If you’ve ever looked up instructions on how to complete a task on Google, you know how important high-quality how-to content is.
It can be a big relief when you find a blog that’s well-written and easy to understand, especially when you’re facing something that’s unknown to you like fixing a leaky faucet.
Great how-to content can step in and make someone’s life better in almost any situation where they need guidance and assistance on how to do something.
Let’s find out why how-to content matters and how to create it effectively.
Reasons to Create How-to Content
Clear steps and instructions are needed to create a proper how-to content. This makes it easy to understand and avoid any hassle. It can even save somebody’s day. This means that it is very important to produce this content for your audience.
By creating content that can easily be searched by Google and giving them content that is actually helpful, you are saving hem from the dreaded never-ending search.
It’s easy to see how doing these things could help your brand grow by demonstrating your knowledge and earning readers’ trust and loyalty.
Additionally, if your how-to content is properly search-optimized, you’ll be able to attract customers outside of your target market to your brand.
In summary, creating how-to content is beneficial for the brand and the audience, so why wouldn’t you make it?
How to Create How-to Content
Once you know your goals for that content and who you are writing for, and know exactly what your content can help them accomplish, then a great how-to content can easily be created.
1. Focus your goal on teaching and educating
Every piece of content has a purpose, so make sure it is crystal clear from the start if that purpose is to instruct or educate readers on that subject.
Your approach to producing content will be influenced by your goal, and producing how-to content calls for a teaching mindset or approach.
What’s the point of this?
Because an information-sharing, entertaining, or analytical mindset is completely different from a teaching mindset.
If you want to teach effectively, you must use a specific approach, especially when using content:
- Detailed explanations
- Step-by-step instructions
- Numerous examples
- Helpful visuals (pictures, videos, illustrations, etc.)
- Presenting the topic’s “what” as well as its “how” and “why.”
- Putting yourself in the reader’s shoes and demonstrating how to advance their understanding from to B, to C, to D, and beyond.
Therefore, keep track of the objectives for each piece as you plan your content. The outcome will be influenced by your goals, particularly when it comes to how-to content.
2. Find your how-to topic
Sometimes it will be clear what topic you should use for your content. You might even have a long list of topics you want to write about that are related to your brand’s objectives, your products, and the interests of your target market.
However, don’t be alarmed if the appropriate how-to topics are not coming up so quickly. You can do research to find your perfect topic.
Consider the needs of your target audience
What issues do they have relevant to your industry, which you could assist them in solving with how-to content?
Don’t know? Ask them. You can use polls, surveys or chat with them.
Think about the wants of your target market
- Potential how-to topics can be found inside your customer service data.
- Have your sales rep take not of frequently asked questions of customers.
- Use social media to find out what your audience wants to know how to do.
Find how-to keywords that are relevant to your industry or what you sell.
With some keyword research, you can also discover how-to topics.
An equally good how-to topic can be easily inspired by a strong keyword.
- Search for terms beginning with “how to” as well as those beginning or ending with phrases like “step-by-step guide,”” How do I,” or “tutorial”; these also imply a how-to topic.
- Find a keyword that is closely related to the topic you are starting with so that your brand can still rank. Avoid using any overly competitive keywords.
- To determine how competitive a keyword is to rank for, consider metrics like search volume and keyword difficulty (KD).
3. Research and plan your how-to topic for SEO and readers.
You can begin planning how you’ll write your how-to content once you have a chosen topic/ focus keyword. Here are some ways to do this to make sure you are hitting the bullseye with your readers and search engines.
Research what’s already in Google
You must look at what keywords are already ranking for your topic if you want to rank for it in Google and figure out how to improve it.
To understand how these pieces are organized, which aspects of the subject they concentrate on, and how they address the searcher intent for the keyword, you should also look at Google’s ranking.
You should definitely take notes and draw inspiration from these articles because they are ranking well for the keyword and you already know that they fit the searchers’ and Google’s needs.
Check the competition
Sometimes content from one of your direct competitors will appear in Google’s ranking for your how-to keyword or topic.
Concentrate on how you can set your content apart from theirs in this instance.
- What is lacking in the content piece of your rival?
- Could you provide more specific steps in your how-to, more insights, or more research on the subject?
