How to Write an Article in 30 Minutes or Less
If you have your own blog or website, you’re going to need to write content regularly. Fresh, new content on your site can bring you more traffic, make you look like an expert, and as a result, increase your income.
But a lot of people put off creating their own content because they think they don’t have the time to write quality articles or blog posts.
How would you feel if you could write 500- to 800-word original articles for your blog or website in just 30 minutes each?
If you have a money-making website and you’re dreading the process of writing hundreds of pages of individual articles for it, or if you’re trying to make a quick, big splash in your niche by contributing articles to industry blogs and newsletters, this article is for you, too.
It’s an easy, step-by-step process:
Think about what you’re going to say
Time: 5 minutes
Goal: 200 words
Before you write anything, spend a few minutes thinking about what your article will say.
Get your head clear and find your message. Ask yourself …
- What is the argument that I am trying to make?
- What is the problem I am solving?
- What action do I want my reader to take?
Remember, your article should be on a topic valuable and relevant to your readers.
If you’re writing to potential clients, for example, a good article topic might be “Why You Should Hire a Copywriter” or “7 Things a Copywriter Can Do to Make Your Life Easier.”
A great way to come up with topics is to review questions you’ve had from previous clients and answer them in a post. If you don’t have any past clients, you could look for questions on forums or in social media and answer those.
The fastest way to write an article is to write about a subject you know a lot about. But keep in mind, it should also be of interest to your readers.
If you’re studying something, for instance, how to increase traffic to your website, you could write about that because it’s fresh in your mind, you’ve spent some time thinking about it, and because your prospective clients are trying to increase their profits, they would probably be interested in learning about increasing their traffic.
Another example: let’s say a client asks you how to optimize their site for SEO. You might need to spend some time researching, but you could double your efforts. You could charge your client for your advice, and you could write an article (or several) to build your credibility.
Also, think about how tips from other industries can be applied to your niche to help your reader.
Then start writing. Write the one thing your article will cover at the top of your page.
Next, quickly write down keywords you want to craft your article around and any quick thoughts that come to you. Don’t worry about formatting or clarity at this point.
Just dump all your thoughts onto the page.
If you find you need to do a lot of research on your topic, maybe it’s not the right topic for a 30-minute article.
Organize your thoughts
Time: 5 minutes
Goal: 100 additional words
Spend the next five minutes organizing everything you dumped on the page in the first step. Lump ideas that go together into parts of your article.
For example, if you have several pieces of advice on your topic, you can format it into a “tip” article, like “5 Ways to Get More Sunshine.”
Fill in any missing parts with questions your reader might have. For the above example, they might ask, “Why do I need more sunshine?”
Once you have a message or big idea, an outline, and some questions to answer, you’re ready to move on. Get ready to write.
Write fast and furious
Time: 5 minutes
Goal: 300 additional words
For the next five minutes, write (or type) as fast as possible. Move through your outline filling in each part with anything that comes to mind – as long as it’s relevant.
This is completely about getting the words on the page as fast as possible. Don’t put any thought into the quality of your writing. This is purely about the quantity of words that you can get down on paper.
If you pause to consider what you’re saying, you’ll lose your momentum and slow down the process.
This might be very difficult the first few times you do it, and it might even take you 10, 20, or 30 minutes. But the more you do it, the faster you’ll get.
Remember, you don’t need to be long-winded because people have short attention spans anyway. Say what you have to say and say it quickly.
After you have written for a solid five minutes, just letting it come out without thinking, you should have upwards of 300 words or so.
It may be difficult at first, but with practice, you’ll be able to increase your writing speed and good ideas will come much faster.
Now, you’re almost done.
Clean it up
Time: 10 minutes
Goal: 200 words
You may be wondering how you can edit an article with just 10 minutes left on the clock. But the magic is, if you let yourself write without thinking, you should have less to edit. You have captured your natural voice, and your writing is already conversational and friendly.
Spend half your remaining time elaborating on your ideas and cleaning up anything that might not be clear.
Then use the last half of your editing time to check spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
Craft a headline
Time: 5 minutes
Goal: 5-10 words
When you’re writing copy designed to sell a product or service, you should spend a great deal of time on the headline.
