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How To Write Articles For Others

Posted by on May 5, 2009

As some of you know, I do writing on the side from all the other stuff I do. You know about my book writing series which is listed above, and of course I’ve talked about writing articles for pay and creating article packages, of which one is now off the market.

A question I wanted to address is how one can write articles about things one knows nothing about. Most of us adults have forgotten what it was like to have to write research papers when we were in school, and truthfully, I’m not sure that skill hasn’t been lost with today’s kids. Anyone can parrot back what they can find on the internet. The real test of skill is taking researched content and putting it into your own words.

I’d like to talk about a writing project I did last Sunday for a new client, which will give an example of how it can be done. I was tasked to write 7 articles on a subject that I knew nothing about. Though I was given some keyword phrases, the purchaser told me I could pretty much write on anything I wanted to, as long as I got the topic right.

The first thing I did was copy his keyword phrases into Excel. Then I went to Google and typed in the main topic, just to see what came up. Based on the first page, and I have my main Google page set to give me 50 links at a time, I came up with 13 article topics I thought I could write on. I wasn’t sure those would be the final choices, but I was going to start there.

I went to 25 of the first pages that were listed, just to see what they were all about. When I saw information that I thought would help me, I copied it and pasted it into a different Excel spreadsheet, then formatted the columns so I could read it all. I then looked at certain words I was going to highlight, and looked to see how many different articles I felt I could get out of the original content I’d copied.

I came up with four ideas immediately, and three of them fit the topics and keywords that I’d initially been asked for. I decided to start off writing about the main topic, which I knew would lead into writing the other articles. This is always how I do things; for instance, when I wrote my first article package, which was on Twitter (that’s the one that’s now been pulled), the first article was on what Twitter was all about. That’s always the easiest article to write when you know something about the topic, but even when you don’t, it’s usually the easiest topic.

Next I went ahead and wrote the other four articles based on the information I already had. I didn’t plagiarize a single thing; every line I wrote was original, even if I used the same content. It was easy to do because I had multiple sources for each topic, and they all described the same thing either with the same exact words or different words. If the words were all the same, I’m creative enough to figure out other words; if they were different, I just altered some of them, rearranged others, and still came up with original wording.

At this point I still had three articles to write, so I decided to do some research on a couple more specific topics the client had mentioned, just to see what I could come up with. And I was able to figure out how to write two more articles on those keywords, and it really wasn’t all that difficult in the end. The thing is, if there’s enough research information on any topic, it’s fairly easy to write articles, and on these topics, there was.

Now it was time for the final article, and with the original research, I actually already had another topic in there, so I decided to go ahead and write it, and then I was done.

I shared the first article with the client to see how he liked it; he loved it! He liked it so much he went ahead and paid me before I’d even asked him to; how’s that for writing love? Two days later, he commissioned some more articles, and life isn’t so bad writing for him, even though one of the topics was somewhat difficult, as it didn’t have as much original material to pull from.

These articles ended up being between 439 and 656 words, and he only wanted each article to be more than 400 words. And, for that first set, it took me less than 2 hours to write them all. What’s he using them for? I didn’t ask, as, when you’re writing for someone else, you just write and give them away, and that’s that.

Anyway, that’s how I did it. If you have any more detailed questions, other than what the articles were on (no, I’m not giving that up), I’ll be glad to answer. For those of you who do write articles on something you have to research, how do you go about it?

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I still find it hard to write articles for others because the articles you write for them might not be up to their liking

May 5th, 2009 | 3:32 PM

If the articles aren’t to their liking, then they’ll never use you again and you both move on. I mean, you write your blog, and I’m betting you don’t care what people have to say about it. And, if you work for anyone, you have that same issue. At least my way I’m in control of things.

May 5th, 2009 | 5:05 PM

Man, I wish I had you sitting next to me when I was at school Mitch. You would have come in real handy. I would have even given you my lunch money.

May 6th, 2009 | 9:57 AM

First, shouldn’t you be in bed by now?

Second, you’d have hated me, Sire, because I was Mr. Straight and Narrow as a kid. Military child of a master sergeant; if it wasn’t the right thing to do, I didn’t do it. 🙂

May 6th, 2009 | 10:11 AM
Tim Manni:


This is the first time I’m checking out this particular blog (I’ve only ever visited TopFinance). I really like the idea of the excel spreadsheet. At first it didn’t make sense, but as I thought about it, it really is an excellent way to organize sources and subtopics.

It’s been a while since I wrote a research paper, but I like to think that my blog posts are mini research papers (but as you pointed out, with far less of your own words — block quotes make writing so much quicker). Perhaps that’s where blogging is a writer’s downfall — it’s too quick. But all the same, blogging has got a bad wrap, not all of which I believe is deserved.

Thanks for the advice,

May 6th, 2009 | 11:46 AM

Welcome to this blog, Tim; now you’ve visited two of my three. 🙂

I think that, for some people, blogging isn’t all that fast at all, I tend to write pretty fast, and have a lot to say. However, I notice that, at least on some topics, people tend to parrot the same thing over and over. So, for something original, it might take longer to put something together.

But there’s something different in trying to be a professional writer for hire. You’re lucky that almost no one wants you to write an article in an hour, though I could, based on the fact that they’d have trouble doing it themselves. It’s nice to know, though, that there are things one can do to help them in their writing that, oddly enough, they may not see as important for their writing, such as Excel.

