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article imageDigital Journal Tip: How Do I Make My Articles Stand Out?

By Tea Lulic     Jun 8, 2007 in
Do you ever wonder how come your articles do not get noticed even though you have put so much effort into them? Do you want to improve your articles and get more upvotes? Here are some tips I hope will help you improve your experience on Digital Journal.
Tea L. for Digital Journal - For weeks now I have noticed that many users have been wondering about the questions listed above, so I decided to write-up an article that will hopefully help you or at least lead you in the right direction.
Firstly, I would like to tell you a small part of Franklin's (me) history on Digital Journal. I joined Digital Journal back in November and I remember that before I posted my first story, I was clueless as to what this site was all about. My first two posts were downvoted by other users because they were duplicates. When that occurred, I thought of closing my DJ account but I never did.
If you are a newbie on this site, I know exactly how you feel because I was a newbie once myself. It took me a couple of months to figure out how this site works and why would someone, for example, downvote my comments (that took me a long time to figure out!).
Since DJ expectations are different now than they were before, the quality of articles has increased drastically over a couple of weeks. Nowadays, you are expected to do further research, write longer articles and use other sources. So, the main question is: How do I become more successful on DJ?
These are my tips for you. You might disagree with some of them, but I truly hope that this list will help you out and lead you in the right direction.
Question #1: I have registered and got approved to write for DJ. What now?
Tip: Firstly, check out the site. Check your account and look on your right hand side. There, you will find the Announcements page (you can also scroll all the way at the bottom of the page and find Announcements section). Reading the announcements section will help you get a sense of what Digital Journal is all about. Moreover, in these articles, you will find some great tips to help you integrate in the environment.
The next thing you should is check out the articles already posted. Take a look at how people write and how they reference their articles. Get to know the system.
Question #2: Ok. I am ready for my first post, but I don't know what to write about!
Tip: Don't worry. We've all been there at one point or another. Firstly, take a look at your username and ask yourself "What do I want _________ to be known for? What is something unique that I possess that others don't?" To help you answer this question, think about what interests you and what you have a passion for. Make a list of things that truly make you tick because it is important to bring some variety with you. The more variety you have, the better off you are.
Question #3: I have found a topic I want to write about. Now what?
Tip: You can approach this in 2 different ways:
1. Article is from another website.
Take a look at the article. What does it talk about? What are the main ideas/points that the author is trying to make? The author might be talking about for example DNA replication. What is DNA replication? How does it tie in with the article? Look at the pros and cons of it. Then, research the topic more. It is always better to use lots of different sources to back up your point, so don't be restricted to only one source. When you need to type in the link, link to the original article you've got the idea from. All other links should go either underneath the article or you should link them somewhere in your article (like this).
After this, summarize the article and add your research to it. In this way you will make sure you have clarified all of the points needed for the topic to be understood.
2. You decide to write your own article.
Whatever the topic may be, make sure you research it fully. Then write up a draft. List your sources again either at the bottom of the page or embedded in the article. This is just in case readers want to know more about the topic you have written about.
More Tips To Help You Out With Both Of These Approaches
1. Add Pictures: If you're writing about architecture for example it is interesting to add different pictures to help out in visualization of your words. In other words, it enriches your article and readers do not have to bend their mind as to how something would look like.
Please note: It is also important to represent your article with a picture. Most probably that picture will draw reader's attention and make them want to read your article. Try to find unique, twisted images which will draw the reader's attention.
2. Add Videos: This is only if the topic goes with the video and the video is there only to add more information to your already brilliant piece of work.
3. Find a Topic Which is Different: Look for something you know others will not post about. This will, again, make your article stick out more. Use websites such as digg.com to find unique ideas (there are more websites out there similar to digg, but I can't think of any at the top of my head).
4. Write-up an Attention Grabbing Introduction: Keep to the point. Introduction is supposed to grab reader's attention and make them want to read further, so don't just write a small sentence which doesn't say much. Write something that you think is the most interesting part of your article. If you think something is interesting, I am sure many others will find it interesting also.
