5 Practical Tips to Make Your Articles Incredibly Detailed, Concrete and Credible

Article writing tips

Vagueness makes your content come across as cheap, rushed and shallow. It creates the impression that you either don’t know much about the topic it covers, or you didn’t do enough research about it.

While the readers might not exactly pick it out as the problem, they can subconsciously tell that you are being vague. And when that happens, they never hesitate to click away.

Fixing the problem isn’t complicated, though. Starting with the following five simple steps can re-engage your readers and keep them hooked to your content:

1.   Do your research

As a writer, research is one task you can’t afford to mess with. How you do it will determine whether your content becomes online trash or a fountain to which thirsty readers will keep going back.

You need to back every point, idea or message with authoritative sources. You need to do research before, during and even after writing the text.

Any hesitation on even simple things like the most appropriate synonym to use in a context is an invitation of a research moment. The rule of thumb is that there shouldn’t be a room in your text for ‘I think’ but only for ‘I know.’

2.   Go for specifics terms

After putting an idea down ask yourself if there are more specific terms you can use to describe it. For instance, instead of writing “Sometime last year’ why not write “On the 5th of August last year”?

Write “Eric, John and Mary were present” instead of “Three people were present.” Instead of writing “the car was driving fast,” say ‘The car was driving at about 50 miles per hour.

3.   Show don’t tell

The ‘Show Don’t Tell’ principle is about giving information and letting your readers decide for themselves what characters, ideas and concepts are. It demands that you never decide for the readers. Ok, maybe examples will help here.

Describing an individual as rich, for instance, is both arbitrary and subjective. What are the standards for richness? It should be clear that what you consider to be rich isn’t necessarily what your reader will qualify as rich.

Other vague words, in this regard, would include beautiful, ugly and kind. They mean different things to different people.

For instance, instead of writing ‘She was very kind,’ show the character doing kind acts like giving out food to the homeless, complimenting or even hugging other people.

I repeat: the idea is to let the readers decide whether your character is kind, beautiful or ugly rather than you deciding that for them.

4.   Use examples

Have you ever read a text on a complicated concept? Weren’t you desperate for an example that would make things clearer for you or show the idea in action?

As humans, we understand ideas better when examples are used to impart them in our minds. So, while writing know that an example is always more than welcome. Be generous with examples and your readers will thank you for it.

5.   Apply metaphors and similes

Closely related to examples is the use of metaphors and similes. This is using mental images of what the reader already knows to explain a new idea. For example, instead of saying the grass outside was soft, say the grass outside was as soft as wool (maybe that is an exaggeration, but you get the idea).

The difference between a metaphor and a simile is that while the latter uses ‘as’ or ‘like’ in comparing concepts, the former doesn’t. Thus, ‘The boxer is a giant’ is a metaphor and ‘The boxer looks like a giant’ is a simile.

Image courtesy of Pixabay.

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17 thoughts on “5 Practical Tips to Make Your Articles Incredibly Detailed, Concrete and Credible

  1. Nice piece there, Daniel. I agree with you a 100 percent. But assume I am a freelancer working on a content mill with strict deadlines. Don’t you think most writers will rush to complete the article because they have limited time to conduct proper research? I’m a victim,too. And once again, this information is invaluable.

    1. Hi Francis,

      I understand what you mean. But that is not the case through and through. There are many clients out there who are after quality and not quantity. They will give all the time you need as long as you give them stellar articles.

      Try to transition slowly from the content mill to freelance work that isn’t restrictive regarding deadlines. I have been through what you’ve just described. At one time I used to write up to five articles in a single day. Now I do a maximum of four in a week.

      Just strive to move to where quality and not quantity is appreciated.

  2. Hi Dan,

    Thanks for your reply. Yes, I am doing all I can to stop depending only on content mills.

    Working on projects that are not so urgent will help to craft great pieces.

    Content mills won’t make you a good writer because you’ll be working to meat the deadline

    That is why clients who look for cheap writers on these writing platforms are too quick to reject articles.

    1. Hi Francis,

      Content mills can help you practice writing, but in the long run, you have to transition into quality writing.

      There are many clients out there desperate for high-quality articles, and they are ready to spend on them.

      Working on your writing skills is the best way to make them look your way. And I want to make this a space where people can grow into excellent writers.

      I invite you to become part of the community of writers that will grow here.

  3. Yea, Dan. At the mention of the words “content mills,” I cringe. I’ve always wondered how, in different scenarios, a writer makes $100 for a 500 word article while another makes $1.5 for the same number of words. I agree that if a writer perfects the tips you’ve given, it’s real he/she can command enviable rates.

    1. Yes Cosmos, there a lot of disparity in earnings when it comes to writing. But as you mentioned, the only thing that can take a writer from $1.5 to $100 for a 500-word long article is working her or his writing skills.

      There are people out there desperately looking for good writers. And if a writer can hone her/his skills, commanding high rates ceases being an issue.

  4. Hi Dan.

    Thanks for such an entertaining piece. Very well crafted and informative. A real gem for upcoming novice writers like myself.

    BTW, would you mentor a newbie through the maze of professional writing? I am totally in the dark about where to start and launch my career. Any assistance would be highly appreciated.

    1. Hi Rueben,

      It is good to hear that you found the piece useful. Indeed, the intention of setting up this site is to help people grow as writers. Feel free to propose specific areas of writing you want me to explain in my next posts.

      If you are in Nairobi you should also come and join us at the Writers Guild Kenya. We meet every Friday at Museum hill from 2 to 5 pm

  5. Hi Daniel Nyairo,
    This is a good read that can help one to improve on their writing skills. What is the difference between content mills and normal articles?

    1. Hi Christabel,

      It is good to hear that you find the article useful.

      Content mill articles are written for machines (they satisfy search engine algorithms). The opposite of that are articles written for human consumption (They are written to give the reader value).

      The ideal situation, however, is to write for both humans and machine (But always let the humans come first)

  6. Nice piece Daniel. This article has something quite a few things I did not know. I have always wondered how sites like myams do not put emphasis on quality but rather quantity. You do one original article and 2 rewrites of the same article. Now I understand that this articles are not meant for humans but rather machines! I will try to attend the writers guild Kenya meeting. I am a newbie and would really benefit from some mentoring.

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