A big part of the Odigo experience is the little – but mighty – article. Of course, not all of us are expert writers, but you don’t have to be the next J.K. Rowling to write a great Odigo article. A clear idea, a dash of enthusiasm and some basic editing skills are all you need.
Start at the beginning
The easiest way to start is to write what you love. A fan of ramen? You could write an article about the history of the dish, the different types of ramen, or even where to find the best vegetarian ramen. In writer's jargon, that’s called an angle. With a unique angle, you can bring even the most mundane or cliche topic to life, and never run out of things to write.
While we encourage writing about Japan-related topics you're passionate about, keep in mind thatwe're also writing to help people who are visiting Japan by sharing our tips and experiences.Articles that do that are much more likely to be promoted to the main articles page and earn Odigold Points.
Before you start banging out those paragraphs, let's think about the headline. Investing time early on to craft a solid headline will pay off huge dividends later. A good headline gives an article direction and can mean the difference between ten people reading your article or thousands.
Say you're writing about food in Harajuku. "Things to Eat in Harajuku” is a good start, but it’s a tad cold and unexciting – “7 Amazing Things to Eat in Harajuku” sounds a lot more attractive. But happens when we add that unique angle that we talked about?
7 Amazing Things to Eat in Harajuku Under $5
7 Amazing Things to Eat in Harajuku For Snackaoholics
7 Amazing Things to Eat in Harajuku You Never Knew Existed
For more great article headline ideas, click here.
Put it together
Now that you’ve decided on a topic, angle and headline, it’s time to start writing! The Odigo article editor has all the tools you need to create a polished article. Here’s how to make your first draft:
Enter the relevant tags (keywords that people use to search for your articles – 2-5 tags is a good number)
Upload a cover photo (you can skip this step and do it later)
Enter the contents of your first draft
Check that the dropdown menu says "Draft"
Once submitted, the draft article appears in your profile page's Articles tab (only you can see your drafts). Now let's go back into the draft by clicking the article title and then clicking the "Edit” button at the bottom.
The article editor currently does not have an auto-save function, so we highly recommend drafting articles in a desktop word processor or Google Docs and pasting it in (text only) when they’re done and inserting pictures manually using the image uploader in the article editor.
You’re probably already familiar with most of the formatting options in the toolbar, so let's take a look at the new social embed buttons.
From left to right:
Writing about the Pikachu Outbreak event, but don’t have a good picture to go with it? Now you can simply search Instagram or Flickr for the perfect picture and add it to your article in seconds.
Click the Instagram or Flickr embed button
Paste in the source URL
Save the article draft to see the results (Instagram videos not supported)
Likewise with YouTube and Google Maps. For example, if you’re reviewing a cafe or restaurant, you could embed your video review in the article along with a map of the store’s location.
Want to use a picture from an external website instead? Easy:
Save the picture to your computer (1024x768 pixels or larger)
Upload it to your article via the image button
Click the caption field below the picture (the file name)
Type "via" and paste in the source image's FULL URL, e.g. "via https://www.odigo.jp/tokyo/images/sushi.jpg"
Save the article draft to see the results
You can also use your own images if you have them – you retain all copyrights and there’s no need to include a source credit.
Make it shine
The secret to any good piece of writing is editing, editing and editing. JK Rowling rewrote the entire first chapter of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone over fifteen times before she was even remotely happy with it. While we’re not aiming to write the next Harry Potter, there are a few basic things we can do to make our article the best it can be.
Avoid using kanji (Chinese characters) unless referring to signage – use the romanized version instead (e.g. Tokyo, not 東京)
Ensure that paragraph breaks are properly spaced
For long articles, use subheads
Apply the “H2" tag on subheads to make them stand out
Add links to relevant Odigo spot pages, articles and external websites
To add a link, highlight the keywords in the article, click the link button in the editor toolbox, paste in the URL and click "Link"
Lastly, check your facts. Use reliable sources when doing research and always double-check against another reputable source for accuracy. For a more detailed guide on how to edit your article plus a handy checklist, click here.
Go for gold
Once you’re ready, select “Finished” from the dropdown menu and click “Submit”. Your article will be sent into the queue for approval, and if it meets our editorial requirements, it'll also be promoted to the main articles page and earn you 500 Odigold Points!
Spread the word
Now that you know how to write a great Odigo article, what are you waiting for? Start sharing your Japan experiences, help others and get rewarded today!
Have other writing tips or resources to add? Share them in the comments!