5. Watch Out for the Conclusion: Sometimes a reader will read the introduction and the conclusion but will only skim through the middle. So make sure your conclusion is as good as your introduction and to the point.
6. Quote: This is an important part of your articles. The more quotes you have, the stronger your points. You don't want to have an article that is just a summary. Summarize one part of the article and then quote to back it up. Summarize another part and then quote again. Quotes always enrich the article.
7. Check for Duplicates: If there is someone else who wrote about your topic, read their article and if you have a totally different point of view and you think it is necessary to show that point of view, then write-up an article on that. It would be a really good thing to Group it with the other article. If you agree with the already posted article but want to add something to it, just post a comment on the article. The author will appreciate it and love you for it.
8. Type Good "Search Words": Right now, we're supposed to type in 3 different words which also check for duplicates. If your topic is for example "Caves on Mars," the three appropriate words would be "caves, Mars, space." However, the more specific your words, the more chances you have at someone searching through for example Google and finding your article.
9. Some Readers Might be Clueless as to What You're Talking About: Always keep in mind that the reader might not understand what you're talking about especially if you use big scientific terms or technology terms, so try to explain it a bit more. Help them understand and learn something new.
10. Use Spell Check Before Posting: It happens to all of us that we make mistakes in spelling especially if we're eager to post an article. But it is important that you spell check or proof read your articles. If you already activate your article and you notice a grammar mistake, 'edit' the article.
11. Comment, Upvote and Interact with Other Users: Offer help if one of the users needs it. Also, the author always appreciates when people comment on his/hers article. You're more likely to get more upvotes if you "make friends." You don't have to agree with the article, but you should still comment and give your point of view. If we all agreed, it would be like "Here's a lollipop. I love you. I agree with you. Hugs." You want debates. That's what Digital Journal is all about.
12. Quality over Quantity: It is always better to post 1 article which has a better quality than 3 which don't say much. Even if you don't get many upvotes, you will get noticed. Trust me. Readers appreciate more a well written and researched report than a small report which doesn't add much. If your article is written better, your number of views will also increase (at least that is in my case).
Tips For Writing Your Own Articles:
If you want to get a full journalistic experience, you might want to write about things you have noticed in your community or about events that are happening in your city. How do you prepare for this?
1. Bring a Pen with you: No pen, no news, can't write anything down = no article =).
2. Bring a Camera: Take pictures. It adds to your article. If you can take a video - even better.
3. Keep Your Eyes Open: Look around. Look at the people and their reactions to the situation. Incorporate that in your article to fill in the gaps.
More Information:
How do I embed images?
For the image presenting your article: If you go on 'Post News' and get to the page where you can write-up your draft, look on your right hand side. It will say "Upload New Image." Click on that and follow the instructions.
If you want to put in more pictures: Click on 'My Account' -> Tools -> 'Images' -> Browse = upload image and then copy the Embed Code. Paste it where you want your picture to show up. You can also state whether you want your picture on the right, left or in the middle.
How do I embed videos?
If you go to the draft page and scroll all the way down, you will see "Check if you want to add any of the following embedded media" -> checkmark 'Embedded video' -> copy the embed code from the original website and paste it in the big box right underneath it. Then click 'Save & View' and check if the video is working (just in case).
How do I link in the article?
Above the actual draft, you will see 'Link.' Highlight the words you want the website linked to and then click on 'Link' and paste the original address of the website. You will get something that looks like this.
So, my dear Digital Journal friends, I truly hope this post helps you out. I hope it will make newbies less confused. Do not forget that Digital Journal is all about writing and debating. If you've got anything to add to this post or you have any questions, post them in the comment section. Happy posting and good luck! =)
By the way: For anyone who has a Facebook Account, Digital Journal now has a group which is up and running. Feel free to join it! =)
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