Last Updated on March 18, 2020 by Michael Brockbank
You have the perfect title, description and intro to an article. But what about writing the body of the piece? This is the bulk of why visitors are at your site or why clients pay you for creating content. Let’s dive into structuring something awesome!
Now, before we get started, you’ll need to know one valuable piece of information. This layout is not a guarantee the article is going to be amazing. After all, you still have to put the words together.
However, the information below will vastly improve how successful you are at writing content. All you’ll have to really worry about is the topic, the target audience, and your ability to write.
Writing the Body of Your Content
The actual body of the content you’re writing is where the magic happens. This is the bulk of text where Google pulls information to rank a piece and where visitors get the majority of information you’re delivering.
If it’s weak, then both of these aspects will fail.
So, you’ll need to worry about appeasing the Google gods as well as engaging an audience. And in reality, it’s not all that difficult. Since Google puts the same emphasis on quality as a human visitor would, you can essentially hit two birds with one stone.
Know Your Target Audience
First of all, you need to know your target audience. From a blogger’s perspective, this is quite easy. You can use tools like Google Analytics or search for relevant keywords and phrases centering around your site’s niche.
However, it’s a bit more difficult when writing for a client on a content mill. Since you really don’t know how the client is going to use the piece, you’ll need to guess the target audience based on a job’s description and requirements.
Knowing the audience helps you create content that is focused on helping them. It’ll guide the information you want to share and help you plan out what you think they want to read.
It’s all about searcher intent and ways to engage those people looking for specific topics and information.
Add Your Personality
An important part of writing the body of an article is adding personality. Give your piece some life, and avoid reading like a depressed medical transcript.
In the beginning, Textbroker editors stated how I was too “clinical” when creating content. And in some ways, I suppose I still am. But the pieces that have more of my personality seem to perform better in terms of on-page time.
And the more engaged an audience is, the better Google will rank the piece in search results. From a client’s perspective, this is excellent. He or she might throw even more money your way if you continue to rank high.
My point is personality matters when people read your work. It’s not enough to just share information. People like being able to connect with the author on a personal level. And adding some personality to your work helps.
Different Styles and Layouts
When writing the body of the content, make sure you understand not every situation will use the same style and layout.
For example, this is a blog post. It’s meant to deliver large amounts of information in an easy-to-read format. However, it’s far different than a product description, eBook or a 3rd-person news piece.
Another thing to keep in mind is how some people want to read the same content differently. For instance, not everyone is going to want quotes, quips and jokes within an article.
And this is something that knowing the target audience helps.
Create a Writing Outline
Whenever I write a blog post or content for a client, I create a writing outline before actually working on the body of an article. It helps as a guide to creating the article and making sure you don’t forget valuable pieces of information.
The size and structure of the outline are going to depend on what you’re trying to convey and how many words you need to reach. Of course, word count only really matters when dealing with content mills.
And I know that many “experts” out there say that you need at least 2,000 words to be in the top search result. But in reality, this is misleading. I’ve seen plenty of articles in the number one spot with less than 300.
Keep in mind that a “2,000-word” goal is based on averages. Things like industry, topic and writing style weigh heavily on where an article will show in Google search regardless of a word count.
Use Headers when Writing the Body
Headers are a valuable commodity when writing the body of an article. They break up the content, highlight specific points you want to make and create an easy-to-follow flow of the topic.
Most visitors to any blog skim through a piece to find specifics. With a header in place, they can find that information much easier. And this isn’t to mention how search engines analyze headers as well.
Adding headers is like telling the audience, which includes search engines, “Hey, the following text is about this point of the topic!”
Keep Sentences and Paragraphs Short
Perhaps one of the biggest mistakes you can make when writing the body of your piece is the dreaded “wall of text.” This happens when someone scrolls down your post and sees nothing but words.
Plus, keeping sentences short and sweet is easier for most people to absorb.
A good rule of thumb is to keep sentences to less than 20 words on average throughout an article. I know not every sentence will work this way, but keep it in mind when you write.
Also, try to keep paragraphs to around two or three sentences each. This is incredibly helpful when trying to keep the attention of an audience who are using mobile devices to read the article.
Avoid Excessive Verbiage
When writing the body of your content, understand the average Internet user has an 8th-grade reading level. This means you want to keep the content as easy to read as possible.
Excessive verbiage should only be used when writing tech manuals, medical texts or other advanced materials.
When I began writing, I made the mistake of showing off my vocabulary. The content was far too difficult to read and I had to rewrite a lot of pieces. Nowadays, I focus on a much easier layout using tools like Yoast SEO to gauge readability.
