How are you at writing articles? For many Barefoot Writers, writing articles can be the easiest way to break into writing and start making money, since their tone is often more conversational.

And, thanks to the web, the demand for articles is never-ending. There are literally thousands of clients in virtually every industry possible who are hungry for good editorial.

They use it to communicate regularly with their own customers and to improve their page ranking on search engines. This means they have a constant need for articles they can post on blogs, send out in emails, or publish in newsletters.

And, the pay is great. Companies recognize the value of well-written articles for moving their business forward, and they’re willing to pay handsomely for them.

If you haven’t chosen a writing opportunity just yet, writing articles is definitely one that can give you the most carefree entry into the life of a Barefoot Writer….

What Exactly is an Article?

First, let’s talk about what I mean by “article.” When I’m talking about articles, I’m referring to a writing style that’s considered editorial — meaning they tend to be more informative, rather than promotional.

However, like good copy, they still can be persuasive… especially if the article is persuading the reader to agree, get excited, or take any sort of action. And like good copy, the best articles are concisely written, target a specific type of reader, and address a problem or desire the reader is having.

The main difference between sales copy and an article is that an article will often include action steps or advice the reader should follow, and will always offer something valuable to the reader.

Although I must say, many copywriters can even make reading sales copy valuable.

But what makes article writing such a great opportunity for Barefoot Writers — beyond the demand — is that the length of an article can range anywhere from 400 to 1,200 words, and can often be written in less than a couple of hours. I even know some writers who can bang them out in under 30 minutes!

Reasons to Consider Writing Articles

Writing articles is an excellent place to start for new writers.

We’ve already mentioned how articles are in high demand in nearly all industries. Articles are also relatively small projects, which means potential clients don’t need to take much of a risk when they hire you.

These factors make it fairly easy to break into article writing when you’re first starting out. But there are other reasons you might want to explore writing articles as a freelance writer…

Reason 1: They can quickly help you gain credibility in your field

Whether you write for yourself or for a client, articles can help boost your credibility as a writer.

Publishing articles on your own freelance writer’s website provides living examples of your work. If you write for a specific industry, or niche, you can highlight your knowledge relating to that field.

And as you build your website, you’ll also build your reputation as a respected source of information and expertise in the industry.

On the other hand, you can still build your credibility when you write for clients. Depending on the client, you might be publishing your articles under your own name, or ghostwriting them under your client’s name.

Typically, you wouldn’t directly state that you ghostwrote an article that’s been published under a person’s name, or use that article as an example in your portfolio.

But… you can often tell a potential client that you wrote for a certain company without revealing exactly what you wrote. You may also be able to use an excerpt of a larger piece of writing you did for a client. This would require that client’s permission, preferably in your contract with them.

Although, the easiest way to prove your credibility as a ghostwriter is to include testimonials on your website. Even if you only have a small number of glowing testimonials about the quality of your work, it will provide social proof of your article writing skills.

Reason 2: They can drive quality traffic to your website or sales page (or your client’s)

If you’re writing articles or blog posts on your writer’s website, you can naturally attract search engine traffic to your site.

Focus on writing articles that are well-researched and written about a specific topic. An article that clearly answers a question people are searching for stands a much better chance at ranking well on a Google search than a more general article.

And the more search traffic you can pick up, the more potential clients you can reach.

This is also true if you’re writing for clients. Being able to write search engine optimized articles will help your client gain more search traffic and boost their exposure. If you can help companies to consistently get more traffic, your value as a writer will only increase over time.

Reason 3: You can get paid very well to write them (both individually and on retainer!)

Due to the high demand, writing articles can pay very well.

Though fees range by complexity of topic and individual clients, the average fee for articles between 400 and 1,200 words is between $100 and $400. Fees for articles and editorial for online or print magazines range from $250 to $1,000.

Best of all, because of the recurring nature of a client’s editorial needs, it’s often beneficial for both you and your client to negotiate a retainer deal. For example, you might agree to write one article a week for a monthly fee of $1,000.

Once you get a couple retainer deals set up, and assuming you’ll only need a few hours to write each article each week… well, do you see how easy it can be to make good money writing articles?

Where You Can Publish Articles

Whether you’re writing articles for clients or for yourself, there are a variety of places where you can publish your articles. And each one serves a certain purpose and has a specific procedure for getting published.

