One of the big guns of content marketing is articles. Article sites like EZineArticles.com are still one of the most popular (and free) ways to build traffic to your website.
But have you noticed how much TIME it takes to write a single article? How do you crank out dozens, even hundreds of articles like those "diamond-level" authors do?
By using article writing templates...every successful marketer's "secret weapon."
When the lightbulb finally went off...
I was struggling. It took me all day to produce a 600 word article when I first started. And I knew I'd ultimately have to write pieces for articles, blog posts, Hubs, Lenses, press releases, etc. How could I possibly increase my writing speed enough to crank out sufficient content for my marketing efforts?
Enter article writing templates.
Anatomy of an article template
A template is a pre-developed page layout used to make new pages with a similar design, pattern, or style. So, an article template is a pre-built content structure of titles, bullet lists and transition paragraphs.
All you do is fill the defined areas with content, much like you'd fill out a job application or a patient intake form at your doctor's office.
Let's look at a typical example. This is one form of a very popular type of article, the "how-to":
- Article title: Grab the reader's attention with a great title that makes it clear you're about to teach them how to do XX.
- Introductory paragraph: Open with a paragraph that talks about the problem your reader has, a solution they need and how you're going to teach them to get there.
- List of supplies: Provide a list of things they'll need to accomplish what you're teaching them.
- Specific instructions to do XX: List of the steps to reach XX in specific order.
- Summary paragraph: Brief summary of what you’ve covered. Include some advice about applying what they’ve learned, words of encouragement, product recommendations, etc.
"How to" article example
To illustrate further, here's an adaptation of an actual article I wrote about how to avoid a panic attack if you get lost while driving.
Panicking in the Middle of Nowhere? Here's How to Calm the Fear of Getting Lost While Driving
Getting lost is one of mankind's oldest phobias. We associate being lost with danger, abandonment and helplessness. But getting truly lost in a car on a road in the 21st century is pretty unlikely. Yet it's still a common form of driving phobia.
The problem isn't so much getting lost, it's your REACTION to it. Use the 7 tips in this article to help short-circuit a panic attack if you do get lost. It's actually easier than you think.
What you will need:
- A cell phone and / or physical map of your area
- Willingness to ask for help
- Willingness to try new behavior
Armed with your phone and your map, here’s what to do if you get lost.
How to stay calm if you get lost while driving
- Stop for a moment: Take a moment and collect yourself. Even if you don't know where you are, there's a good chance you can find out quickly.
- Use the GPS in your cell phone: You can probably figure out where you are via your phone's GPS. Your phone will have a mapping application. Consult it to immediately find your location.
- Use a paper map: Check the glove box for an old-style paper map if you don't have a cell phone. The point isn't so much to figure out where you are exactly, it's to feel in control of the situation and yourself. Tell yourself that you'll be back on familiar ground very soon.
- Take charge: What would you do as a grown up who'd found a lost child. How would you get them back to their mommy? Now imagine YOU are that child. Who do you call?
- Calling for backup: Call someone you trust and chat for a bit. Ask if they know the area you're in. Can they point you in the right direction? If not, just hearing their voice will help calm you down.
- Double back on your trail: Turning around and going back the way you came is another option. Drive back along your trail until you see something you recognize
- Ask someone for help: There are probably people around. Asking them for directions is perfectly OK!
Getting lost while driving is really nothing to be afraid of. Even with all our modern whiz gadgets, it still happens. Your FEAR of being lost is the real problem. Just remember you're probably holding the tools to get unlost in your hands right now.
Pretty easy, huh? This basic "how-to" template could be used for articles about how to do literally ANYTHING. From anxiety to arts and crafts to plumbing, you can adapt this basic structure for any subject you want.
Other popular article writing templates
As well as the "how-to", there are several other popular templates for articles, including:
- The case study template: An in-depth look at how a specific person achieved XX, typically using something you're promoting.
- The myth-buster template: This type of article explains that the common perception about XX is incorrect and how to discover the real truth!
- The product review template: Use this for articles that examine the strengths / weakness of a product you're selling.
- The product comparison template: Similar to a product review but this one compares and contrasts multiple products.
- The resource list template: A list of resources you can use to achieve XX. For example, "5 Websites You Can Use to Start Making Money Online Today".
- The tips list template: Kind of like the resource list except it's more like giving advice: "Here Are the Top 10 Ways To Achieve Financial Freedom Before Age 50".
I'm not a marketing expert, at least not yet. ;-) But I'm sure glad I discovered the concept of article writing templates. Remember that 600 word article that used to take me all day to write? Now I can do it in about an hour. My goal is to eventually produce between 5 and 10 articles per day.
Consider learning how to use article templates to boost your content marketing productivity. If it worked for a slowpoke like me, it'll work for you too!
Greg Weber (author) from Montana on June 17, 2013:
Thanks for stopping by and reading, krisaclark.
Kris from California on June 15, 2013:
Awesome post I think this will really help me increase my writing speed, as I often find myself stuck in the middle. Thanks for sharing!
Greg Weber (author) from Montana on August 08, 2012:
Thank you Robert. Appreciate your feedback. And reinventing the wheel every time is just too much work!
Greg Weber (author) from Montana on August 08, 2012:
Thanks for all your kind comments everyone! I'm enjoying learning about article marketing. It's challenging and fun!
Kevin J Timothy from Tampa Bay, FL on August 08, 2012:
This is much MORE than useful. I'm loving the fact that the most effective marketing strategy is something that I love to do and comes to me naturally. You still managed to shed light on some things that many people should take into action. I thought that it was cool how you seemed to have included one article into another here. GREAT job and voted up, sir!
Lisa Kroulik from Minnesota on August 07, 2012:
I tend to do this naturally, but this provided good formal instruction. Thanks.
Christabel Evans from England, UK on August 07, 2012:
This is a very useful hub. Thank you for writing this, as i will be using this template to write articles on my blog. Great tips and advice. Thanks. Voted across.
Jeff Boettner from Tampa, FL on August 07, 2012:
Thanks for the tips! especially the template references. This hub is getting archived :)
Robert Erich from California on August 07, 2012:
This is a great article with very useful tips. Your article is organized in a perfect way to reflect what you are getting across. And it's true! Some of my best articles are laid out well. If I set up other articles in a similar style, rather than reinventing the wheel for each article, I'm sure I would have success and less of a hassle. Thanks for the hub! Voted up and shared.