With an insatiable demand for content online, there will be a constant need for quality articles. The ”How to” article is one of the most popular and a ”How to” headline has very high click-through rates.
There is no end to the subjects you can write about and you can use any style you wish. However, it has to be something that people will want to read. “How to” articles are very popular with both website owners and readers and can be a great way to get your article marketing campaign underway. Basically, the purpose of a ‘how-to’ article is to explain to a reader how to do something.
Of course, you will have to have a good knowledge of how to do the task yourself before you can think about instructing anyone else how to do it, so stick to what you know. There are many possibilities. If you have experience in networking, you could write a ‘how-to’ article on how to set up a router at home, or if you love cars you could write an article on ‘how to service your car’. There are endless possibilities for ‘how-to’ articles, in fact, you are reading one right now.
So let’s get started. When you are writing a “how-to” article, remember that you are the teacher, so endeavor to write in an authoritative tone. You are sharing your expertise with someone who may have little knowledge of the subject at hand. So keep your writing style simple and your instructions clear.
At the beginning of your article, inform your reader what the goal is and summarize how it is going to be achieved. This will prepare them for the task ahead. You should also inform them of what, if anything, they will need to have in hand to complete the task. Going back to setting up a router example, you would need to inform them that they will need a computer, router, instruction booklet and perhaps, an ethernet cable to complete the task.
Also, you must start from the beginning and work through the task step by step. Sometimes it may be beneficial to use bullet points to help give the impression that it is a step by step process. Alternatively, you can link the steps with words like ‘next’, ‘and then’ or ‘now’. If you are new to writing, the bullet points option might be best for you as it keeps things simple and helps you avoid complex grammatical structures.
As you write, re-read your text every few paragraphs, and try to read it from the reader’s point of view, assuming they know nothing about the task at hand. As an expert on the subject, it can be too easy to make things over-complicated because the task is second nature to you.
Try to imagine you are doing it for the first time and instruct the reader accordingly. Going back to our previous example, will the reader actually know what an ethernet cable is? Or what a router is for that matter?
If a particular stage in the task is complex, you may want to repeat the instruction or ask the reader to check their progress so they are sure they have followed your instructions successfully.
With longer articles, it is important to do this regularly so the reader does not lose track. Summarize what they have done so far, tell them what should have already been achieved, and ask them to check that everything is as it should be. If a reader finds that the project does not look like what you have described, they can then retrace the last few steps and see where they went wrong.
If you work through your article in this manner you should be left with a clear, concise ‘how to’ article that takes the reader through each step of the project to completion. Read it again, at least twice, to make sure that it is well written and that instructions are clear. Wrap up with a concluding paragraph congratulating the reader for a job well done.
And finally, the icing on the cake, the headline. This does not necessarily have to be done at the end. It can be done before you write the article but you may find those headline ideas will come to you as you write your content. Be sure to spend some time perfecting your headline as this can be the difference between the success and failure of your article.
Endeavor to use appropriate keywords so that your article can rank high on Google. This is very important as Google drives massive amounts of traffic. You can use this free tool to find keywords.
Don’t forget to cross-check for errors. An overlooked misspelling can ruin the overall quality of your article. Endeavor to proofread your article after you’ve completed it. I use Grammarly to check for errors and it locates many of these mistakes while I’m even typing. This affords me to make most corrections early on and to even improve the quality of my sentences!
Once you’re sure your article is error-free, it is now ready for publishing!