A Simple Template for Faster Content Writing
Christina Gillick here – taking over The Writer's Life this week.
If you’ve been following along, you have a great start on your first paying project!
Today let’s outline your article …
I personally start with a template, because it helps overcome writer’s block and keeps me on topic.
Here’s the basic template I use:
Intro or “Lead” – Tell them what you’re going to tell them.
Sentence 1 – Grab attention. Start your article by grabbing your reader’s attention. You can do this by asking them a question, stating a fact or surprising statistic, or even telling a personal story.
Sentence 2 – Make sure your reader understands what your article is about. You might even bluntly say, “In this article, you’ll learn X.”
Sentence 3 – Add a transitional sentence that keeps their attention, makes them want to read more, and leads them into the body of your blog post.
Body of Post – Tell them what you said you’d tell them.
The “body” of your article will consist of multiple parts – with each part supporting your main idea. Often three parts is plenty, but if you’re writing a “how-to” post or “list” post, you may need more than three parts.
Here’s an outline for each part:
Sentence 1 – Introduce your strongest argument or example proving the point made in your intro. (For example, if I were writing about the benefits of raising backyard chickens, I could mention the never-ending supply of fresh eggs.)
If you were writing a “how-to” article, this sentence would introduce “Step One.” Similarly, for a “list post,” this would be the first item in the list.
Sentences 2-5 – Use a few sentences to expand on your point or explain your example. For the chicken example, I would use this paragraph to explain the benefits of fresh eggs.
Continue adding paragraphs to support your topic – using your best reasons, ideas, or arguments first.
Continue as needed. For most articles, three “parts” or points should be enough to tell the reader what you said you’d tell them.
(For a “how-to” or “list post,” keep going until you’ve covered your topic thoroughly. For instance, a how-to article could easily have 10+ steps.)
Conclusion – Tell them what you told them.
Sentence 1 – Restate your original point or idea.
Sentence 2 – Summarize the points you made throughout the body of the article.
Sentence 3 – Add something for the reader to do – such as comment, share, or click a link to learn more.
And … that’s it! Just by filling in the outline above, you’re already close to a complete article …
Today’s Action Step: Briefly outline your article. Any questions? Post them in the comments here.
Your outline doesn’t have to be perfect. You might even have blank spaces to fill in later. That’s okay … tomorrow we’ll talk about how to finish your article by simply filling in the blanks.
Get more starter tips in our article about copywriting for beginners.
The AWAI Method™ for Becoming a Skilled, In-Demand Copywriter
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Do you have to have a copywrite License in order to do any kind if writing?
Guest (Cindy) –
I have been reading your awesome emails and today I have begun to search for those paying gigs.
This last email, regarding outlining our articles is very helpful. It kind of reminds me of an outline for an essay- in fact I found one website that requires an outline of the article first. Thank you!
Guest (Erica) –
Nope. :) No license needed.
You'll probably find this article helpful:
(There's a section called, "What kind of qualifications do you need to be a copywriter?")
Christina Gillick –
Thank you for the compliments! :)
You're right about the outline - it is like writing an essay. Only now you can get paid to do it. :-D
Let us know if you have any questions.
Christina Gillick –
I tool your outline, filled in the content of my article, and I have over 600 words at first writing.
Very good. I needed that. This article has been with me for years. NOW I can build on it too (as alluded to in the article).
Guest (NoMoHype) –
Intro or "Lead" – Tell them what you're going to tell them.
I need to tell you what I have observed in life as relates to Controls. There are several, so we will start with one of the simplest auto controls I can imagine. Let me tell you about the control function of a home thermostat.
You thought I was going to tell you about launching a rocket ship. Well we can apply this to the rocket ship if you want, or driving a school bus or our political issues or crime in our larger cities.
Guest (NoMoHype) –
Hi there, these steps are great for getting me back to basics in writing. I do have problems with that writers block. Unfortunately, lately with my schedule I haven't had time to read all the past articles to this subject. Is it possible to post links to those articles here? Thanks a bunch for all you do. :)
Guest (Cynthia) –
Thanks AWAI, I enjoyed reading your emails sent, but I don't just have the time for this month.
I want to do my practice step-step which will enable me to be on track with the fees; because I am attending other academy courses that are choking me down to earth. If you will prefer, actually, I can rearrange my schedule with this payment.
Thank you yours Guest
Guest (Philip ) –
Christina, Would you recommend formatting this article as a copywriter would or a journalist? i.e. lots of white space versus several long paragraphs.
I have read your article and instructions on building a basic template, and found it to be very helpful. Thank you for the information that explained everything that I was in question about when I write a "how-to" article.
Guest (Maggie) –
I've written two or three articles for a free online mag and I thought I would follow their template. Have you seen Ezine Articles basic template? Would that work for a paying customer as well?
Guest (Kim Smyth) –
Have you ever thought that you were not where you thought you should be by now? I mean financially, emotionally, and maybe even spiritually. Things happen in life that alter the path we set for ourselves when we were growing up. But what if you could change somethings now to fix the past mistakes? In this article I will discuss how "Core" beliefs have been the number one cause of some bad choices in life that we have made. Yes, I said WE.It has been said, "If you change nothing, nothing will Change." Ponder that statement for a min or two.
Guest (kathleen) –
Thanks. Thanks Thanks.
I'm just starting this line of work.Did you ever meet a Teaching Prof from Lancaster,in England back in 71 by name of Gareth Williams?
Tell'em. tell'em, Tellem He would have loved you!
Mike Shepherd –
This information is very helpful. Thank you.
Guest (LD) –
Thanks For Caring and Sharing Love The Tenplet very helpful