Aren’t you a bit tired of the same basic formulas for writing blog posts? How-to articles and listicles? A library of resources? Are you seriously going to spend 2 days writing a list of books that are relevant within your niche?
Here’s the bitter truth: everyone’s doing that.
70 million articles go live every single month. Every. Single. Month. And 99.9% of them are either a how-to guide, a listicle, a case study, or a library of resources.
These articles are so similar, it’s as if everyone’s using the same fill-in-the-blanks templates.
What if I were to tell you that you can use different formulas? That are… well… a bit unconventional?
5. The Limbic Brain
Chances are you’ve at least heard of Simon Sinek in the last couple years. A wildly successful speaker, Sinek is most famous for a framework he calls The Golden Circle.
Simply put, is a mental model that prioritizes why over how or what.
This is not just marketing jargon. We’re talking about the way our brain works:
- Neocortex: This our homo sapiens brain, the newest area of the brain, responsible for rational and analytical thought and language.
- Limbic Brain: This much older part of the brain is responsible for all our feelings.
Naturally, the limbic part of your brain is much more powerful, which is why you often struggle to take action if you don’t understand why you have to take action.
“Why?” is one of the most powerful questions a blogger can ask themselves.
The Power of “Why”
It’s probably no surprise that I am a big fan of frameworks and models. They ensure that words like inspiration, mood, procrastination are not part of my creative vocabulary.
That’s why I have simple set of questions I ask myself before I even sit down to write an article:
- Who is the ideal reader? Who has most to benefit from this article?
- Do I have interesting research or a personal breakthrough on this topic?
- Do I have a strong opinion on this topic, either through first-hand experience or through research?
- Why would someone read this?
- How are you going to help your readers overcome their most common objections/obstacles?
This set of questions ensures that I have to understand my why even before I write a single word. And, overall, these questions help me form the answer to another, far more important, one:
Why does this article need to exist?
I purposefully challenge my assumptions about my own idea, because, let’s be real, we all write stuff under the spell of the moment, thinking an idea is fantastic, only to figure out a week or so later than it’s just a bunch of incoherent paragraphs that go nowhere at all.
The trick with this framework is to use to refine your article, not to discard it altogether. If the idea is something that’s been done, over and over again, by pretty much everyone within your niche, think of a different angle, one that genuinely addresses your why.
If you’re not sure who your target audience is, work towards figuring out the people who can most benefit from your expertise, and change your article accordingly.
This “why” framework is incredibly powerful if only you’re willing to get your ego bruised a bit, especially the first few times you do it, and ignore the inner voice that tells you this is stupid and not worth it, because that’s just the ego trying to protect itself.
4. The “Before – After – Bridge” Formula
Before – This is your current situation …
After – This is how it would be like if you were to solve your current predicament …
Bridge – Here’s how you get there.
This is one of the easiest formulas you can use, and it works best when you want to share actionable steps or certain strategies in a more persuasive manner.
Open your article by describing a negative scenario (the reader’s current predicament), then work on building a world in which that problem doesn’t exist anymore, add a bit of empathy, and then share a solution that involves a set of actionable steps.
And, truth be told, there are few better formulas out there when it comes to writing compelling introductions.
How to apply this:
- Begin by describing a problem.
- Describe a compelling vision of how the world would look like once that problem is solved.
- Provide actionable advice towards solving the problem.
- Add empathy. Write from experience, provide a failsafe if case a certain step doesn’t work out, try to understand the emotional undertone of your article.
The “Before-After-Bridge” is a simple framework that can help you write articles that truly add value to your readers while enabling them to relate to you, which means they’re far more likely to take action.
3. The FAB Formula
Features – What your readers can learn from your article.
Advantages – Why your article is going to help them (bonus points for adding a “how” in there as well).
Benefits – How your article is going to add value and positively influence the reader’s life.
Your article is your product. There’s an exchange that takes place. You provide the information, and they offer the time, the attention, the engagement.
That being said, the FAB formula allows you to think of your article as a product, complete with features, advantage, and benefits.