Let’s delve into the main options…

1. Your Website (Or Your Client’s)

This is the most common place you’ll be publishing your articles.

As we discussed in the previous section, articles quickly build up site content, which helps improve search engine results, increases site traffic, and makes the site more useful to visitors, ideally resulting in more sales for a business.

I personally hire writers every week to write articles for publications like The Writer’s Life and Wealthy Web Writer, and I have some writers submit articles regularly every month.

If you’re writing for a client in a situation like this, you’ll typically send them a Word document of your final article. The client will then take care of posting that article on their website.

Some clients may ask you to directly enter the article in the “back end” of their website. In this case, it would be something you would agree upon with your client beforehand. If you aren’t interested in learning the “tech” involved in dealing with a website directly, you can simply let a client know that’s not something you do.

It’s a similar process for your own writer’s website. If you’re managing your site directly, you can publish an ongoing series of articles to help boost your credibility and the SEO for your site.

Or, if you work with a web designer who handles your website, you’ll be able to give them your articles as Word documents and they’ll publish them for you.

2. Article Banks

These are websites where many different writers publish articles on a wide variety of subjects.

Typically, writers post to article banks to gain exposure for their businesses. You may do this to gain exposure for your freelance writing business. But a client may also ask you to ghostwrite articles on their behalf and submit them to article banks for exposure.

Either way, article banks have various benefits for the writers who use them:

  • They can increase traffic to your website. You can include links to your writer’s website (or your client’s website) in your articles, which can bring in free traffic.
  • You can build your expert status – especially if you publish consistently to one or more article banks. Your reputation will grow with the number of articles you have published.
  • Other people may link to your article on their websites, which will naturally provide backlinks to your site. This is good for your website’s search engine optimization (SEO) and can also encourage more traffic to your site.

The key is to publish a lot of quality articles to generate a lot of links, and publish with the most popular article banks, such as:

Most article banks are free to use. But each article bank works a bit differently, so always read their Terms of Service closely before signing up.

3. Trade Publications

Industry trade publications help you reach a target audience and are viewed as high quality, making it easy to establish yourself as an industry expert.

You can write in trade publications related to your niche for the purpose of promoting yourself as a writer. Or you might ghostwrite articles for clients who want to publish in their industry.

An online search is usually the best way to find these types of publications. Try searching for [Your niche topic] + “magazines,” “newsletters,” or “directories.”

You’ll need to have your article accepted by an editor before getting it published. So once you’ve found the trade publications you want to target, visit the website of each publication and note the structure of the articles featured.

Then, pitch your article idea to the editor, whose name you can usually find in the first few pages of the magazine.

When pitching your idea, be sure to include something to grab the editor’s attention, and then follow that with a list of benefits the article will have for the magazine’s readers, an estimated word count, and a short line about why you’re qualified to write the article.

4. Guest Posting on Blogs and Websites

One last place you can publish your articles is on websites and blogs within your industry. The links carry a bit more weight than they do in an article bank, which means any links back to your site will have a stronger positive effect on your page rank in the search engines.

Start by researching your target audience and visit websites related to that industry. Note the websites that publish articles and which ones would be a good fit for the kind of content you write.

Next, contact the site owner to ask about guest articles. If they’re open to it, submit a few ideas, and be sure to let them know that you’d like to include a bio with a link back to your site.

Once you’ve chosen a publishing route and know what kind of article you’re writing and to what kind of audience, it’s time to sit down and write a knockout article.

How to Write a Good Article

I used to struggle a lot when I first started writing articles, but once I learned how to prepare myself before writing, they got a LOT easier.

Now, to make it easy for you to get started, I’m going to share with you a process I go through every time .

To illustrate, imagine that you’ve been hired by a company that manufactures mattresses, and they’ve asked you to write an article on the benefits of getting a new mattress.

Before we get started, you need to realize that writing good editorial is a lot like writing good direct-response copy. Don’t get me wrong; every article you write doesn’t have to sell something. But, it should provoke a useful thought or feeling in your reader — one that you’ve intended the reader to feel.

Which takes us to the steps in this process…

Step 1: Decide Which Type of Article You Should Write

A variety of different formats exist for writing articles. And depending on your topic, some formats will work better than others.

