The Perfect Article Summary

Today, we turn our focus to one of the often forgotten elements of each and every article – the summary.

Apart from the title, the summary is one of the prominent things that’ll spark a potential reader’s interest in your article. It’s one of a few things that’s displayed on the EzineArticles homepage, the article’s category homepage and RSS feeds along with links to the article.

In other words, when combined with the title, it’s the article writing equivalent of a first impression.

Good summaries give a short, accurate representation of the article so that readers can quickly get an idea of what can be gained from reading the article. In this video, I’ll share 5 tips to help you create that perfect article summary to go along with each of your articles.

Downloadable Versions:
WMV Format     MOV Format     MV4 Format     MP3 Format

Writing the Perfect Article Summary

  • Brief and Catchy – Good summaries are about 2-5 sentences in length and get right to the point. Don’t waste any words that won’t get you any closer to hooking in the reader. For example, you don’t need to start each summary with something like “This article contains …” Just get right to it.
     
  • Work Backwards – Write the entire article first, and then use your concluding paragraph as a guide for what to put in the summary. This is a good strategy, especially if you sometimes change the direction of an article while you’re writing.
     
  • WHY, Not HOW – Sell them on WHY your presentation of material is important to them and let them know they’ll get the HOW if they continue reading. Convince potential readers that your article will be the place for them to get quality, original information.
     
  • Avoid Telling All – Don’t put all of the information from the article into the summary. If you do, you’ll decrease the likelihood that people will actually read your full article. Keep your tips and strategies out of your summary so readers feel compelled to read your article.
     
  • No Promotion – The summary is not a place for promotional material. So, never include your name or your email address. Never use any links or blatant self-promotion. And never use your article summary for a personal sales pitch.

NOTE: If you don’t put anything into the Article Summary field on the submission form, we’ll automatically use the first 2 or 3 sentences from your article body as the summary.

The perfect article summary is within reach. Now, go and use these tips when crafting your next set of articles to get more potential readers interested and reading your great content.

26 Comments »


1
Craig Schwartz writes:

Excellent summary (no pun intended) about making content components more powerful.

Comment provided May 13, 2011 at 10:15 AM

[Reply]

2
Linda Maclean writes:

I look forward to getting these videos for EzineArticles. They are so ‘on the Marc’. Thanks for a great job well done.

Comment provided May 13, 2011 at 10:52 AM

[Reply]

3
npcome writes:

“Avoid Telling All” at this point I don’t understand. It’s not should the more detailed, the better?

Comment provided May 13, 2011 at 12:54 PM

[Reply]

The article body is where you want to provide all the detail – not in the summary. The summary is just meant to generate interest and draw potential readers into your article. Giving away too much information in your summary gives them no reason to read the article!

[Reply]

4
Burt Richard writes:

Marc, is it possible to get an interview with you about Article Marketing and the benefits of it?

Thanks,
Burt

Comment provided May 13, 2011 at 1:54 PM

[Reply]

5
Barbara Miller writes:

Great tips for writing a meaningful article. You explained it just as I have read one should do: #1 Briefly tell them what you are going to tell them. #2 Tell them. #3 Tell them how to apply
what you told them. I am confused just posting this:)

Comment provided May 13, 2011 at 1:59 PM

[Reply]

6
Philip Skinner writes:

Thanks for these tips Marc I really did not see the relevance in the summaries part of the article but now I have stopped to take a few minutes out and with the help from your video tips its so obvious to sum up – dictionary.reference – Synonyms
1. outline, prcis. Summary, brief, digest, synopsis are terms for a short version of a longer work. A summary is a brief statement or restatement of main points, especially as a conclusion to a work: a summary of a chapter. A brief is a detailed outline, by heads and subheads, of a discourse (usually legal) to be completed: a brief for an argument. A digest is an abridgement of an article, book, etc., or an organized arrangement of material under heads and titles: a digest of a popular novel; a digest of Roman law. A synopsis is usually a compressed statement of the plot of a novel, play, etc.: a synopsis of Hamlet. 2. short, condensed, compact, succinct. 3. curt, terse, peremptory.

Couldn’t have said it better myself

Comment provided May 13, 2011 at 2:19 PM

[Reply]

7
Carl writes:

Excellent article Marc, I always used a few lines out of the body of the article to put into the summary field, but now that you have pointed out this strategy I will be putting more thought into the process.