May 6th, 2009 | 1:33 PM

Hi Mitch,
I have a hard enough time writing about stuff I think I know about, much less stuff I know nothing about. 🙂
I like your system. I am amazed you did that in 2 hours! You have a gift.
~ Steve, the trade show guru

Trade Show Guru´s last blog post..Trade Show Exhibit Booths and SEO

May 6th, 2009 | 12:23 PM

Thanks Steve. I think the best feature for myself is that I can speed read and retain things pretty well, so if there’s enough information I can usually discern what I can do differently. And, luckily, when it’s news, you’re pretty much expected to copy certain parts of it to get it right, so that always helps to a degree.

May 6th, 2009 | 1:35 PM

The Digital Point forums has a section on content where they list a lot of freelance opportunities to write (sometimes rewrite as well) for others.

Ajith Edassery´s last blog post..Blog Scraping – How to deal with it?

May 7th, 2009 | 1:32 AM
gagan @ Miami Web Development:

Most of the times people want articles to submit in 100 of article directories . they don’t care what they get (aleast in my case I write all crap and nobody even read them ) .These article directories have created lot of employment huhhh

May 7th, 2009 | 3:30 AM

Maybe that’s it, Gagan. From my perspective, I don’t mind how people are using them, especially since they’re relatively short. I know which types I’ll be writing for myself.

May 7th, 2009 | 8:29 AM

That they do, and I’ve bid on a couple of things there, but for the most part, my price can’t compete with some of the offers being made from folks who don’t live in the U.S.

May 7th, 2009 | 8:27 AM

When someone says thy can write a set of articles in less than 3 hours it makes me depressed that I’m so slow at doing it. I think maybe the problem I have is doing too much research and having too much information to wade through. Sometimes to write one 300 word article I end up with 4-5 pages of A4 then it just seems to take me a eternity to formulate any text. Or maybe its I’m just not suited to article writing, I have read numerous times though the more you write the easier it becomes, which I’m very much hoping is true.

May 7th, 2009 | 10:01 AM

Khaled, the more you write, the easier it does become. But one can get overwhelmed with too much information from research also. However, a trick around that is to just start writing based on your research, then count to see how many words you’ve written. For every thousand words, you might have created two articles. Just figure out where to break and article and start up again, and you’re good to go. I don’t do that too often, but sometimes I do, where I’ll just sit down and write 2,000 or 4,000 words, then break it up in some fashion, though, when it comes to stories or a rant, I’ll just post the entire thing.

May 7th, 2009 | 10:44 AM
John Dilbeck:

Good afternoon, Mitch.

While I don’t intend to write articles to sell to others, I’m facing a similar situation for the new website I’m planning.

For each of my clients, I’ll be writing multiple articles about their business niche, based on keyword research and profitability guesstimates.

I’m not as fast a writer as you are, but I can research a topic and write about it fairly quickly.

What really slows me down is writing about a topic I know really well. As you and many others have noted, I can get quite verbose and that’s a real problem when I want to write an accurate and thorough article.

I’m going to have to learn how to write articles in the 500 to 1,000 words length.

I was reading a book written by David Eddings where he talks about his writing style (books of over 600 pages) and he said it generally takes him about 100 pages to “clear his throat” and start really writing.

(That’s a paraphrase from my cobweb-filled memory, so it may not be accurate.)

It’s going to be an interesting summer.

Act on your dream!


May 24th, 2009 | 12:57 PM

Hi John,

Actually, if I may, you don’t have to learn how to write shorter articles. What you need to learn, and think about, is taking a long article and breaking it into multiple pages. Whether it’s a blog or a webpage, if you have more pages, more chances to optimize, then it’s better for you in the long run. You can decide how many pages you want to break it up into, but at least you have the option, and I think that kind of thing works great. I’ve done it here and there, mainly on webpages than on this blog.

May 24th, 2009 | 3:46 PM
John Dilbeck:

Good afternoon, Mitch.

That’s good advice and I’ll remember it.

I enjoyed reading your article, too.

Act on your dream!


May 25th, 2009 | 4:04 PM
Victor @

My biggest fear is writing an article that the blog does not like or approve. Given that I am not an expert in the blog’s field, I sometimes don’t feel qualified.
.-= Victor @´s last blog ..Katana-Ya in San Francisco =-.

March 16th, 2010 | 1:36 AM

Victor, writing articles for others is always dicey. One of my clients liked an article I wrote, but his client didn’t because it contained some negative stuff about a particular topic. Sometimes folks don’t want truth, and if that’s the case, then I write stuff that has nothing to do with particular subjects. At least for those clients; I’ll often write those for myself and find a way to use them.

March 16th, 2010 | 12:27 PM
Peyton Rivera:

sometimes it is hard to write original articles for blogs but i always seems to manage creating fresh original content for blogs,`.

May 23rd, 2010 | 12:48 PM

I never have any problems with it, Peyton; at least for my own blogs.

May 23rd, 2010 | 3:23 PM
Avery Nelson:

I also focus my energy on Article Writing. Article writing also promotes your website and branding. -*~

June 28th, 2010 | 1:19 AM

There is no doubt. If you are a teacher in school, you must be a favorite teacher for the students. You explained very clearly. Thanks for sharing the knowledge. I will keep on writing creatively.

May 26th, 2011 | 2:41 AM