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"Cooking is like painting or writing a song. Just as there are only so many notes or colors, there are only so many flavors — it’s how you combine them that sets you apart."
~ Wolfgang Puck, Chef and Restaurateur
Every article follows the same basic structure. It’s like a recipe. The more familiar you are with your ingredients and the more knowledgeable you are about how to combine them, the stronger a writer you will be — and the more you can play with the recipe.
If you’re new to writing articles for publication, it might help to stick to the recipe for a while because it will help you convey your ideas in a way that is clear and compelling. Because readers are also familiar with the recipe, it makes it easier for them to follow along and understand your idea and how to apply your insights to their experience.
Articles are comprised of seven foundational ingredients.
Business writing is practical and efficient. Your readers don’t have time to meander through a story that sets the stage — they want to know what they will learn from your article before they even start reading. So get right to the point and use examples along the way. Here are the seven ingredients to a successful article:
Every article follows some variation of this structure. From journalistic magazines like The Atlantic to business magazines like Inc., Entrepreneur, and Insider, you’ll see this same structure used repeatedly. Even industry trade journals, which are much more research-focused, use this basic structure.
To help you get more familiar with this structure, analyze an article published on your favorite business magazine’s website. See if you can identify each of these elements. Then use this structure to outline your next article — you’ll find the structure offers plenty of room for creativity. And once you’ve got the structure down, you can start to experiment. You’ve got to know the rules before you can break them effectively!