Writing several articles at once might seem pretty much impossible to do if you are just starting to write Ezine articles and find producing them one at a time hard enough. However, writing articles in clusters is not difficult and, once you understand how it’s done, you will enjoy the benefits. A group of articles written as a cluster can easily be turned into a series but for now we are looking at the how to produce a group of unique articles written at the same time around a central topic.
Some of the main benefits are as follows:
- Writing articles in groups saves time when you are researching your subject;
- It gives you space to fully develop a theme;
- It gives you more unique content for your blog or website;
- It gives you extra articles to submit to ezines or to sell.
When you write an article for publication in ezines, you have to keep the word count within certain guidelines (about 500-800 words is usually most acceptable). If your article is too long, ezines might not be prepared to give up the space required to reproduce it. If the article is too short, there is a danger Ezine publishers won’t take it seriously. Cluster writing is definitely not about turning out a number of truncated Ezine articles instead of one full length one. Neither is it about stretching or padding your material (you’ll only ever get a poor fit if you try that). It is about making full use of ideas and not wasting time or words.
If you are writing about a topic you know well, you will find yourself constantly having to edit your articles to keep the word count down. Instead of throwing away the excess material, paste it immediately into another document with a new title. I would suggest keeping the titles similar – eg “Puppy Training, Why To Do It” and “Puppy Training, When To Start”, you can swiftly move on to “Puppy Training, The Best Methods” etc. Don’t let the document get too big, anytime your word processor reaches page 2, it’s time to think about breaking it into two.
As you write, be alert to any tendency to wander off topic. You might be writing about how it is one thing to have a cute puppy jump on your bed but quite a different experience when that pup has become a 10 stone hound with muddy paws. Suddenly you remember something about doggy vitamins. Instead of popping the idea into one of your puppy training articles as an aside, put it into another new document which you can later use as part of a new cluster about dog nutrition. With one quick “cut and paste” you have kept one article focussed on the main topic and saved an idea, which might otherwise have been wasted, for a new project.
If you are writing an article on an unfamiliar topic, you might think you won’t have the problem of needing to cut down your article and will have trouble finding enough to say. However, if you undertake proper research about the subject matter (as you should if you want your article to be taken seriously), you are bound to come across material which relates to the article you have planned but does not quite fit it. Make notes of all this related material. If you get ideas for further articles as you are researching, make a note of these ideas. Research for article writing takes time, so make the most of it. Even if you can only manage two articles on an unfamiliar subject, it is two for the price of one.
Let’s look at how to use just one passing idea as the basis for a group of articles. Take the thought “my first home business venture reminds me of Apollo 13”. To make this idea into an article, we have to say what is behind the initial thought. Otherwise, the reader will be left thinking “What, it nearly got lost in space?” or “You were trying to land on the moon?”. With no explanation or clarification, the idea is meaningless to anyone but you.
The thoughts behind the idea could be about a series of numerical coincidences in regard to events, about surviving near-disasters, about how duct tape solved a huge problem and about the power of prayer. With all these four things encapsulated in the idea, you have the basis of a four paragraph article. It does not require much of an imagination stretch to see that you could have the basis for four separate articles clustered around a central idea.
Never let an idea or a word go to waste. For the time and effort cluster writing saves, it is worth trying to use the technique even in the early days of your Ezine article writing career. Once you try it, you will realise it’s even better than “buy one get one free”.