Why people read blogs and websites at the first place? Sure, some of them are looking for an interesting writing style, for a unique approach to something, for personal stories shared by bloggers. To most of us, however, these aren’t the first reasons encouraging us to search for content somewhere.
Most people look for the solutions of their problems, more information about a certain subject, learn how to do something, and so on in the articles. That’s why it’s always better to create content that can satisfy the needs your target audience might have. Writing how-to articles is one of the best ways to do so.
Good how-to articles are one of the most shared and viewed types of content, along with Infographics. However, they aren’t easy to create. If you want to learn how to write a stunning how-to article that could drive traffic to your website, here’s what you can focus on.
1. Think about your target readers
If you are an experienced writer, then you most likely already know who your target audience is. What you might not know yet, however, is their level of experience in the particular subject.
It’s important to define it before you actually start crafting a how-to article. You need to know which audience to address, which words to use, and how detailed your post should be. In order to do so, answer the following questions:
- Which is my target audience’s level of experience?
- Do they need to cover the basics about the niche or do they already know them?
- Would they understand some specific terms related to the niche?
2. Write the practical how-to article
The more you are familiar with a certain niche, the better. This will help you choose a topic that is not only relevant to a niche but also is fresh and appealing to the target audience. The Internet is filled with hundreds of how-to articles, which either aren’t written well or explain the obvious. Don’t make another one – instead, focus on those areas of your niche that people do need to be educated about a bit more, to your opinion.
Remember that specific articles are usually better than the basic and general ones. However, be sure not to be too specific at the same time. After all, if you choose a topic that is too narrow, you might not find enough data to write a proper how-to article.
Here are some tips on how to choose the right topic for your blog:
- Evaluate the blog itself – is it more about the basic things related to the industry or is it more about the in-depth niche researches and thoughts?
- Think about things related to the niche that you can do best. Make a list of those things if this makes it easier for you.
- Try to come up with a couple of topics related to each one of these things.
- Look through the topics and choose the ones that seem the most appealing.
- Do some research and see how much data you can find on these topics.
- Select the ones that seem the easiest to write and illustrate. For example, a tutorial that can be illustrated with screenshots is usually much better and easier to write than the one that you need to purchase some additional materials and tools for.
- If you have a few topics that meet these requirements, choose the one that seems the most interesting to you at the moment. Don’t forget that you will always be able to write on the other topics later.
3. Check out what other people write about it
There are a couple of reasons to do so. First, this will allow you to ensure that there aren’t many articles written on the topic and that you aren’t crafting something that has already been well researched and explained. Second, this will help you gather some additional data you might need later in the process.
While you can find this kind of information online easily enough, there are a couple of sources you should pay special attention to:
- how-to article examples, written by niche experts;
- articles posted by top bloggers in your niche;
- articles posted on the websites that are famous for in-depth research and verified information.
4. Consult an expert
While this is an optional tip, you should follow it whenever you have the chance do so. Sure, you might be experienced enough to craft a proper how-to article on your own, but still, an expert opinion can also both prove you’re doing it right and provide some additional data as well. A how-to article supported by expert data will definitely look and be more valuable than the one without it.
Of course, contacting an expert to get some valuable comments and information isn’t easy. However, as the whole words go digital now, these days it’s much easier than before.
For example, you can reach experts on their social media, asking someone a question on Twitter or their Facebook page. If you still fail to get a reply, consider asking a top blogger instead of some of the industry leaders. While their comments probably won’t be as valuable as the expert ones, they still can be a good addition to your article. Provide good images when possible.
5. Provide good images when possible
Once again, not every how-to article requires the images. For example, if you are writing an article on how to write an essay, you might not need use images to explain your point of view better. However, when you are writing an article on how to use a custom proofreading service, you might want to use screenshots to show the readers exactly what they can do to order an essay online.
Moreover, you can use not only screenshots. Some how-to articles do look best when supported by photos. This makes the whole teaching process easier and also adds more value to your content – if you take your own photos, of course.
And even if you aren’t able to take screenshots or make your own photos at the moment, you can still find some images online to make your article more interesting and appealing to the readers. There are a couple of ways to do so.
First, you can look for images on free image stocks like Pixabay. This way you won’t violate any copyrights and will be able to illustrate your article at the same time. However, keep in mind that the number of free images there is quite limited. If you are writing on mostly one topic only, it could become hard for you to find new unused images at some point.
Second, you can find some images on bigger stocks like Shutterstock. While you have to pay for the images taken from there, the prices are still quite moderate, and you also won’t violate any copyrights. Moreover, just like any other paid image stock, Shutterstock offers a variety of high-quality photos and pictures of any kind. This means that once you pay for membership there, you’ll be able to pick much better images and stop worrying that you won’t find any new ones at such point.
Of course, you can also use someone else’s photos, screenshots or other images in your article and credit their authors, but it’s much riskier. If you aren’t familiar with the copyright policy well enough, it’s better to settle with the image stocks – at least for now.
After you finish writing such article, don’t forget to test it. This is one of the most important parts of the process as it helps you to actually find out whether your how-to tutorial works well or not.
The best way to do so is to ask someone else to test it and watch the whole process (or at least to ask this person for feedback). If they need to re-read your instructions for a couple of times or the final result isn’t as satisfying as you hoped it to be, then you probably should consider changing something or adding more details to your article.
Of course, it might take some time for you to learn how to craft truly helpful and clear how-to article, but you’ll definitely get there as long as you’ll keep trying.
Do you have any questions I can answer?
Kevin is a professional educator and a private tutor with over 8 years of experience. He is also a content writer for various blogs about higher education, entertainment, social media & blogging. During his off time, Kevin enjoys traveling and cooking. Feel free to connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin & Google+.