In fact, you should write a lot of headlines, sit on them a while, revise them, come up with more ideas, attend peer review groups, and do everything you can to get the best headline possible.
But when you’re writing content for your blog or money-making website, you don’t need to stress quite so much.
Look at your big idea and see if you can work it into a headline that will grab attention. You can even pull words directly from the article.
Ideally, you can quickly choose a headline because you’re familiar with your topic and message. You just spent 25 minutes writing your article, so coming up with a headline for it shouldn’t be too difficult.
Just make sure you use your keywords in your headline and that your headline is compelling enough to make someone want to read your article.
If you want to spend more time on your article, I recommend spending it on your headline. After all, if your headline doesn’t grab their attention, they won’t read your article.
So to review, here are the steps again:
Step 1: Spend 5 minutes thinking about what you’re going to say
For example, let’s say I’m writing an article on social media. That’s really broad, so I’ll spend five minutes coming up with my exact topic. I remember that I had one client ask me what times of day were most effective to update their status, so I decide to write about that. I’ve already done the research, so I know what to say.
Step 2: Spend 5 minutes organizing your thoughts
Next, I would quickly outline my article. I know I’ll have an introduction, body, and conclusion, plus I’ll want to list out the best times to update social media profiles and why.
Also, I think it would be good to include a few tips on how to batch and pre-schedule updates.
Step 3: Spend 5 minutes writing fast and furious
The next five minutes I would write down everything I can remember about how often and when they should update their social media profiles. I would talk about how it’s important to know when you’re audience is active and how they can find out and take advantage of it. I would also list the most popular times for social media activity – the times when their posts are most likely to be seen
Step 4: Spend 10 minutes editing your article or cleaning it up
Then I would spend 10 minutes editing my article. First, I would make sure all my points are clear and probably look up a couple of statistics to prove my points. Then I would make sure there aren’t any spelling errors and that it reads well.
Step 5: Spend 5 minutes crafting a headline
Finally, I would quickly come up with a headline. Possible headlines for this example could be: “The Best Times to Update Your Social Media Profiles” or “Your Customers are on Facebook Wednesday Afternoons – If You’re Not, You’re Losing Money.”
So how did you do? Did you finish your article in 30 minutes or less?
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Great how-to article! I'm going to use this information since I do have a blog!
Thanks Christina, your articles inspire me to want to be a better writer.
I do have one question, I know it sounds kind of dumb, but, if you get time, could you give us some hints on how-to outline, please? Whenever I try to outline I end up pretty much writing a book! :)
Guest (Richard) –
Richard--here's an article on how to write an outline: http://www.awaionline.com/2011/09/create-vignettes-to-write-articles-faster/
Cindy Cyr –
These are good tips, but something vital seems to be missing: research and substantiation. Understandably, a great deal of content gets written from our own knowledge and expertise, but if that's all we ever write from then we never learn anything else or bring even further valuable insight and credibility to our work. I think many Web writers need to make research and substantiation a more regular habit.
Guest (Jessie Fitzgerald) –
This is a great productivity tool for bloggers. I will try and use it and see if i can come up with something great. I guess the best time is the thinking / brain storming time.
Guest (Sheyi) –
Excellent. I surprised myself, am doing all the "right" things (except the outline).
Guest (Denise Danches Fisher) –
Hi Jessie Fitzgerald, I agree! I spend a lot of my time learning and reading. Whenever an idea for an article comes to me, I jot it down so I can write about it later.
Christina Gillick –
Your website must have excellent content, this is what visitors first see and read about your site. Make sure your content is about your site, example: what are you offering to the visitors, products, services or information.
Guest (Randy Gideon) –
What great ideas. I have a little column in a local newspaper giving advice to people with heart disease. I want to turn this into a blog but I'll need to be a lot faster than the 2-3 weeks it usually takes me to write my articles now. You've given me hope and it only took me 10 minutes to write this comment. THANK YOU!!
Joanne Privett –
There are instances the entire article already reeled out of your head before you could even follow the laid down procedure here.
I personally do experience that a lot of time.
And the shocking thing...
When I finally take my time to go through the piece I find out more often than not that the write up is powerfully constructed.
Writing can be a mystery actually.
Guest (Kennedy) –