How to Write "How-to" Articles

How to Write “How-to” Articles

A writer that doesn’t know how to write a “how-to” article is not only limiting his business, he is calling into question his ability to write for pay.

“How-to” articles and videos are widely available on the internet because they are widely sought after. The internet provides immediate information, and is most attractive to users if it can be put into immediate action.

How-to Articles Receive High Page Views

Writing articles for a revenue-sharing site can be a very successful way to get paid for writing on the web, and how-to articles are likely to generate a higher number of page views. A well structured how-to article will have:

  • Attention grabbing headline
  • Summary of the task to be performed
  • List of materials needed to complete the task
  • Individual steps that must be taken, including illustrations or examples. If a step is lengthy, break it into substeps.
  • Example of what success looks like.

Narrowly Defined Topics Sharpen Writing Skills

A freelance writer creates articles and other content based upon the specifics provided by the client. Writing a well organized how-to article on a very specific subject (i.e., titanium spork cleaning), demonstrates the ability to understand an unfamiliar topic. It is a very good way to highlight communication skills.

In addition, a narrowly defined topic will not compete against as many other web pages for search engine space. The writer of an article on “How to Clean a Spork” may have more competition, and commensurately less page views, than the writer of “How to Clean a Titanium Spork.”

How-to Articles are Writing Exercise

Instructional articles can serve to improve the writing skills of both novice and professional writers. After developing a narrowly focused topic about which he has expertise, the writer must craft an engaging but clear headline, followed by an article that delivers on the headline’s promise.

  1. Identify the topic of the article.
  2. Locate resources if third party sources will be helpful.
  3. List the steps of the task, or create a flowchart.
  4. Create substeps if one of the steps is more complicated than it looks (longer ones may require a separate article).
  5. Read the steps aloud, acting them out if possible, to make sure that they are complete.

The final step is to reread the article to make sure that the summary, headline, and example of success are all in agreement.

Print Magazines Use How-to Articles

Magazines that are available in supermarket checkout lanes invariably have one or more how-to articles showcased on their covers. Specialty magazines that focus on a craft, hobby, or activity constantly require specialized how-to articles. Mastering the steps to writing down in steps is a sound investment for any writing business. Like any writing, practice will improve the quality of how-to articles, which will lead to greater marketability.

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