The ability to write articles is one of the most powerful tools for any writer. An article is a written work that that forms an independent part of a publication. For example, a news article is a single news story within a newspaper or newsletter. To understand articles better, you will need to know the different types of articles one typically sees.
Type 1: The List Article
“Hawaii’s Top 10 Honeymoon Destinations”
“5 Easy Ways to Protect Yourself From Flood Damage”
“15 Ways to Run Over Your Own Foot With a Lawnmower”
“Natural Remedies to Cure a Toothache”
“How to Eat 100 Hotdogs in Less Than a Minute!”
“4 Steps to Installing Your New Flatscreen TV”
What do each of these have in common? They are all articles that are going to give you tips or suggestions based on a list. These articles are usually structured in a numbered list format with supporting information for each numbered item.
The number one positive of a list article is clear organization. A structured list allows for easier viewing and allows the reader to “skim” the author’s points. People like to learn things that takes very little time investment.
The two sub-article types in this category are the “Steps” and the “How To” article. These are also refereed to as “process articles” because they explain to the reader how to accomplish something in steps.
“10 Easy Steps to Making Over Ten Million Dollars Online… In a Week!”
People like doing things in steps. A step-by-step guide helps the reader put your advice or information into perspective, and reassures them that they can put your articles advice to use.
“How to Speed Up Global Warming”
Many “How to” articles will also feature a list style of organization. People expect a “How to” article to give them specific information on how they can accomplish the desired task, and normally there are steps or topic points that correlate with how to accomplish a task. “How to” articles may or may not be numbered, but they are usually broke down into specific topic points that are clearly marked.
List articles are a popular type of article you will find on the web and in magazines, but are also commonly found in brochures, newspapers and newsletters, as well as many other unconventional publication methods.
Type 2: Story Articles
“Man Injured in Crash”
“Dog Eats Teen’s Shoe”
“Margaret Thatcher: Self Made Millionaire”
Story articles can be viewed in a few different ways. The story can either be time sensitive (news), human sensitive (human interest story), or relate to a particular business or product (a third person testimonial story). Each of these is a series of article writing courses by themselves. However, we will focus on the basics of a news story article to report a current and newsworthy event.
Reporting on a person, event, or unfortunate happening will most likely be accomplished through the form of a story article.
The key to story articles is to catch the reader’s attention and keep them reading the story the whole way through. Unlike list articles, story articles usually have a more complex organization and reader’s will need to read on to get the full story (instead of skimming a set of basic points).
The number one way to keep a reader reading is to start with a solid first sentence that interests the reader and tells the main details of the story. Something along the lines of, “A Wasilla teen was arrested for destroying an elderly man’s car with a baseball bat in a Wal-Mart parking lot early Monday morning” or “Margaret Thatcher, an 80 year old woman from Detroit, is experiencing the joy of becoming a millionaire in less than 4 weeks.”
I want to know more about these interesting stories. A good leading sentence will give the reader something interesting to think about, and make the reader ask questions. Why did the teen go crazy? How in the world did an 80 year old woman become a millionaire that fast?
Story articles are mainly found on the web, newspapers, and magazines, but can also be found in many other advertising mediums and are a powerful way to bring a human touch and relevancy to your writing.
Type 3: Personal Experience Articles
“How I Quit Drinking”
“Surviving 5 Children”
“Overcoming The Urge to Speed”
A personal experience article focuses on your own experience to teach or inform other’s about what you’ve learned. The key to these articles is to make them about the reader, and not the author.
If you’re writing how you survived 5 children, you are of course writing about the stresses of being a parent. And while you may have experienced your share of spills, screams, fights, and sleepless nights, you must make sure you are relating to the reader. What can you share to help your reader cope with the difficulty of raising kids, or what can they learn or how can they benefit from your experience?
A personal experience article can be particularly helpful for your reader as they are gaining insight from someone who lived it.
While these types of articles are not as commonly published as story or list articles, well-written personal experience articles are found in a variety of publications.
Type 4: Facts Articles
“Biography of Paris Hilton”
“Mating Habits of The Green Spotted Leopard”
“Cars Made in 1929”
A fact article is an article that tells the facts. Simple enough? When you think fact article, think Wikipedia, or better yet, an encyclopedia. Fact articles present facts about a subject we want to know more about.
A key to a fact article is to make reference quality sources. Where did you get your information? If you want to come across as an expert or authority on the subject, you will need to tell the reader where you got your information. Using quality reputable sources will lend to your credibility. Also, stay as unbiased as possible. A fact article that uses opinion words is not really a fact article. It’s an opinion article. You wouldn’t say “Theodore Roosevelt was the greatest President of all time” or “It’s fun to watch leopard’s mate” because that’s an opinion. You just want the cold hard facts.
Fact articles are normally published in encyclopedias, web encyclopedias, or informational websites, but don’t be be surprised to find fact articles published in newspapers, newsletters, and brochures.
Type 5: Opinion or Analysis Articles
“Why I Hate Burger King Advertising”
“America is The Land of The Free… Sometimes.”
“McCann Should Stay in Jail”
Opinion articles give the author’s opinion on a particular subject. For instance, if you were outraged that a company was taking advantage of it’s customers, you might give your opinion on the matter to let other people know.
The best kind of opinion articles are those that use analysis to back up their opinion. You don’t want to just give your opinion, you want to prove why your opinion is right. To prove your opinion, you will need to cite facts and clearly lay out what is being debated.
Unlike fact articles, opinion articles are most often biased because they take a stance on the issue.
Opinion articles are normally published in newspapers and on websites. They are also found in magazines (think fashion articles). Be careful recognizing opinion articles, because some of them are presented as if they are fact.
Because there are many different types of articles, it would be impossible to go over each type. There are many ways to approach articles, and some times the author will choose to combine different elements of different article types. For instance, some prefer to write their personal experience articles in an easy to follow list format. Below are some other types of articles that you might encounter as a writer.
“The New Bond Movie: Flop”
“New Restaurant is Top Notch”
“Ten Reasons [Insert product] is a Good Value”
A review article reviews a business, service, event, or product. A review is biased because the author will be quantifying the value of what they are reviewing. The best reviews set forth a criteria to which the reviewed item is set to. For instance, consider the statement, “The company is number one in writing services because it has an award winning staff, free online courses, premium writing services, excellent writer’s resources, and a thriving community that is dedicated to improving the quality of the written word.” Now, of course, each of these would need to be proved, and the author should consider what other sites online are offering these similar services and how they rank. That’s what a review article is all about.
Recommending (or Not Recommending) Articles
“Why You Shouldn’t Be Eating at McDonalds”
“Hanes Underwear is The Best”
“BlueStart Hosting Increased My Business Sales”
The key to a recommendation article is to inform the reader about 1) what you are recommending and 2) why you recommend it. If you are recommending a service, business, product, or event, the key is to not make it a sales pitch. You should be informative and present the facts as to why you are recommending that the reader do something. For example, if you are recommending why someone should choose Hanes underwear, you might reference other underwear brands and how they are not made of the same quality, comfortable fabric as Hanes. Let others know your personal experience as to why you recommend or don’t recommend the certain product.
Less Common Other Articles You May Write: Cause and Effect Articles, Compare and Contrast Articles, and Medical Articles.
Use these different article archetypes and watch your writing success soar.