Friday, January 11, 2008

Writing an Article That Sells

Now that you have completed all your research, it's time to write the article. In the beginning, you may struggle for hours over every word, trying to get the piece perfect. This is normal and part of the learning process. Your best bet is to go back to your outline, fit your research in, and write from that framework. If you didn't create an outline, compose one right now, and follow it faithfully in your work.

Before you write, be sure you are thoroughly prepared. First, type up your notes from interviews and other research so that you won't have to waste time puzzling over your handwriting during the writing process. Then, position your style guide close by as a ready reference. Finally, sit down and briefly analyze the articles in your target publication. Gauge the tone of the articles, and see how much emphasis they put on research, how heavily they use quotes and statistics, and what length the sidebars are, if any. Keep these points in mind as you write, referring to the publication as necessary to refresh your memory and to look at particulars--the headlines, leads, etc.--as you work on those portions of your own piece.

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