Things to Avoid Article Template

Seek Pleasure vs. Avoid Pain: Why Not Both?

It’s widely known that people will do more to avoid pain than to gain pleasure. If someone is happy, they won’t necessarily look for ways to improve upon that happiness. However, if someone is in pain, they most certainly will want to find ways to be pain-free, including how to prevent or avoid pain.

There are more articles that focus on what to do (overcome present pain), than what to avoid (completely bypass pain and continue on the road to pain-free happiness). One theory for this discrepancy is the difference of tone or attitude, i.e., positive tone vs. negative tone.

Approaching a topic by stating “do this” or “don’t do this” resembles a parent scolding a child. Readers don’t like to be scolded. However, they do like informative tips that are engaging and give them the choice to find what best suits them and their situation.

So how do you write a Things to Avoid article without sounding negative? Here are two keys to think about:

Evidence always wins. Readers shy away from outbursts of displeasure, but they love constructive criticism. Use your personal and professional experience to provide descriptive recommendations to help the reader understand why you are an authority on the topic.

Stay positive! This can be as simple as avoiding words with negative connotation, such as “but,” “don’t,” “however,” etc. Also, lead with the benefit (i.e., how your reader can gain pleasure, peace of mind, etc., by avoiding X, Y, and Z).

One final element that binds these two keys is this: By taking preventive action to avoid pain, you will find pleasure. Whether it’s more time to seek out pleasure or simply a better, more pleasing route – avoiding pain isn’t negative, nor is it denial. It’s getting on a path to a better, pain-free life.

Now, armed with your evidence and a positive attitude, write a Things to Avoid article using the following template:

  • Title – Pick the niche area you’re going to discuss. Use a title with keywords related to that niche area.
  • Introduction – Lead with a positive by describing (in 3-5 sentences) how the reader will benefit by avoiding a place, person, activity, trait, etc.
  • Body – Briefly tell a related story about the thing you are advising people to avoid. Sharing an experience will help you build trust and credibility. You’ll become more believable if you have experienced something yourself.
  • List – List the things to avoid and/or steps on how to avoid them.
  • Conclusion – Remind readers of what to avoid and how to do it. Keep the conclusion short, sweet, and to the point.

Once you finish writing, look back and make sure you have delivered on any promise you made in your Things to Avoid article title. If you say: Here are “10 Things Health-Conscious Shoppers Should Avoid at the Supermarket,” then ensure 10 items are numbered in the article body to avoid appearing misleading.

Go ahead and give this template a try to build your authoritative portfolio with quality, original articles.

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Have you written an article using the Things to Avoid style? Share your article and experiences in the comments section below.



I just want to know Christopher how can I use the resource box in the appropriate manner. I want to know more about it.

Comment provided November 5, 2012 at 9:45 AM



Your Resource Box is the appropriate place to include information about yourself and/or your business. You may include up to 2 self-serving links to your personal and/or business sites in your Resource Box, if you wish.

For more information on how to use your Resource Box effectively, I recommend this article:



Les writes:

Thanks for the tips! I think i may have been guilty of sounding like i’m “scolding” a bit myself!

Comment provided November 5, 2012 at 11:26 AM


Chris Downs writes:

Great information! This will help me avoid the pain of a post or book that does not meet the proper criteria. I want to share information and help others have fun while providing value.

Comment provided November 5, 2012 at 11:33 AM


Santanu writes:

Very useful. I am completely agree with this. Its very easy to share any information about How to do. But actually users are looking for why you should do that or what are the negative points, if any.

Comment provided November 5, 2012 at 11:54 AM


Ricky writes:

Great tips, sometime I try to avoid using “# (10) Things…” and use symbols like “*” or “-” instead.

Comment provided November 5, 2012 at 12:20 PM



I must confess I have scolded my readers in my articles.

l’ll rectify my mistakes.
Thanks for the blog.

Comment provided November 5, 2012 at 2:25 PM


feathers scott writes:

i stumbled upon this article by accident but this came right on time. this will not only change the way i write my articles but my marketing approach in general. thanks a ton!

Comment provided November 5, 2012 at 2:37 PM


barbara rubel writes:

Positive points always win out over negative points. Readers want solutions to their problems not a list of problems. When creating a title, think on the positive said. For example, if you were writing an article on avoiding certain behaviors, rather than saying, “10 ways to avoid . . .” you can say, “10 creative ways to avoid . . .” or “10 Great ways to stop . . .”

Comment provided November 5, 2012 at 4:42 PM


Lance Winslow writes:

I can see this article template working well in many categories – small business, relationships, religion, education – self help – etc.

This is a very smart template. I might try 20-30 of these before the end of the year. I’ll report back how it goes, but I am confident they will serve the purpose and be enjoyed by readers. This is a very wise template thanks.

Comment provided November 5, 2012 at 4:47 PM


Peter Nehemia writes:

I have never written an article of this sort, may be because I used to keep the identification of the problem for myself and tend to express only the solution. But, it is good to try.

Comment provided November 5, 2012 at 6:22 PM


Randall Magwood writes:

The smallest notions when writing articles can make all the difference as to how your article/advice will be perceived. I think this blog post hit it right on the head.

Comment provided November 5, 2012 at 8:43 PM



Great article. I love reading high level stuff like this. Avoid pain–not focus on pleasure. Great.

Comment provided November 5, 2012 at 9:55 PM


kriya writes:

It is very very useful . Thanks for providing this .

Comment provided November 5, 2012 at 10:00 PM


Arun Nair writes:

Hey this is really a great & informative post. I like two points one is informative & second one is positive approach.
Thanks for sharing.

Comment provided November 5, 2012 at 10:59 PM


Darcy Peloquin writes:

Thank for the information! This is really helpful for my case! I usually have problems putting “don’t” and “but” when I wrtie articles. Now I know what to avoid and how to write an effective article!

Thanks, this is really helpful.

Comment provided November 6, 2012 at 8:57 PM


Graham Dragon writes:

Great article, which I will bear in mind. As a Brit marketer I was always taught that we Brits avoid pain but that Americans try to find pleasure. In other words an article on “how to be more successful” should be popular in the States, but in Britain less so than one on “how to avoid failure”. I am therefore fascinated to read that there is probably no such difference. I would be very interested to know if others have worked on this premise too and whether they agree that it may be a false premise.

Comment provided November 12, 2012 at 7:03 AM


Darren Bush writes:

Hi Chris, you’ve really did great post. Most interesting part of your post is the Conclusion – Remind readers of what to avoid and how to do it. Keep the conclusion short, sweet, and to the point.

I like this part most and all over its very informative stuff for me.

Thanks & Regards

Comment provided March 19, 2015 at 11:40 PM


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