For web readers, some of the most coveted and useful material is how-to. Yet, when improperly done, how-to content becomes confusing and unusable by the reader. The ineffective how-to piece garners negative comments and hurts a business’s reputation. By becoming in tune with the content and the reader’s needs, business owners, content creators and marketers can create how-to pieces that rocket through cyberspace.
Ensure It’s Usable
The largest source of confusion for readers is the clarity of the writing. The content needs to be easily followed and duplicated. If it’s missing the temperature of the oven in a cookie recipe, then it’s not helpful by the average baker. They can’t infer the temperature. Alternatively, the content might skip a step, like turn over a board before gluing on the molding. With one step wrong, the reader can’t use the content. Then, the content is just taking up space.
The easiest way for a reader to read a how-to is in step by step format rather than large, chunky paragraphs. Formatting will make it easier to read and increase the likelihood that the content will be shared.
Get The Content Found
You can’t just throw the piece out on the Internet and expect the content will be read by millions of people. Keywords are critical in the accessibility of the piece and getting the content found among the mass of content available. Putting keywords in search engines are the primary way people find what they want to know online. The other is visiting a site and consistently going back to it. Before people do that, you can bet they found it through search engines. Just because the content is how-to, don’t leave out the keywords.
Tell Readers Why
Readers need to know why they need to do this how-to. Will they make more money? Will their content get found quicker? Will their house be more stylish? That’s the power of a how-to piece’s introduction.
Point A Finger
Answer the question, “who needs this” or “who could use this” at the starting gate. Let readers know just what to do with content. For example, you might say about a how-to baby mobile that parents everywhere can make this mobile at an affordable price and their children will just adore it.
Just because the readers are half way around the world doesn’t mean that you can’t connect with the reader. There are many ways, including pictures of the project or a back story that content creators can use to make the piece more personal. It’s even true of a business. For example, a home decor store may include their inspiration behind creating a wine bottle chandler how-to. For example, the chandler may have been something the owner or one of its employees saw in a magazine, but they don’t carry anything like it in the store. Think about how the readers will feel knowing the background of the chandler how-to. It makes it seem like business really cares about its customers.
By adding these attributes to your how-to content, these pieces can be just as effective as other content. You just need to give the reader a clear step by step format without any missing information or lacking relevant steps. It’s time to step into the shoes of your readers. What is your favorite how-to you’ve ever read? Why do you like it?