If you can solve a problem for readers there’s a very high probability they will share your articles and help your website grow. The How-To guide business is booming as more internet users flock to Google and other resources in the hopes of solving everyday problems they face while building really cool, unique, and fun projects.
Unfortunately, many publishers fall into the assumption that they can simply spam the web with how-to-guides and they will somehow win the internet.
The truth is, how-to-guides need to be well thought out from ideation through delivery.
We’ve compiled a simple but effective list of tips that can take your how-to creations from boring and bland to click-friendly and shareable.
The Headline Matters And Drives Traffic
When readers looking for How-To-Articles they are attempting to solve a few different problems or discover various types of solutions.
Solving A Problem. The first how-to-headline helps solve a problem, for example, “How-To-Fix A Broken iPhone 7 Screen For Under A $100 Budget.” These headlines should be straightforward and explain the problem “Broken iPhone 7 Screen” and an end goal, “for under $100.”
Imply An Answer. Many readers want to know their question is going to be answered if they click-through to an article. For example, “How-To-Fix A Broken iPhone Screen In 3 Easy Steps.” This headline implies the process is easy and will be accomplished if the reader follows the information being provided in “3 easy steps.”
Give A Reference To The Ease Of Solving The Problem. Internet users tend to have a short attention space and want results quickly. At Zenpost, we like to reference how a reader can become a pro without a bunch of knowledge about the subject they are researching. “Fix An iPhone 7 Screen Without Any Technical Knowledge.” There are thousands of variations to this headline creation process, but the end goal is always the same, making sure the reader understands that the problem is easy to fix if they follow your instructions.
Just Like The Pros! In this scenario, we provide readers with a reference point to their solution. In this case, we want potential website visitors to realize they can get a professional fix on their own. “How To Fix Your Broken iPhone 7 Screen Just Like The Pros At Apple.”
Choosing The Right Words To Make Your Headlines Pop
A great headline, for How-To-Articles and other forms of content, is highly assisted when the right choice of words are selected to draw in readers.
Common Word Usage. You need to structure your headline with common words that are highly searchable and provide a general overview. These words include such phrases as “how, about, what” among others. Typically about 1/3 of your headline should be comprised of common words.
Uncommon Word Usage. The part of your headline that draws attention to an article with attention-grabbing parts of your title. Uncommon words include examples such as, “awesome, incredible, more, heart,” and others.
Emotional Word Usage. The emotional precipice of a great how-to headline will make up about 15% of each headline. These words include, “attractive, wonderful, brave, danger, valuable,” and others. Readers want to feel invested in an article and the right word choices tell them how to feel which leads to a higher clickthrough rate and better engagement if you deliver on your headlines promise.
Power Words. These are words that are known to create a higher lever of engagement. They can be single words or terms such as “no questions asked, make you,” and more.
Make It Simple But Effective
The Guts Of The Lead. A typical article includes a lead which includes the who, what, where, why, and when of the story. How-To-Articles are no different.
Start by telling the reader which problem you are solving and then provide them with the materials they will need to accomplish the task. If the reader has everything they will need ahead of time they are more likely to stick around to finish the project. If they need to gather some materials there’s a high degree of chance that they’ll bookmark your how-to-guide and come back when ready to complete the process.
Utilize Short Actionable Steps. It’s better to have 10 steps that are easy to follow in place of fewer steps that are more involved. Readers want to be led through a process with simple actionable steps from point A to point Z.
Include Photos Whenever Possible. Vision learners want to see exactly how to complete a process. If you are writing an article about how to replace the broken screen on an iPhone 7, a photo for each step will provide the visual guidance that really help how-to-articles pop. It’s all about visual validation.
Identify Any Possible “Tough Spots” and Alert The Reader. If you are providing readers with a complete process it’s best to identify especially difficult parts of the process ahead of time. This allows the reader to understand where they may experience difficulties in the process so they pay extra attention. Once a reader completes an especially difficult task, their sense of accomplishment can help with article sharing as they celebrate their victory.
Ultimately, a great how-to article is about providing valuable insights in an easy to follow format that offers a lot of hand holding to the reader. Provide a seamless process and your articles will enjoy higher engagement and your how-to portal will see more repeat users.