If you’re curious about reading level, you can always test your work using online tools like online-utility.org to test the Flesch Kincaid readability score. Though, WordPress users can simply install Yoast SEO for free.
People shouldn’t need a dictionary or a college education to read your work. Well, unless that’s your target audience.
Mind Your Punctuation
Punctuation is probably one of the biggest issues most freelancers face when creating content for clients or themselves. In fact, comma usage was one of the biggest things holding me back from hitting 4-stars in Textbroker.
Take the time to learn how certain punctuation marks work. You can Google just about anything, and learning all you can about AP Style punctuation will vastly improve your success as a freelance writer.
Here’s a trick I’ll share with you; keeping sentences and paragraphs short and sweet reduces the use of advanced punctuation. The easier you make the content to read, the easier it is to create.
Use Images, When Applicable
Images are important when writing the body of an article. However, they can also be detrimental. Use imagery when it’s applicable to the piece or client.
Now, those of you focusing on platforms like Textbroker don’t need to worry about this part. That’s because you can’t send images to clients anyway. But when writing your own content, they can help.
Don’t just throw any image into an article, though. It needs to accentuate the point and be relevant to what the visitor is reading. Otherwise, you can create a disconnect and confuse the individual.
When it comes to stock images, keep in mind the saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Those “thousand words” need to be relevant to what you’re creating.
Is the picture adding context when you write the body?
Avoid Redundant Phrasing
When writing for content mills, it’s tempting to “fluff” an article with redundant phrasing. In fact, a lot of you will probably do this without really thinking about it much.
But it does happen.
This is when you state the same exact facts but use different words and terms to express them. Each sentence should stand alone and focus on a specific point.
And trust me, editors for Textbroker or Constant Content will point out redundant phrasing. I’ve done it a few times myself without realizing.
Don’t Overload Keyphrases when Writing the Body!
Lastly, and perhaps one of the most common issues I come across as an editor, don’t overload keyphrases in the article!
I come across pieces all the time where keyphrases and words are used once every sentence. This is far too much and reads poorly.
Remember, Google is scanning for quality. So if it reads poorly to a human, it’s going to read poorly for a search engine bot. Keyphrases and words should flow throughout an article to the point where visitors don’t even know they’re there.
Perhaps once every 200 to 300 words should be close to perfect. That is, unless you have a client on Textbroker who wants it every 20 words…and I’ve done articles like that in the past.
Just keep in mind you don’t want to saturate an article with what you think people are going to search. Use them more as a guide to help you create a logical piece of content people want to read.
My Process of Writing the Body of an Article
OK, now that we have the bulk of the article out of the way, let’s see if I can simplify it for you. Below is the process I use in just about every piece of content I write, whether it’s for myself or clients.
This is what works best for me. You may find a better process when writing the body of your own work.
- Find a Valid Topic
I take to Google or AnswerThePublic.com and research topics someone might be interested in reading. If writing for a client, this is given to me directly.
- Gather Keyphrases
I’ll research keyphrases and words for a specific topic using tools like Adwords Keyword Research, Ahrefs or LSIGraph.com.
- Create the Writing Outline of the Piece
I’ll begin structuring the outline using the headers first as points of reference for what I want to share. At least a few of these will have the primary keyphrase.
- Gauge for Number of Words (For Textbroker)
If I’m writing for Textbroker or other content mill clients, I’ll break down how many words are in each section when writing the body of the piece. This way, I don’t undercut or overshoot the minimum and maximum the client wants.
- Write the Body of Work
Using the headers as a guide, I’ll begin writing the bulk of the content while simultaneously researching the topic. After all, I want to provide the most accurate information possible.
- Expand if Needed
Sometimes, I’ll think of other points I want to add that will increase the value of an article. For instance, I already came up with two important points to add to the above sections.
- Proofread the Content
Before I finish writing the body of an article, I’ll proofread the piece. Unfortunately, some things will slip past simply because it’s more difficult to proof your own work. But, it’s good to go through it a couple of times, especially when dealing with clients.
If you want a helpful tool when creating content, I find the Chrome Extension for Grammarly pretty handy in most cases. It’s free and works within most text editing systems, including WordPress.
Properly Writing the Body of Your Article is Vital!
The structure of the article is going to play into how successful it is whether you’re writing a blog post or creating content for a client. Knowing the best ways for writing the body of the piece will make the process much easier.
But in reality, you’ll still need to put the article together. A layout means very little if you are unable to deliver value to the reader.
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