The elegance of this system is in the simplicity. There are really only four steps, and the last one is to simply write out your articles after the groundwork has been laid! Although the step-by-step process is simple, we will give you detailed ways to add extra oomph to each step of the writing process to help you develop your Speed Writing skills.
Obviously, most writing begins by brainstorming potential articles. And, this system is no different. However, for Internet marketers it is this step that can decide how much subsequent attention your articles get. If you pick the wrong topic or the wrong keywords, the search engines might ignore your articles in favor of other sites that used these techniques to increase traffic. At the very least, you might find yourself on page 20 of the search results, while your competitors rank on the first three pages of the search results.
Secondly, you want to have some idea of the types of structures that certain topics follow. Maybe you are doing a "how-to" article and want to write something in that genre. People who read how-to articles follow a certain structure. There are actually seven different structural outlines that we'll discuss that can help you lay out your thoughts quickly and research only the material that is relevant to the article. So, you will add your topic and choose a relevant structure, then you will need to do research.
Thirdly, after you have the topic, you still need to branch out to see how many articles or stories can be created from that single topic. You will need to spend some time mind mapping (a way to organize your research and brainstorming) your topic to figure out just how wide a topic it is and whether you should stick with it or try something that is more flexible and easier to write. There are tools we will go into that will help you do this and still be able to write your articles without having to exit the software.
That's it for the background preparation work! Then, you can sit down and write not just one, but many articles from that little extra time you spent preparing your writing session. Not only that, but you will find that the articles that you turn out are higher quality and have the potential to draw a larger audience because you started out with this in mind, as an Internet marketer, and didn't just write things haphazardly.
Utilizing Online Tools for Topics
There are various strategies to brainstorm new topics. Since this particular step is the one that will lay the groundwork for all the others, I will go into it in fine detail in another post. However, for now, be aware that you can find topics by researching the major search engine, Google, and finding what keywords are being searched heavily there. Google makes it easy to do by giving people free access to their keyword tool. However, you do need to understand the reasoning behind using keywords and how best to use them.
Key phrases are a set of keywords put together that are being used in advertising or being tracked by Google due to the search volume they generate. If they are being used in Google's Adwords campaign, then they have an associated cost-per-click established that the advertiser pays to use them in their campaigns. The higher the payout for certain key phrases, the higher the competition for web publishers to add them to their content in the hopes of making money through associated Google advertising.
Another way that key phrases are tracked is through the volume of searches, instead of the cost-per-click. So, when you use the keyword tool, you can type in a topic and find out what other key phrases are out there being searched or competed for because of their monetary value. Either way, it's an excellent way to start generating ideas for topics.
You will find that when you add a keyword to the tool, it will come up with other key phrases that can lead you to think of better ones as you go along. These spin-off phrases may lead to other ideas for topics that you might not have thought of if you hadn't used the tool. From this exercise, you can start to create titles that engage readers and search engines, alike! And, they will be directly related to garnering either more traffic for your site or more advertising revenue, and Internet marketers dream!
Article Structuring 101
The second step involves identifying the structure and associating it with the title you've chosen in step one. This is a lot easier than it sounds, since we'll give you exactly the outline for seven different structures that are very common to Internet marketing articles. The nice thing about being aware of different types of articles is that you can use one or all of them for the same topic! So, that makes it easier to plan ahead and decide what you will write in much less time.
The seven types we will go over are:
1. Inspirational articles - These are articles that that teach people, inspire them, are positive or engaging in a human interest sort of way. They are typically true to life stories, even if the identifying facts have been changed to protect people's reputations.
2. Experimental articles - This article serves up an experiment of some sort that that is undertaken to find the answer to some problem or mystery. This is a practical implementation piece for some aspect of the topic that readers love to read. They want to know: What happens when you actually undertake the theories and put them into practice?
3. How-to articles - These articles give step-by-step directions to solve a very specific, and often narrowly focused, problem. Like, "How To Create Curtains Without Sewing A Stitch."
