We write about 100+ guest posts a month at Launch Space for many of the top publications in the marketing niche. We’ve come up with a lot of simple systems our team can follow to help manage the content creation process. This article will discuss article structure.
Over the next few paragraphs, we’ll discuss how to structure the type of long-form blog posts that you’ll find on most blogs. You can apply these steps to write a news article, scientific article, or any online resource. Let’s dive into the guide.
There are many article types of articles. The article structure for your content will vary depending on the topic and your niche. For example, a case study might be longer than a listicle. A how-to guide on email marketing could be longer than an article on food marketing.
Regardless of the article you write, there’s a basic structure you should follow to be effective. Here are the basic elements of that typical structure:
- Main Body
Let’s go through the process of creating an article structure for your content. I’ll break this down into a step-by-step guide.
Step 1: Consider Your Goals
Before you create your outline, consider the purpose of your article.
The article should have some sort of take away. For example, this article discusses how to pitch guest posts. The goal of the article is to educate people who want to write guest posts. It’s an informational resource. I lay out a step-by-step process that anyone can follow to pitch guest posts. After reading the article, people should be able to build a list of target sites, create an email template, and send pitches to editors.
On the other hand, this article discusses the best landing page builders.
My goal is to get people to click on a link to one of the resources I mentioned. That’s my main objective. I tried to make the article easy to scan read.
Having an objective in mind before you start writing will help you create a great piece of content.
Step 2: Review the Competition
The next thing you should do is review the available online literature around your topic. You want to see how they approached the topic you want to write about.
Here is how I go about this process:
- Google the keyword/ topic I want to write about
- Look at the top listed search results
- Identify the commonalities
There are a couple of great tools that can help you with this research phase. For example, I use the Detailed Chrome Extension to quickly view the headings used within an article.
You can see how this works in the screenshot below.
You can use the same approach if you’re writing an article on food, a news article, or any other article type. It’s a great way to ensure you create a quality article.
Step 3: Create Your Outline
Once you’ve researched the competition, you need to create your article outline. Create a logical article structure. If the article is informational, make sure to answer the five W’s: Who, What, Where, Why, and When.
There are some great tools you can use to quickly create a content brief. For example, a tool like Frase allows you to see the common questions people ask around your topic, and the headings other content creators use.
Tools like Frase are great for creating SEO optimized content.
I recommend you ask a member of your editorial team, a journal editor, or a friend to review the article outline before you start writing. A third party can provide you with some valuable feedback.
That covers how to create your article outline.
Basic Article Structure Elements
Every article contains some basic elements. You have your title, introduction, main body, and conclusions. I’ll quickly run through some of the things you should know about the article structure.
The title of the marketing article should grab attention. That makes sense because it’s the first thing your readers will see. If your title is boring, a person won’t read the rest of your content.
The title should also make a promise to the reader. What will you share? For example, if you want your reader to know more about social media marketing, then here are possible titles:
- A Guide to Social Media Marketing
- What is Social Media Marketing?
- How to Promote Products on Social Media
Notice that the keyword, social media, is in all three titles. You don’t make your readers guess what you’re writing.
When coming up with a title, consider where it will be published. For example, a headline for Google should be less than 70 characters. Anything beyond 70 characters automatically gets cut off.
Once you get the attention of your reader, you need to sustain that attention through the introduction. The introduction is your hook. It doesn’t matter if your title is catchy. If your introduction doesn’t deliver, you’ll lose your readers then and there.
Your introduction should be concise. In marketing, three to four introductory paragraphs are enough. Just provide a bit of context to your content. Then state the problem.
You can give an outline of what the entire article will cover.
Alternatively, if you are focused on a particular keyword, you might start with a description of what you’re targeting. This is the approach I took for my guide to business development.
3. Main Body
The body is the main part of your article. If you are writing for an online audience, break down the main body of your article into sections.
I recommend using a heading every 5-10 paragraphs. A bit like I’m doing now.
Your headings will provide your article with an easy structure for readers to follow. It also provides you with a structure as the writer.
Everything you write should be related to what you promised to deliver to the reader. It helps to go back to your title once in a while when writing the article.
According to Marketing Insider, the optimum length for an online article is 1,600 words. That figure includes the introduction, title, and the conclusion. So, if you do the math, you’ll have something like 1,200 words for the main content.
Your conclusion is a summary of what you covered in your article. Summarize the important points of your article.
Don’t add additional facts and information in your conclusion.
Three to four paragraphs is a good length for a conclusion for an online article. You can include a call-to-action in your summary. Maybe ask them to click on a link, share your post, or something else entirely.
Article-Writing: a Science and an Art
It can be daunting to write an article for a website for the first time. The good news is, there is a process you can follow when writing content. That means, for the most part, all you need to do is follow a basic structure for that piece of content.
Start by considering the goal of your article and review relevant literature. Only after completing these two steps should you create your article outline. Just follow my tips in writing the title, the introduction, the main body, and the conclusion. Use an outline to help guide you throughout the process.