’ll sort them later. The main goal here is not to miss a single interesting thought.
We won’t be talking about the unique and exclusive status or ultimate comfort of the broomsticks as these are the characteristics of premium-class products. Our audience is interested in the utility.
Step 4. Group Questions by Subjects and Get the Outline of the Article
Highlight the questions of one subject with one color and group them.
Get rid of the repeating questions, add what we want to develop upon — a skeleton for our article is ready:
How to choose a flying broomstick
What types of broomsticks are there:
- sports broomsticks
- broomsticks for extreme zones with increased turbulence
- broomsticks for promenade flights
- hybrids: for promenades, but with shock-absorbers for air-pockets
What should the stem be:
- What shapes of stems are there?
- Is there a difference between broomsticks for male and female wizards?
- How to choose the size of the broomstick?
- Can I buy a broomstick with room to grow or in size?
- What kind of wood is better to choose?
How to choose a saddle:
- Single-seated or multi-seated broomsticks: their features and differences.
- The shape of a saddle for comfort fit and mobility.
- The best saddle for long journeys.
- The safest saddle.
How to choose brakes:
- What types of broomstick brakes are there?
- What brakes are the most convenient for children and newbies?
- Are hand brakes of any use?
What control system to choose:
- What control systems are there?
- What broomstick is the easiest to control?
- What speed selector to choose?
- What number of speeds is enough for a comfortable flight over the city?
- Do I need a turbulence compensator?
What type of twigs bonding to choose:
- What types of twigs and their bondings are there.
- Twigs for intensive training.
- The most popular twigs that are easy to replace.
- Is intricate bonding worth paying for?
What price for a broomstick to expect:
- Who produces reliable and affordable broomsticks.
- What is the price range for broomsticks for promenade flights and for hybrids?
- What can I save my money on?
- The selection of broomsticks from our shop.
Step 5. Find Arguments
Our skeleton is ready to stand up and go. To help it do so we answer every question in the outline.
You can describe one and the same feature of a broomstick in different ways depending on the needs of each audience segment. When telling about the facts, don’t forget to help the reader imagine a broomstick to make your writing more engaging. Let’s look at this example.
Fact: the stem of the “Nimbus 5000” is made of Whomping Willow.
An argument for parents: Whomping Willow is a light, porous, and firm kind of wood. A broomstick made of it weighs about 2–4 pounds and it’ll be easy for a child to carry it around. Thanks to a corrugated texture your child won’t slip off in the rain or when doing a U-turn.
An argument for a sports enthusiast: Whomping Willow is softwood so stems made of it adapt to the rider quickly. You’ll be able to fly for hours without your back and legs hurting.
An argument for an ordinary wizard: Whomping Willow is a firm kind of wood. A broomstick made of it can take the weight of three adult wizards and will serve several generations of your family well. If it breaks even in 200 years, we will ship your grandchildren a new one or return the money.
Step 6. Write a Lead
Lead is an introduction for your article, a “hook” which you’ll use to catch the readers’ attention so they read further.
You can refer to your personal experience and share a story from your life: “Three years ago I bought a high-powered “Nimbus 7000” that was faster than lightning, fell off of it as I had no idea how to fly it and broke my ribs. Now I got into the matter and can tell you how to choose the right broomstick”
You can begin with the key details: “Good manufacturers are your choice — yes, you’ll pay more, but it will be a trusty product. If several broomsticks caught your attention, then choose the lightest one. Read the article for more details.”
But the best option is to instantly answer what you wrote this article for: No surprises, straight to business. The author has no throes of creation and the reader instantly understands what this article is about.
“Finding a good broomstick is a difficult task, but not because there are so few of them, on the contrary, the product range is too large. This article will help you to find the best broomstick for every member of your family, from your children to your grandparents.”
Step 7. Pay Attention to the Way You Address Your Audience
Our readers are not experienced athletes — so don’t bombard them with complicated terms. And when necessary, explain things like “turbulence shock-absorbers”.
Our readers don’t seek premium quality and aren’t hunting for exclusives. Get rid of all the pathos and superlative adjectives when writing text.
Our readers are not teenagers, so no “this broomstick can be your new crush”.
Our readers are ordinary wizards of various ages, education, and experience. So, keep the distance, but don’t go too far. Try to act as a mentor who will teach them how to choose a good broomstick and will also sell them the right one.
Step 8. Choose the Images for Your Article
The images should complement the article, not decorate it. They help the text to become more persuasive, all-inclusive, and engaging. It’s also important for a reader to associate themselves and their lifestyle with the images.
We won’t be showing athletes going into the curve as parents may consider it dangerous and ordinary wizards will think that such functions will require more money.
Leave the photos of broomsticks crusted with jewels for aristocrats and an article about limited collections. Our audience is here for comfort and profit, not for luxury.
And it’s better not to use a photo of a lonely broomstick lying on a counter anywhere. This dull picture will be no good to your text.
Which images will suit us:
- a photo of a child during Quidditch training, with the happy parents on the bleachers;
- a photo of a family flying around;
- a photo of elderly people comfortably riding their broomsticks with a soft saddle;
- close-ups of the parts of the broomstick with side-by-side comparison: control systems; shapes of stems or twigs bonding types.
Step 9. Check for Mistakes or Misprints
An author publishing their article with mistakes is like Gordon Ramsay serving you a well-done steak — still tasty, but sloppy. If you are ready to spend 10 hours searching for arguments for the readers, you can probably find 20 minutes to proofread your text. You’ll show you care for the reader, get some karma points and win 100 points for Gryffindor.
These 9 steps are only one of the options for writing an engaging commercial text without forgetting anything important.