Some of the main types of articles you’ll find include:

  • How-to articles – provide basic, step-by-step instructions for doing something.
  • Editorial or opinion articles – share the author’s thoughts and conclusions about a topic.
  • List articles – also known as “listicles,” these include a list relating to a topic, such as the year’s top 100 books, or 12 ways to boost your confidence.
  • Reporting or news articles – report facts about a certain topic or issue.
  • Illustration articles – provide in-depth details about a topic, such as a case study or statistical analysis.

Before you start writing your article, decide what type of article would best communicate the information you’re trying to share with your audience.

In our example of an article on the benefits of getting a new mattress, a list article would be most appropriate, where you would list a number of benefits from a new mattress.

Step 2: Define the Specific Thought, Feeling, or Action You Want to Stimulate in the Reader

Just like you do when writing good direct-response copy, you want to think about the purpose of your article. Do you want the reader to feel inspired? Consider changing his career? Visit a website, or buy something?

Right up front, you need to know where the article is headed. And then, ensure that every word written supports that intention.

In our mattress article example, you would probably want the reader to think about how a new mattress could help them get a better night’s sleep, and how sleeping better would improve their life.

Step 3: Outline How the Article Will Help the Reader

This step is similar to defining the benefits of the product or service you’re selling in a sales letter. It’s critical, because along with helping you write the article, the list of benefits will reveal if the article is even worthwhile to write!

How many benefits?

A good rule of thumb is to try and name at least six. Of course, you can do more, but if you have trouble naming six benefits, the article probably needs to be rethought.

Going back to our example, here are some possible benefits of getting a new mattress that you could outline for the reader:

  • Experience fewer aches and pains because your body gets the support it needs at night.
  • Reduce sinus and allergy problems because a new mattress is clean and free of any mold, bacteria, or insects.
  • Get a full, uninterrupted night’s sleep with a more comfortable sleeping surface.
  • Enhance your mental focus and clarity with higher-quality sleep.
  • Reduce stress levels because your body can rest and restore fully at night.
  • Improve your mental health by sleeping better.

One tip worth noting here: You can mention all of the benefits in the article, but pick one to start the article with, and then end with the same one.

If you’ve taken AWAI’s Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting, you should be seeing the similarities by now, and can expect to get really good at writing articles – fast!

Step 4: Include Useful Instruction on Your Topic

The next step in this process is to identify some sort of instruction you can give your reader. Just like with a sales letter, you want to engage your reader, and useful instruction will ensure that happens.

Now, this doesn’t mean that every article needs to be a “how-to.” Including some practical tips or instructions at relevant points in the article is all that’s needed.

In our example article, you could simply give the reader some instructions on what to look for in a new mattress to get the benefits you’re describing.

Step 5: Pinpoint How Your Reader Will Identify with the Article

As much as you want to engage your reader, you also want them to identify as someone who will benefit from the advice or instructions given in your article.

In our mattress article, the reader identifies with the piece by thinking about getting a good night’s sleep…

All they have to do is get a new mattress, using the instructions your provided in your article, and they could start experiencing all the benefits you described. They can actually see it happening to them.

Step 6: Answer the Questions Your Reader Will Have

This final step is not only a critical part of good editorial, but when done in advance, it will help you write your article a lot faster.

Simply outline Frequently Asked Questions on the topic, and then make sure you answer them in your article.

For example, before writing your mattress article, identify at least two questions your reader could possibly ask, such as:

  1. Are the benefits worth the price of a new mattress?
  2. What if I can’t find the right mattress for me?

Then, when you sit down to write the article, make sure all the questions you’ve come up with are answered to put the reader’s mind at ease, and not leave them hanging.

The next time you sit down to write an article, make a worksheet that follows these steps, and fill in the details before you actually start writing. I guarantee you’ll write the article faster, and your copy will be a lot stronger. Strong enough to get published!

Closing Thoughts on How to Make Money Writing Articles…

The final step to make money writing articles is to start getting clients!

I highly encourage scheduling time each week to reach out to potential clients and start marketing yourself. For suggestions on some great ways to do this, check out our article on how to get freelance writing clients.

You can also try searching online job postings for freelance article writers. You’ll soon discover just how many companies are looking for skilled writers, and there’s a good chance you’ll find a perfect match for your interests and background.

Good luck!