The key to establishing yourself as an excellent writer begins with understanding how to craft great content that engages your audience, provides them with the information that they are looking for, and gives them actionable advice that they can use once they walk away from your piece. However, much like a great house relies on a strong foundation and the right architectural support, you need to know all of the structural rules that go into producing content as well.
In this style guide, I am going to give you a full overview of what rules you will need to follow when you are creating guides and articles for the evergreen content on Furzly. Let’s get started!
Step 1. Writing a Compelling Title and Introduction
All media that is worth consuming begins with a hook. In the case of articles, you need to attract your audience’s attention through the title of your article and the lead-in that you provide to keep them reading. Titles can be very flexible, but they need to be something that is click-worthy to the reader. For example, let’s imagine that you are writing a comprehensive guide to human foods that dogs can’t eat. Your title may look like:
- Are You Hurting Your Dog? 15 Common Food Items That Can Make Dogs Sick (or Worse)
- The Ultimate Guide to Human Foods That Can Wreak Havoc on Your Pup
- What You Feed Your Dog Matters: 8 Table Foods That Are Bad for Your Dog
As you can see from each of the above titles, they all encourage readers to learn more about the information listed in the guide. Whether a title plays on their emotions, toys with their curiosity, or gives them the incentive to choose your piece over other similar articles on the internet, you must give them a reason to read your article.
Once you’ve brought them in with your title, your introduction will convince them to read further. This is accomplished by identifying their reason for coming to this article, summarizing the information that they will learn when they read your article, and enticing them to scroll down. Continuing with the above example, a good introduction may look like this:
There’s nothing more heart-warming than seeing your puppy wag its tail out of excitement in anticipation for a treat. While dog treats are often the go-to product for this purpose, we may (on occasion) feed them some table food to give them something that they will go crazy for. But are you sure that your foods are healthy for your dog? There are many foods that can be toxic to pups, resulting in illness (and possibly a fatal response). To make sure that you never have to undergo such an experience, continue reading this article to learn about 15 common food items that can make your dog ill (and what you can do about it).
Introductions don’t have to be long to make an impact. They just have to include the information that your reader will learn while simultaneously encouraging them to discover this knowledge in your article.
Step 2. Maintaining the Authority and Quality of Your Piece Throughout Your Article’s Body
Once you’ve worked through your introduction and title, it’s time to focus on the largest part: the body. The body includes all of the information that your reader has come here to learn, and it does so in a way that positions you and us as a trusted expert. To make sure that your body is the best it can be, here are some important writing tips about maintaining your authority and quality:
- Tone and Writing Style– We here at Furzly want to be perceived as your friendly neighborhood expert. When you read something on our website, we want you to feel like you are talking to a friend (who, of course, knows what they are talking about). While you shouldn’t write like you speak, you should keep the language relatively formal to make your content more approachable. The language that you use is so important. If users don’t feel engaged when reading your content, they are going to go somewhere else for their knowledge!
- Breaking Up Your Content With Descriptive and Exciting Subheadings– Take a look at Step 2 above. That larger block of text is known as a subheading, which helps you to separate your content and guide your reader through the article. A subheading is just a brief summary of what you are going to learn in each section so that readers can easily navigate an article to find the information that they need. If possible, try to incorporate your main keyword into some of your subheadings! (MAKE SURE THAT YOUR SUBHEADINGS AND TITLES ARE IN TITLE CASE AND PROPERLY CAPITALIZED. YOU CAN LEARN MORE ABOUT THAT HERE)
- Using Bulleted Lists (Where Appropriate)– Your article shouldn’t be made of paragraphs. If possible, try to use bulleted or numbered lists to make your content more varied and to summarize key points or ideas that don’t need to be written out. This keeps your audience engaged and makes it easier for them to absorb information.
- Backing Up Any Information With Authoritative Resources– If you get information from somewhere else that is not common knowledge, you need to link to the resource where you found those facts. Not doing so is plagiarism and will result in serious consequences. Additionally, it is important to make sure that you link to authoritative resources. If they are not a trustworthy source of information, they shouldn’t be featured in our content.
- Adding Images Where Necessary– When it comes to our evergreen content, you will typically only add an image after the introduction to set the mood before you dive into your content. (You will also be setting a featured image, but this won’t be featured in the text.) Much like bulleted lists break up content, images serve to add some flair to your piece and give your reader’s eyes a break with something that they find more engaging.
- Keeping Paragraphs Short to Avoid Walls of Text– Paragraphs (which, let’s be clear, you do not indent!) should not be too long. If your paragraphs are 15 lines long, the text is difficult to read through, and your readers are going to leave. Try to keep your paragraphs as short as possible and make sure that they transition easily to your next paragraph. Every story is a journey and you are the guide!
- Explain Like I’m 5– We are not a scientific magazine, which means that our content shouldn’t be so difficult to read that the only people who can understand it are veterinarians with their PhD. We are writing for the average pet owner, which means you need to explain concepts to them in a way that they can understand. Don’t treat the audience like they are stupid, but do your best to water down complicated content into an easily digestible explanation.
Step 3. Wrapping Up Your Content With a Strong Conclusion
Whew! You are finally at the end of your amazing piece and *gasp*, oh no, you are out of gas. The truth about conclusions is that they are not these impossible monster tasks that many writers make them out to be. They are just an opportunity to summarize what your readers have learned throughout their journey and to thank them for choosing your article as their source of information. Continuing with the example in the first section, a suitable conclusion may look like;
It’s important to know which foods can be harmful to your pet before you decide to feed them “people food”. If you feed your dog human food on occasion but want to make sure that you are not putting them in danger, use the guide above as reference whenever you are in doubt. After all, our pet’s safety is your number 1 priority!
It’s just a simple way to end the article. That’s it! You will need to toy around with these before you get used to them, so don’t worry if it takes you a while to get the hang of conclusions!
That is it! Writing a great article is as simple as the three steps outlined above. As you become more accustomed to this style of writing, you are inevitably going to become an expert at it. If you have any questions about the guide above or you have something you wish to add, feel free to reach out to us!