How to write an article

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An article is the bread-and-butter piece in a journalist's or freelance writer's portfolio. By definition a non-fiction work, this type of writing allows for a minimum of creative writing devices. To be successful, an article must communicate new, and factual, information in an interesting way.

  • Confirm guidelines. If you are writing an article for a publication or an editor, make sure that you understand the guidelines before you begin. For instance, does the editor want a formal or an informal style? Does the publicdation use "AP" style or another format? Does the editor want a particular slant to the article?

  • Outline your article. Sketch your article out in an outline before you start writing. A successful article will have an introduction, a body that tells a story or answers a question, and a conclusion or summary supported by the facts in the article.

  • Interview experts. Most magazine and newspaper editors require that you talk to one or more persons that have expertise or special information about your article topic. Subjects can be found through PR resources, such as Profnet.

  • Write the article. With your outline, interview transcript and other research in hand, start writing your article. Remember that newspaper and magazine articles are not academic pieces. It's best to make them interesting as well as factual.

  • Check your facts. As a next-to-last step, check your facts. Make sure that proper names are spelled correctly and that your points lead to your conclusion or summary.

  • Proofread. Even the best, most clever article is nothing if it's filled with spelling and grammatical errors. Make sure to read over your article before you send or submit it. Better yet, have a friend or spouse read through it. Fresh eyes often catch things that the writer overlooks.

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