- Can you differentiate visually? Your competitor might have overlooked the visual aspect of their how-to content. If this happens then you can go further by adding photos or screenies of the how-to process.
Select the right format
The same format, such as a list of steps, is not necessary for every how-to topic.
Some how-to topics lend themselves better to instructional videos, while others might require a lengthy, in-depth manual with illustrations and tips.
For instance, Google’s search engine results page for the phrase “how to plan a trip” are filled with written instructions. This makes sense given how much of a thinking-based activity trip planning is.
Written instructions are ideal for this type of how-to.
The majority of the content on Google’s first page for the phrase “how to tie a shoe” is video. This makes sense because it would be challenging to tie your shoes without visual assistance.It is a straightforward process that heavily relies on demonstration. For this kind of how-to, videos are best.
Choose the format of your How To content carefully, taking into account these examples. Consider the medium in which you want to reach your audience, as well as what kind of understanding is required for a given topic.
4. Write with the intention of teaching effectively
As you begin to write your how-to content, you already have your objective in mind: to instill trust and loyalty in your audience.
How do you effectively teach, though? Remember these pointers.
Make sure you know who your audience is and write to them
Your audience is always your best mentor. You must truly understand them if you want to teach them effectively.
You must first understand their level of knowledge. What do they already know about your subject, what do they not know, and how can you close the knowledge gap?
Additionally, you need to understand what matters most to them and what is less significant to them. Which sections of your how-to topic require a more in-depth explanation, and which sections can get by with just cliff notes?
Avoid the use of technical terms or industry jargon
It’s fairly simple to fall into “industry speak” while working in a particular field without realizing it.
However, readers who are unfamiliar with those terms may find this annoying or even alienating.
This sounds like a different language to someone who is not familiar with it.
At worst, using jargon will leave your audience perplexed from the start of your how-to content. That is not what you want at all.
This all stems fundamentally from getting to know your audience and communicating with them in a way that they will comprehend.
Instead, try to explain and describe concepts clearly and refrain from using clichés and buzzwords.
5. Add your distinctive perspective and subject-matter knowledge
Every day, nearly 7 million blog posts are released. How are you going to stand out?
Use your expertise to create your distinctive brand perspective by combining knowledge, skills, and experience.
Many brands are founded on the knowledge of their founders, but many others rely on their teams’ diverse skill sets.
The brand and the way they address customer issues depend on this combination of knowledge and skill.
Make sure you are aware of the expertise, where it comes from, and how it is expressed in the content for whatever category your brand falls under.
For instance, the brand’s founder might have a tale about how they attained expertise and how their approach to their field was influenced by some unusual twists and turns.
Using and referencing these examples in content when appropriate can make a huge difference and give your how-to content more gravitas.
6. Describe the “why” behind your arguments
This statement holds true for the majority of other long-form types as well as how-to content.
Great educational content explores the “how” and “why” in addition to just “what.”
Returning to the blog, let’s give you an example of how to organize a trip.
The authors could have simply advised you to do your research on the weather and travel requirements before planning your trip in the section on choosing a destination.
Instead, they provide you with justifications based on their knowledge and experience for why doing research before making a decision is wise:
In their experience, their trips fell short of their expectations when they neglected to do their research.
When the authors visited India without first researching the weather and ended up there during the hottest months of the year, they discovered that doing research as part of vacation planning “can really save you troubles or headaches down the road.”
They provide an explanation of the WHY behind their argument using their knowledge. With examples from their extensive travel experience, they provide you with sound reasoning.
See how it differs? Without these, there would be no proof of E-E-A-T in this blog, and the information would appear flimsy and unreliable.
7. Include helpful visuals
This has already been briefly discussed, but it merits a second look.
Visuals are necessary for most content, especially blogs, to be more engaging, but how-to content practically begs for them.
Look for opportunities in your written content to use a carefully chosen, strategically placed image, photo, or screenshot to help your reader better understand concepts.
Effectively educate your audience in how-to content
How-to content offers a fantastic chance to immediately add value to your audience.
Building trust and loyalty with your brand are just a few of the long-term advantages of effectively teaching them.
Because of this, one of the best investments for a content marketing strategy is educational how-to content.
It reminds me of the proverb “Give a man fish, and you’ll feed him for the day. Teach him to fish and you can feed a man for the rest of his life.”
What will your audience learn from you?