Do you want to write better ‘How to’ articles and instructional content but don't know where to start?
‘How to’ articles can be difficult to write, but with the right process, they can be easy and straightforward. This guide will show you how to write articles that are clear and concise, making it easy for your readers to understand what they need to do.
With optimized ‘How to’ articles, your readers will be able to complete the task without trouble and get results they are happy with.
Read on to learn the best way to write ‘How to’ articles that your readers will thank you for.
‘How to’ articles are pieces of writing that provide instructions on how to do something. They are usually written in a step-by-step format, with each step clearly explained.
‘How to’ articles can be found on a wide range of topics, from cooking and gardening to more specific skills like carpentry or web design.
In order to write a successful ‘How to’ article, it is important to have a clear understanding of the task at hand. The best ‘How to’ articles provide clear and concise instructions that can be easily followed by the reader.
They also include helpful tips and warnings where appropriate.
There are three main reasons ‘How To’ articles are a great addition to your blog.
It’s important to know how to produce these articles correctly, however, in order to maximize your on-page SEO and rank as best you can on Google search.
Google rewards on-page SEO, so it is important that every article you write contains all of the elements Google looks for and rewards with a higher ranking.
Within each of these steps, there are specific rules and considerations you must adhere to.
The first step is to figure out exactly what you wish to rank for and validate that keyword to ensure that it is actually being searched for. If you know your audience, this shouldn’t be a problem.
It’s also important to analyze the competitiveness of the keyword to ensure you’re actually going to get traffic to your article. For this, you can use keyword tools like Google Keyword Planner or Ahrefs.
As an example, let’s say I want to help my audience lose belly fat. I know my keyword is something like, “belly fat” or “lose belly fat.”
However, by using keyword tools like the ones above, you may find that more people search for “lose stomach fat” or “drop belly fat.” This kind of information can help you garner the maximum amount of traffic.
Your title is extremely important and must grab the attention of potential readers when it shows up on Google rankings. Below is an effective outline you can follow for titles.
H1: How to [Do Task] without [Anticipated Paint Point]
EG: How To Lose Belly Fat Without Giving Up Beer
H1: (Number) Ways to [Do Task] For [Target audience]
EG: 5 Ways To Increase Email Open Rates For Marketers
H1: How to [Do Task] Even if [Anticipated Paint Point]
EG: How To Do Squats Even If You Have Bad Knees
Article structure is the next most important thing for on-page SEO. Below is an effective outline and the exact outline I’m using for this and all other ‘how to’ articles I write.
This is your introduction to the article and is best done using the AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action) model to entice the reader to continue. If you're having trouble getting to grips with AIDA, you can generate this framework using the 'Attention-Interest-Desire-Action' tool inside Copy.ai. I also used AIDA for the opening 4 paragraphs of this article ;).
H2: What is [Task]?
Write a brief overview of the activity you are teaching them. By defining it early on, the reader can gauge whether it is relevant to them or not. This is where knowing your audience is important.
H3: Reasons You Need to Know [Task]
Paragraph: Focus on magnifying the need for the reader needing to learn what you're teaching.
Unordered List: Outline the specific reasons that what you're teaching is relevant and important.
Paragraph: Set up your method as the ideal solution to the reader's problem.
H2: How To [Do Task] Step-By-Step
Paragraph: Introduce your unique process.
**Ordered List: Give step-by-step instructions, giving each step a unique name where possible
Paragraph: Segue into the full, detailed instructions.
H3: [Step 1 from **Ordered List]
[Explain how to perform the step]
H3: [Step 2, 3, and beyond]
[Explain how to perform each step]
H2: Key Considerations For Success With [Task]
1-3 Paragraphs: Highlight anything important that didn't go into the step-by-step instructions above.
H3: The Next Level: Going Beyond [Task]
1-3 Paragraphs: Discuss how to go beyond the scope of the above instructions, outlining any improvements or further training they could undertake. This is a great part to start hinting at a need they may have that a product you're selling may be able to solve.
H3: Alternatives to [Task]
1-3 Paragraphs: If applicable, discuss alternative methods to what you just taught to cater to people who may not have the required facilities. For example, if you're teaching home-based workouts, you could recommend other free places to work out.
H2: Wrap-Up / Conclusion and Your Experience With [Task]
Summarize the main message of the article and why it's important they take heed and listen to you. If you are segueing into a product, you also need a strong call to action here. EG: 'Click the button below to learn more.'
Images and media break up the article and make it easier to read. There are three things you must consider when adding images.
It’s important to check grammar and spelling mostly to be professional. You should do this in two ways.
There are certain considerations that will help you to be successful when writing 'how to' articles.
The first thing to remember is that your readers expect clear and concise instructions. Therefore, it is important to break down each task into small, manageable steps.
As a writer, you should be able to make even complicated topics like medical AI technology sounds simple.
In addition, you should provide plenty of detail so that your readers can follow along easily using language that is easy to understand. Avoid jargon and define any terms that might be unfamiliar to your reader.
Finally, it is helpful to include photos or diagrams whenever possible so that your readers can visualize the steps involved.
It’s important to know the correct motivation behind any article that you write. That means considering what the purpose is and how each article may generate revenue.
There are really two types of content on a blog; value and transactional.
Transactional articles are designed to make money. The goal is to attract buyer traffic or readers who are at the cusp of buying. These readers are generally looking for product reviews or ‘Best of’ posts.
EG: Copy AI review or The 5 Best AI Writing Platforms
With value content, users are looking for how to do something and generally do not include a call to action. They’re also not in the frame of mind of buying.
Because of this, I’d recommend placing ads only on value content and leaving them off transactional content.
A lot of bloggers get greedy and place ads everywhere and they distract readers from clicking on call-to-actions, which is generally worth a lot more than an ad click.
Value content generally generates more traffic and doesn’t include call-to-actions, making them a lot more suited to ads.
If you’re looking for ideas for value-giving content, look into Quora or Google Question Hub and start answering questions that your niche/community is asking within your content.
When writing instructions or 'How To' articles, be sure to follow the steps above, and if it seems like a lot to take in at one time, feel free to keep this article as a reference.
Using this guide, you can make your instructions easy to follow and ensure your readers are able to accomplish whatever it is they're trying to do.
Write 10x faster, engage your audience, & never struggle with the blank page again.