4. Informative articles - These articles are similar to how-to articles in that they seek to explain a specific issue, they just don't walk the reader through the steps to resolve it specifically. Instead, they might focus on more general terms, while providing facts to support that issue being discussed and why it is of relevance.
5. Reviews - A review is an honest opinion of some product or service that is written to benefit the reader, not the seller of that product or service. It should explain to the readers why the product is important, what it does, and the way it compares to other products on the market.
6. People Profiles - People love to read about other people, but they don't necessarily want to hear everything. The profiles you write should include interesting information to engage the reader, but lack a full-fledged interview feel. So, the profile is more like a brief synopsis of a personal interview, showing only the major highlights.
7. Resource articles - This category includes person, places, or things that people want to investigate themselves but don't have the time. They are very popular with travel sites that want the top 10 restaurants, things to do, or even performances to see in a particular city or travel venue.
Now, that you are familiar with each of the seven types, you can start to brainstorm different articles for each topic based on these types. For now, we'll briefly introduce using the technique called "mind mapping" and the titles and structures you've identified to start to get a good idea of a layout for any number of articles you want to write quickly.
Creative Mind Mapping Methods
If you've never mind mapped, you're in for a treat. A mind map is a way to visually map your thinking process to help spur non-linear thinking and engage both the left and the right brain in your planning. A mind map starts with a central word or text placed in the center, where it is allowed to branch off in multiple directions as the thoughts come to you. It is basically a diagram of ideas or words linked to the central word or concept. It radiates out in a non-linear fashion and can help you to identify different relationships that may not be so obvious in a linear map.
Now, you can mind map with a pen and paper. All you would do is start with your keyword or phrase in the middle of the paper and start to brainstorm different ideas, tasks, and concepts associated with your central word. The problem is that a piece of paper is somewhat limited for mind mapping. You only have an 8 ½ x 11 surface to work with, and if you think of a website that is related to your keyword for research, well, you can write the link, but it's not interactive with the web. Then, when you're done, you still have to write the article somewhere else and use the paper as a different tool.
That's why we recommend getting a mind mapping program. There are several good programs you can get and they will allow you to add electronic media like pdf files, website links, and even images to your mind maps. A good mind mapping program should let you do the following during the planning stages:
Use one mind map for even 100 pages - Say you want to write an eBook, you want to get a program that will let you brainstorm as much as you need to, to get all your ideas in and be able to see all the inter-relationships. If it is limited to an 8 ½ x 11 size than it's really no better than a sheet of paper. That's why even though you could use a program like Microsoft Word to set up mind map diagrams, they aren't as effective as a full mind mapping program which will let you cover three pages in one mind map, if you desire.
Branches with detailed note-taking - When you identify a branch off idea, you ma want to add significant notes about the idea before you move on. This is really important for writers who are using mind mapping software to create articles within the program too.
Ability to add electronic media as branches and notes - We mentioned adding a website link and pdf file as potential research tools within the mind map or to add to your article. You should be able to do this and more: add a spreadsheet, maps, images, and more.
Export functionality to word processor - For writers using mind mapping to create articles, you want to be able to export the mind map to your word processor so that the articles are written as you brainstorm. This cuts out a large amount of time transferring your ideas to written articles that you can use and speeds up the entire writing process.
There are various programs being sold on the market for mind mapping, some are less expensive than others. We will discuss more about the tools you can get to do mind mapping later, but probably the software of choice is Mindjet's MindManager. It does everything in the above list and is easy to learn and use. This product runs about $349 for the full version. It comes with a free 30 day trial, if you're not sure whether you want to invest that much yet without trying it out first. There is also a lite version that sells for much less. Another program that does a good job is called Inspiration. Check out the resource section for where to find these products online.
Write, Write, Write!
So, those are the basics of the system and it really is as easy as 1-2-3! Now, that we've given you a good outline of what you need to have and do to start getting organized, we'll start addressing some of these topics in better detail. Keep in mind that writing is a technical art, and to speed it up all you need to do is become better organized. However, when it comes to actually writing the pieces, its best that you let your own heart come out to give your writing character. If you follow these steps, and keep writing, eventually you can command up to $50 an article from people wanting reviews, reports, and more.