This is Part 2 in a 12-part e-course about the types of blog articles.
Most people read blogs to:
a) solve a problem
b) learn how to do something
c) learn how to improve their life
It’s no surprise that how-tos are the most popular type of blog post.
I recently read a how-to titled, “Supermarket Science: How to become a more informed shopper.” The writer interviewed the author of a book called Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping. The article’s premise was that more than 60 percent of the items we buy in the grocery store aren’t on our list. To help consumers better understand the reasons behind impulse supermarket shopping, the writer explained:
…why the flowers and bakery are at the front of most grocery stores
…why the produce section is lit theatrically
…why the dairy case is way in the back of the store
The article also listed several practical tips for avoiding impulse buys. Fascinating stuff, and applicable to every consumer who is trying to cut corners during this endless economic recession.
THE HOW TOs OF HOW TOs
Here’s how to write a how-to article in three easy steps:
Write 1-2 sentences that grab the reader’s attention and set the scene.
Write 1 transition sentence that poses the question you’re going to address or the issue you’re going to solve.
Step-by-step, explain how to do something.
The key to a good how-to is that it’s focused, specific, and accurate.
The headline for your how-to should contain the words “How to…” and should incorporate strong keywords that a person would Google to find your article.
Here are some how-to topics to get your creative juices flowing:
- How to plan a wedding for under $5,000
- How to read your spouse’s body language
- What to do when your child cheats on a test
- A 5-step approach for budgeting your time
- How to plan your high school class reunion
- How to do Disney World® on $50 per day
- List 5 questions people in your industry ask you most often.
- List 5 additional questions you wish they’d ask.
- Brainstorm ways you can turn those questions into teaching tools. Don’t limit yourself to written how-tos; instructional videos or podcast tutorials might be just the ticket.
- Share your favorite how-to article topic in the Comments area so we can learn from each other.