Don’t Shave a Yak! 7 Steps to Quickly Write Articles

Yak-Blog 7-2-15It’s that time again, newsletter time! Are you stuck in front of a blank page or computer screen? Do you struggle each time you have to write? People seem to find all other tasks preferable to writing an article. There’s a term for it: “shaving the yak.” Championed by Seth Godin, marketer and author extraordinaire, “shaving the yak” means that when faced with writing, some people find themselves doing any other chore they can think of, eventually finding themselves down at the zoo, shaving yaks.

Writing can be painful to many people, but it doesn’t have to be.

Here are 7 steps to write an article quickly and without the painful struggle

1. Pick a topic that appeals to your readers. This needs to be what they want to know about, so you need a way to ask. Either ask them directly (in person or using a survey are two possible approaches), or use keyword search tools to find out the most popular requests on the web in your field.

2. Write to appeal to basic human emotions. While you may know a lot about software engineering, or whatever your field, you have to hit readers where it hurts, where they feel, rather than appeal to their brains. So even if your article is about finding a computer networking solution, base your article on the pain that readers encounter with this problem.

3. Get to the point quickly in the first paragraph. Use keywords you know your ideal clients are looking for. State the problem on an emotional level, then make a bold statement to indicate you have a solution.

Frustrated Businesswoman-Blog 7-2-154. Exaggerate the problem and the pain. Give some real-world examples of how it manifests in your readers’ lives, affecting their work, play, family, physical and mental well-being. Use emotional words that resonate with readers, appealing to universal human dilemmas.

5. Next, suggest three ways to solve the problem. The brain finds it easy to think in threes. Limiting your solutions to three points makes it easier for readers to digest your ideas. It also makes it a whole lot easier and faster to complete your article.

6. Write your title. This is the most important step of all, because your title provides two important keys:
·         It ensures readers will open and read it when they see the title.
·         It ensures that readers will find your article on the web when they search for solutions.

It can be helpful to write your title after the article because you have a clear picture of what the main focus of the article is.

7. Write an effective resource box. Include your name, website and blog URLs, your credentials (what makes you an expert), and how and why people should contact you or use your services. Provide a link to a free report or white paper using an opt-in form on your website to entice them to leave their email address, and make sure you offer something compelling.

Bonus step: Publish your article on an article service like

Boiled down to 3 basic steps that you can do right now to solve your writing woes:

1. Write your topic (make it a painful problem your readers struggle with).
2. Tell them how bad it is.
3. Give them 3 solutions they can use to rectify the problem.

That’s how you can write articles quickly and easily, without having to go down to the zoo to help shave the yaks.

What ways do you find to make writing easier? I’d love to have your comments below.

Deidra Miller
Marketing and Administrative Consultant

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3 Responses to Don’t Shave a Yak! 7 Steps to Quickly Write Articles

  1. Pingback: 5 Tips for Writing Great Subject Lines and Titles | Magic Wing Administration

  2. Jimmy Phelan says:

    Thank you Deidra. Great article. Certainly opened up a whole new chapter for me. Just what I was looking for as I have struggled for some time to write about a challenge facing many of the people I know.


    • Deidra Miller says:

      Hi Jimmy, I’m glad this was helpful! Feel free to share the link to this article with others.


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