How To Write Better How-to Articles

There are few types of content that gain more traction than a good how-to article. They’re informative, engaging and immensely shareable, with the added bonus of huge SEO value.

At the same time, they’re also abundant to say the least. Hence, putting out a how-to article that hits home and gets the job done isn’t always easy.

Precisely where this basic template could prove useful - the eight most important steps involved in assembling a good how-to article:

1. Choose a Topic of Genuine Relevance

First up, choosing topics at random simply for the sake of it never works. For a how-to article to gain traction, it needs to be of genuine relevance and value to your target audience.  Importantly, it should address a specific need you are in a suitable position to satisfy.

2. See Things from the Reader’s Perspective

Putting yourself in the reader’s shoes means asking yourself several important questions.  What is it they need to know?  Why do they need to know it?  What do they know already?  What is their knowledge/experience level?  What length and tone do they prefer?

3. Perform Keyword Research

The best keywords to target with how-to articles tend to be questions and long-tail search times. Hence, embedding full questions complete with concise answers in your how-to articles comes highly recommended.  Perhaps in the form of a brief FAQ section, if preferred.

4. Plan for a Mix of Media Types

The most engaging how-to guides (particularly where topics are more complex) are those that contain plenty of visual media. Images and video clips, therefore, come highly recommended - ideally created by you and demonstrating your expertise.

5. Keep Each Step Simple

Avoid the mistake of making any single step in your guide too long or complex. Steps that are short, straightforward and easy to read are always more effective. This is something that can be helped significantly by accompanying your written descriptions with clear visuals.

6.  Identify Your USP

Along with serving a purpose, your guide also needs to provide the reader with something they cannot get elsewhere. Are you showing them how to do something faster, cheaper, better or simply with less effort? Ensure your USP is clearly defined and emphasised throughout your guide.

7. Invite Comments and Feedback

Encouraging your readers to share their feedback and leave comments is beneficial for all involved. They can impart their wisdom on you, the post becomes more engaging, and your guides benefit from added SEO value. Don’t shy away from negative comments or criticisms - use them to improve the quality of your future guides.

8. Monitor and Optimise Continuously

Last up, keeping a close eye on the performance of your guides is essential.  Some will inherently perform better than others, so your job is to figure out why. And in doing so, make the necessary adjustments to minimise bounce rates and maximise session durations with every guide you publish.