Why do people read blogs and websites in the first place? Some of them look for an interesting writing style, for a unique approach, for personal stories shared by bloggers.
However, the majority of people look for solutions to 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 audience
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. That way you know what audience to address, what words to use, and how detailed your post will be. In order to do so, answer the following questions:
- What is my target audience’s level of experience?
- Do they want me to cover the basics or do they look for advanced tactics?
- Will they understand some specific terms related to the niche?
2. Write the practical how-to article
The more you are familiar with your niche, the better. This will help you choose a topic that is not only relevant to a niche but also 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 stuff. Don’t make another one like that – instead, write how-to articles on the topics that your people need to be educated about a bit more and share your point of view there.
An article focused on a specific topic is usually better than basic and general ones. However, keep it broad enough as if you choose a topic that is too narrow, you might not find enough data to write a good how-to article.
Here are some tips on how to choose the right topic for your blog:
- Decide what you want to write about. Do you want to cover the basics or you’re up to in-depth niche research and thoughts?
- Think about things related to the niche that you can do best. Make a list of them so it will be easier for you to come up with new ideas.
- Generate a couple of topics related to each point you wrote down.
- 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 than plain text. However, you can also write a short, but targeted post and add only 1-2 images to make it look better.
- If you have a few topics that meet these requirements, choose the one that seems the most interesting to you at the moment. You will always be able to write on the other topics later.
3. Check out what other people write about it
Search for other content on your topics. That way you’ll see what people wrote about your subject so you won’t cover something that has already been well researched and explained. Also, this will help you gather some additional data you might need later in the process.
While it’s easy to find this kind of information online, there are a couple of sources that will help you more:
- how-to article, written by niche experts;
- articles posted by top bloggers in your niche;
- articles posted on websites that are famous for in-depth research and verified information.
4. Consult an expert
This is an optional tip that is good to follow whenever you have the chance. An expert opinion can provide some extra data and credibility.
You can reach experts on their social media, asking questions on their Instagram or Facebook page or you can write an email to some top bloggers. In any way, credit to the author of the answer/quote and then after publication send them a message saying how helpful their tips were. Thus, the expert may share your article if he or she likes it.
5. Provide good images when possible
Visuals always look good when you write a how-to article. For posts where context is the main focus like an article about how to write an essay, you may use 1-2 images as there are not that many ways to illustrate it. However, when you write an article on how to use a custom proofreading service, you might want to use screenshots to show what people can do to order an essay online step-by-step. Such articles with images will have much more reach.
So, whenever you can add screenshots, illustrations, photos, and infographics. They add more value to your content and keep the audience’s attention so they stay on a website longer.
There are plenty of websites where you can find images for your posts to make them look more interesting and appealing to the readers.
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 write primarily on one topic, at some point, it could become hard for you to find new unused images.
That way, you can find some images on bigger photo stocks like Shutterstock.com. While you have to pay for the images there, the prices are still quite moderate, and you get royalty-free high-quality images.
After you finish writing your how-to article leave it for a few days. Then, come back to it and review it with a fresh perspective, do the final editing, and double-check your grammar with the sites like Grammarly.com.
It will take some time until you will be able easily write how-to articles that people enjoy reading and will share all over the internet. However, practice makes things perfect and soon you’ll find yourself quickly writing new posts.
Do you have any questions I can answer?
Marina Barayeva is an international speaker and coach who helps women entrepreneurs become recognized experts and confidently sell their services. She is also a TEDx speaker, has presented to audiences in Asia and North America, and has been featured in such media as ArtPeople, CCTV, China Radio International, and others.