Are you about to start publishing articles on your business blog? Getting results can be hard work. If you’re writing articles yourself rather than engaging a content writing service, use our checklist to make sure you’re heading in the right direction before you publish! You’ll find two checklists below – the long explanatory version, follow by a short ‘quick checklist’ at the bottom.
Is your article likely to be of interest to the type of people you hope to connect with? If not, it’s back to the drawing board.
Is the article topic targeted at a particular type of client? If you have several different types of clients, the chances are they have different pain points, interests and buying motivations. Trying to create content that targets everyone can result in an article that is of no special interest to any of them. If you can, zero in on a buyer type for at least some topics, so that you can make the topics highly relevant for that person/occupation/sector.
Is the article clear and concise? If an article title doesn’t clearly indicate what the article is about, people can’t decide whether they need to read it, and they won’t bother clicking through to find out.
Is the title accurate? Nobody likes click bait. If a title promises a solution and your article doesn’t provide it, readers will hit the back button – with a tinge of resentment that will make them less likely to read anything else you might publish.
Is the article detailed enough to be useful? In other words, will the right readers gain something of value from reading the article? Detailed articles that provide value can build trust with your audience. They’re also more likely to be shared on social media and reach more people.
Is the article original? Copying content directly from others is a big no-no. If you’ve paid a writer to create the article and you want to check for
plagiarism, you can use a tool like Copyscape.
Where facts and statistics are quoted, have you mentioned the source? It’s important to acknowledge external sources of information – this too builds trust with readers. It not only allows readers to check the material you’ve referenced, but it signals that you’ve done your research.
Does your article have an introduction, key points in the body, and a closing paragraph that rounds off the content nicely? In a sense, articles are like movies – we’ve come to expect a certain structure. A well-structured article flows logically and is easy to follow.
Have you included sub-headings and/or (where relevant) bullet points? People like to scan articles to confirm the relevance before they commit the time to reading. Sub-headings are a great way to make key points clear. They can also be helpful for SEO by incorporating key terms that help search engines understand what your article is about. And yet another reason to break up an article into sections, is that it looks easier to read – there’s nothing more off-putting to a tired or busy mind than a long block of text.
Have you made use of illustrations or images, either to provide data in a visual form, or to add visual interest to the article?
Do you have permission to use any images you’ve included? If not, you could be breaching someone’s copyright. You can obtain free images from sites like Pixabay, or purchase stock images through iStock.
Have you linked to any authority sources? If you’ve quoted information from or referenced an organisation of some authority – e.g. a professional body, educational institution, or industry publication, consider including a link to that site.
Have you created links from this article to any other related material that you’ve published? If you have other articles on your blog or in other locations, consider linking to those articles to help readers find further information. This is not only a great way to help new readers find more information on your website, it may help you site SEO as well.
Get a ‘shortened’ link for your article. You don’t want to share articles on social media with a great long URL. Once you’ve published the article, highlight the link in the search address bar, copy, and past it into Bitly, then click ‘shorten’ and copy that link.
Have you checked for typos, spelling mistakes and grammar related issues? Don’t rely solely on the grammar checker in Word. Do a line-by-line read through yourself, and if you’re not confident, have a friend or colleague with high level writing skills check it for you. You can also use tools like Grammarly and Hemingway.
And here’s all that in brief.
All done. Almost. If you’ve cleared all those hurdles, well done! When you’ve taken the plunge and published your article, don’t forget to share it
on your social media channels!
If you’d like to know more about taking a strategic approach to publishing articles, read Business Blogging to Boost Visibility.
About the author: Leonie Seysan is the director of Sydney content agency, Article Writers Australia. She has been helping business owners and marketing managers to publish quality content for over 10 years.