How to apply this:
- Make a list of all your article’s features. What are your article’s key takeaways, what can the reader expect in terms of article length, unique research, data, etc.
- Describe a few real-life situations in which the information you share can be used by the reader.
- Share unique insights contained by your reader, and how they can have a positive impact on the reader.
FAB is a genius way of either opening an article with a list of features or by keeping track of all the value you add to your readers.
It can also help you better understand your competition (if you do a bit of research) and share a list of benefits that you can later use as unique selling propositions to write a better introduction for your article.
2. A FOREST
A – Alliteration
F – Facts
O – Opinions
R – Repetition
E – Examples
S – Statistics
T – Threes (Repeat something three times to make it memorable.)
Phew! This is a big one. But it’s a brilliant framework to use when writing blockbuster articles.
The A FOREST is a formula designed for overcoming any sort of objection from the reader’s part, while also taking advantage of advanced persuasion techniques.
This formula has it all: facts, opinions, examples, and statistics. Major online publications use this framework, mostly because they want to cater to the skeptics and to the believers alike. They also tend to aggregate various opinions, in order to paint a complete picture.
How to apply this:
- Begin by writing down lists of opinions, examples, and statistics. Proper research is a must.
- Write down a list of sections, each providing a clear set of information.
- It’s best to open and end on the same note (think of a loop), with the ending enhancing upon the premise set up by your opening paragraph.
- Repeat your article’s main takeaway throughout the article, and use facts, statistics, and opinions to lend it more and more credibility.
A FOREST is not an easy framework to work with, and it’s not as flexible as others, but if you want to write the best damn thing on the web on a particular topic, there’s no other formula like it.
1. The 5 Basic Objections
- I don’t have enough time.
- I don’t have enough money.
- It won’t work for me.
- I don’t believe you.
- I don’t need it.
Chances are that your readers can easily come up with reasons why the advice you share won’t work. As a matter of fact, they will likely come up with at least one of these objections, regardless of the type of article you share with them.
If it’s a product review, they will fail to check it out because they don’t have the money. If you’re urging them to take action, they don’t have the time, or they don’t believe it will work for them.
That’s why it’s crucial that you become aware of these 5 basic objections, and do your best to overcome them. It’s a great way, for instance, to add more credibility to the 4 C’s formula. and it’s a fantastic way to overcome any resistance readers might have to both the desired outcome you share and to the steps you provide.
How to apply this:
- Think of the most common objections are reader might have. To help you, first write down your target audience’s demographic and psychographic qualities.
- Address these objections throughout your article, either by providing proof in the form of research and data or first-hand experience. Be as clear as possible.
- Help your readers overcome these objections by visualizing the negative effect of not taking action. Compare the two paths (for instance, what would happen if a reader decides to invest the time to workout twice a week compared to them not taking action.
- Write down a list of clear benefits.
Overcoming the most common objections a reader might have will help you write more compelling articles, while also adding a healthy dose of empathy. After all, some people won’t reject the fact that your advice works, they will simply choose to believe that your advice won’t work for them. Addressing these objections will help them act according to your advice.
Look, the truth is that the basics don’t work anymore.
Most blogging advice you find online sounds like this:
- Publish as much content as possible
- Write longer articles
- Stuff your article with keywords in the vague hope of ranking as high as possible on search engines
- Use the same old basic headline formulas that everyone else has used and abused for the past two decades
Over two billion search results, and the vast majority of the advice you’ll find only kind of feels like a solution, feeds your enthusiasm until you click the publish button and… crickets.
But don’t worry, there’s a better way.
The Art of Writing Blockbuster articles is a highly unconventional course that caters both to beginners but also to intermediate and even veteran bloggers who find it difficult to think outside the box.
Our innovative formulas and our comprehensive, cutting-edge frameworks will enable you to consistently write remarkable content.
Oh, and it comes with my usual promise:
Consistent free updates until this becomes the best course on writing articles that’s available on the web.
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As we add new features, frameworks, and downloadable resources, the price will go up.