1. A Catchy Headline is Key

Before you start writing the article, drafting out 5 to 10 different headlines that describe exactly what you’ll be writing about will make the writing process much easier, because:

The headline is a promise that we give to the reader. To keep a promise, one has to know the promise. Easily digestible, applicable and high in quality is part of the Urban Freeflow promise.

A good headline functions as the finder that always points to the target.

It has to be clear, easy to comprehend and shouldn’t contain any cloudy language.

 The #1 reason why people don’t end up reading your article is an unspecific headline.

[PRO-TIP: Include the Focus Key-Word that people are most likely to search for on Google. This way you’ll know if what you’re writing about is relevant. Use the Google Keyword Planner to find Your keyword. Also TEST headlines by sending them to friends, asking them which they’d like to read.]

2. The Perfect Introduction Format

Blue Urban FreeflowThe first part of the article after our headline ideally includes a picture, 310-350px wide. The reader has to focuson less words per line and can scan quicker through the first paragraphs.

The right formatting lets every reader turn into a speed-reader. 

Highlight the most important words, which summarise what else the reader will discover or learn in the article.

Most people will decide if they’ll keep
reading or switch back to their Facebook feed right here.

3. The Perfect Introduction Part 2: Create a Common Ground.

Before getting to the hard-facts of each article, we have to create a common ground. The reader doesn’t know what to expect and is sceptical. It’s our job to cross the bridge first, pick him by the hand and show him that everything is safe.

There is nothing better than telling a story that creates a mutual emotional point to start from. People love stories, especially if they can see themselves in them and relate.

[PRO-TIP: Imagine you’re meeting someone for the first time and you’re trying to win him over. Attempted flattery or bragging about yourself will be a turn-off. Think about how you can cover your opposite needs, then he’ll be naturally interested in what you have to tell. First: listen. Second: find that topic both of you can relate to and show him you care.]

4. How to Write an Article that Keeps Your Readers Attention Choosing the Right ‘Heading 2’

The second Headline is the 3rd most important highlight the reader will notice. It can contain your Keyword once again. This is to reassure the reader that he landed just where he wanted – oh and to please Google.

Google loves H2 with your chosen keyword. It assumes that if you mention your keyword more than once in highlighted places, the article will be tailored specifically to the searchers need.

 

5. Sub-Headlines Highlight the Main Takeaway for Each Section

In technical articles subheadings are essential to keep the readers attention.

Imagine headings and subheadings working like an upside-down-pyramide. First introduce the main takeaway (H1) then go into more detail with every following headline until you convey your key-message at the very bottom of the article.

Formatting the content for scannability is the greatest development since non-fiction books have been written. It allows the reader to pick up more information in a shorter amount of time.

 Great formatting is one of the few reasons why a reader could prefer an article over a video. The reader can quickly decide wether this article is going to be helpful and has all the main points visually accessible at the same time. Let’s use this advantage!

[PRO-TIP: once you are finished writing, just scan through your article yourself, only reading the highlights. Can you still get the gist of it in 20 seconds? Try it with this article]

 

6. Regular Line Breaks = More Whitespace

Regular line breaks serve a similar purpose – it’s easier to browse and read through the article. Much better than keeping these paragraphs too compact. If there is too much information in a short range of words, the average reader will have difficulties to stay attentive. And few people like to open an article and stare at a wall of black letters which are so close next to each other that you can’t see the forest for the trees. Starting out with short paragraphs is good – but even having one block of words piled up in the middle of the article can be a huge turn-off. Or how much longer would you like to stay attentive after this dingbat of a paragraph.

Dare to go with one-liners instead. They stay in mind.
You can also help the reader with using metaphors and drawing figurative pictures. It’s like giving the reader a short break on a sunny island, the feet dug into the sand for cooling and the brain at reast under a handwoven straw-hat. It helps, really.

7. Use Bold Letters Sparely

Bold letters within a paragraph again are a good way to keep the text scannable. But make sure to use bold letters economically.

If too much is highlighted, it’s almost as annoying as if nothing was highlighted. The reader zones out – and may not return.

8. The Length

Depends on the audience, on the topic and probably on your mood.

The metrics say articles between 1500 and 2300 words often hit the sweet spot. That amount of words gives enough space to create an emotional connection while making a meaningful point.

Of course younger audiences will favour media-rich content and sometimes a great list-article adds value most efficiently.

With Urban Freeflow we aim for quality content. If it doesn’t have a purpose, let’s not write about it. Our content should help people and encourage community while being easily digestible, applicable and high in quality.

This picture truly doesn't serve any purpose. It looks nice.

This picture truly doesn’t serve any purpose. Well, it looks nice.

9. Images and Links

If an article contains 2-3 astonishing images, it’ll be much more memorable for the reader. The images have to be relevant though. If it doesn’t make sense, it’ll only cause confusion.

Highlighting by Kent Johns on www.urbanfreeflow.com

Highlighting done right – picture by Kent Johns

There are so many astonishing parkour photographers out there. Just drop them a message and let them know that you’re a fan of his / her artwork and ask if you can highlight their image with an article of yours.

Right crediting is a must of course. We’ve got the power of our community, so why not use it and help someone out, rather than sharing free stock-images. In case you need some though, check these sites out.

Use links to point the reader to useful information or to cite credible sources when needed. (Few things are worse than making a bolt claim that gives reason to doubt and not citing a source that proves the claim.)

An even better way to show the reader that we truly are the number one website for parkour, is to link to our own articles that are relevant. If someone is truly interested in a topic but has to leave our website to dig deeper, then it’s a good hint to what content to produce in the future.

10. Proof Read

 Chekcing for speling mistakes is a must. Gramar can be slightly (not wildly) of. We’re a young bunch ad our writing has to be edgy sometimes. Of course only it it doesn’t violate our moral code. Correct grammar is a moral obligation as a writer. (Or didn’t that last paragraph put you off?)

11. Summary and Application

We’re all about making a positive impact.

Because taking action is essential to affect change in one’s life, we’re making it a point to leave the reader with easy to comprehend bullet-points and ideas how he can apply the knowledge gained.

  • Writing a great blogpost isn’t easy. Make it a habit to read over this piece of information before and after every article you create for the first 5-10 times. It’ll become second nature real quick after that.
  • Creating scannable and applicable content is like letting the reader life-hack learning. The next time you read an article online, have an eye on its formatting. What made it comprehensible or what difficult to follow?
  • Producing content on Urban Freeflow is all about adding value to the readers lives. Ask your friends about their struggles or problems for inspiration. Discovering problems which aren’t solved yet and creating an answer for those is a very natural way of creating great content.

12. Call to Action

Community is about interaction. It’s about showing people that we’re not here to promote ourselves, but to genuinely help each other in any way possible, leading by example.

Use the Insert Alert – tool in the WP editor to create that little box at the end of each article in which you ask for questions, comments and feedback.

13. Putting everything together

Create your account on Urban Freeflow
http://urbanfreeflow.com/create-account/

Format your article on WordPress:
http://urbanfreeflow.com/wp-admin/post-new.php

Use the right image formats to guarantee your article loads quickly.
Width: 750px; File Size: ≤ 200kb

Safe it as draft.

Congratulations, you finished writing your article! :D

If you have any questions, ask in the comments below so everyone can benefit!