Thanks again Marc for sharing new ideas.

Comment provided May 13, 2011 at 6:00 PM

[Reply]

8

My doubts on summary field is cleared now.

Comment provided May 13, 2011 at 7:41 PM

[Reply]

9
Kenneth Janczak writes:

Thank You Marc. In my past articles I just left it up to EzineArticles to place a few paragraphs in the summary box. I wont do that anymore and will pay stricter attention to what goes into the summary.

Comment provided May 13, 2011 at 8:24 PM

[Reply]

10
Jim Oldfield writes:

Thanks Marc. I’d often defaulted to using the first paragraph or so of my article body. I now see the benefit of embedding the WHY into the summary: to make reading my article is irresistible to the reader.

Comment provided May 13, 2011 at 9:39 PM

[Reply]

11
Nishant Shah writes:

Really awesome concept, after doing this, it will be very catchy and attractive to all reader to read articles, I look foreword it adding it to all my articles.

Comment provided May 14, 2011 at 12:47 AM

[Reply]

12
Sushant writes:

That’s really awesome…I always like writing a summary at the end of my blog post and also encourage guest authors on my blog to do the same. This post deserves a FB like and retweet from me.

Regards,
Sushant Risodkar

Comment provided May 14, 2011 at 4:23 AM

[Reply]

13
Perry Mink writes:

Thanks Marc, I’ve also been using the first few paragraphs of the article as my summary. I’ll try to get more creative with my summary from now on.

Thanks

Comment provided May 14, 2011 at 9:53 AM

[Reply]

14
Kay Rosenthal writes:

These tips are so helpful! Thanks for making EzineArticles so easy to work with. It has helped my website be more successful and helped me spread my message of health and wellness. Thanks, Kay Rosenthal PhD, RN

Comment provided May 14, 2011 at 3:45 PM

[Reply]

15
John writes:

I tend to be lazy and use the articles first paragraph but I’ll try crafting a summary and see what difference it makes to my reading rate.

Comment provided May 14, 2011 at 6:32 PM

[Reply]

16
Oris WilliamsF1 writes:

I’ve also been using the first few paragraphs of the article as my summary. I’ll try to get more creative with my summary from now on.

Comment provided May 15, 2011 at 9:22 PM

[Reply]

17

I’ll now be putting a lot more thought into my article summaries, and not just defaulting to the first few sentences of the intro paragraph. Thanks Marc.

Comment provided May 16, 2011 at 5:46 AM

[Reply]

18
Larry Icabandi Nabiong writes:

Thanks Marc for this great advice. It is really important to ensure a great summary for a great content.

Comment provided May 17, 2011 at 8:25 PM

[Reply]

19
staff training writes:

Yeah, I agree to those tips on how to create a good article. Thank you Marc for the video that is posted here.

Comment provided May 19, 2011 at 2:44 AM

[Reply]

20
David Cairns writes:

Marc – great content as always. I get video tidbits from different sites but I would rank yours as 5 star material. I actually look forward to your short yet powerful information. I just wanted to say thanks.

Comment provided May 19, 2011 at 6:33 PM

[Reply]

21
Hollly Weiss writes:

Excellent article, Marc. I’ve been too complacent about falling into using the first 3-5 lines of the article. Time to step it up. Your articles are always on target. Thank you.

Comment provided May 22, 2011 at 4:20 AM

[Reply]

22

Very good tips for making a good summary. It will help me in improving my writing work. Thank you so much.

Comment provided May 24, 2011 at 7:40 AM

[Reply]

23
Suzie Doscher writes:

Marc, your tips are so helpful Thank you. You get to the point with your advice in such easily understood manner. Your input makes writing so much more enjoyable.

Comment provided May 25, 2011 at 10:03 AM

[Reply]

24
r4i writes:

Marc, Keep working, great job! Thank You.

Comment provided May 25, 2011 at 9:48 PM

[Reply]

25
Bounama writes:

This is a nice way for getting good summaries. I’ve always messed up mines. Thanks for this insight. I rate it: excellent!

Comment provided June 7, 2011 at 2:03 PM

[Reply]

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a comment

Please read our comment policy before commenting.