A how-to article is one of the most effective ways to drive affiliate sales. But, there are many things to consider when writing a successful how-to article. There’s a lot more to it than just setting up your website and writing an article.
In order to have a successful how-to article, you need to first define your audience and their needs, place emphasis on actionable steps, provide solutions for problems, and add value through personal experiences and insights.
A how-to article is an in-depth guide on how to accomplish a particular task. It’s usually written by experts and provides guidance on a particular subject, such as dieting, cooking, or managing your finances.
Usually, they follow the same format:
- An introduction that defines the subject and gives context for why it needs to be addressed.
- A problem that people want to solve.
- Steps that will provide solutions.
- Personal insights and experiences to help users empathize with the problem being discussed.
- A call to action at the end to instruct readers on how they can apply what was discussed.
Why Write a Successful How-to Article?
How-to articles are becoming more and more prevalent in today's digital landscape.
They are the perfect way to establish yourself as an expert in a particular niche, build your reputation, increase traffic to your website, generate affiliate sales, and establish credibility with your audience.
Most people think of a how-to article as simply writing an article that explains how to do something.
However, there is much more involved than setting up a website and writing an article. How-to articles need to be considered from a strategic perspective, including audience needs and definition of solutions through personal experiences and insights.
How-to articles are usually written to provide a solution for a particular problem. The article must be informative and engaging to capture your audience’s attention.
How-to Articles 101
Offer tangible solutions to problems. When you write a how-to article, it should be specific and it should offer concrete answers. By providing solutions, readers will no longer have to worry about the issue that's plaguing them.
Successful guides do not dwell on negative aspects of the problem. Instead, they focus on the positive aspects of the problem at hand and show the reader how it can be fixed.
To write a successful how-to article, you must first define your audience and their needs.
- What are their problems?
- Who are your ideal customers?
- How did they come to this point and what would make them happy?
A successful how-to article will address these questions in order to create a solution for the reader's problem.
Additionally, when writing a how-to guide you need to place emphasis on actionable steps or processes. This will ensure that readers will follow through with the process and be able to see improvements or results after following your advice. Another thing that makes an effective how-to article is including examples of what your ideal customer might look like so that they know exactly what they're working towards accomplishing as they read along.
Finally, when writing an effective how-to article you need to include personal insights and experiences as a way to empathize with your audience.
For example, you might write about firsthand experiences that helped you realize the problem or give examples of other people’s problems that you were able to help solve.
7 Steps to Writing a Successful How-to Article
- Define your audience
- Place emphasis on actionable steps
- Provide solutions for problems
- Add value through personal experiences and insights
- Add benefits to potential customers
- Provide context for the reader
- Include your call to action at the end of the guide
Common Mistakes and Tips for Better Writing.
Making mistakes is inevitable. But, by making the right mistakes and incorporating these tips, you'll have a better chance to create successful how-to articles.
Watch your target audience's language.
It’s important that your audience speaks your language in order for them to understand your message. If they don't speak the same dialect as you, there is no way they can understand what you're trying to say and it will frustrate them.
If you're writing a tutorial on how to use WordPress, make sure your audience knows what WordPress is and what it does before you start talking about features and settings.
Keep it simple
A lot of people want their how-to articles to be complicated so that readers take more time to read it and are intimidated into buying from them, but this will cause people who are familiar with the process or product to skip over the article because they know exactly what needs doing without reading it all the way through.
When creating a how-to article, keep it simple so that those who need help with something only have to read the first few paragraphs before getting started on their project.
Use actionable steps
In order for a reader to know what needs doing when they get to the end of your article, they need to know what steps are involved in order for them to do it.
For example, if you're writing an article on how to make your own website, you should mention the tools you're going to need, the order of what needs doing before moving on to another task and how long it should take.
Once the reader knows everything involved in making their own website, they'll be able to decide if it's worth their time or not.
Shift your tone accordingly
When you’re writing a how-to article, you need to change your tone depending on what type of information you're relaying.
If the reader knows about something already but is seeking advice or looking for more insight into it, they'll need a different tone than someone who needs help with something.
An example of this would be that if you’re writing an article on how to make a WordPress site and the reader is experienced with making their own sites, you wouldn't need to explain what WordPress is or tell them where to download it.
On the other hand, if you’re writing for someone who knows nothing about WordPress, you would need to mention these things in order for them to follow along.
Include examples of what your ideal customer looks like
By including examples of your ideal customers, the reader will be able to picture themselves as this person.
If you want them to buy or use your product because it does something they need it to do, make sure they know who needs their help since this helps with making it more legitimate and relatable.
For example, if you’re writing a how-to article on marketing and knowing who your audience is will help with their perception of the article. You would want to include information about social media or ads because these are things most people are aware of in order for them to get an idea of what kind of people might need your help.
Emphasize with the pain points of your customer
Pain points are what frustrates or puts off a person when they're completing a task and if you can make them aware of these, it will make them want to read on in order to find out how to avoid them.
For example, if you’re writing a tutorial on how to make your own website and your audience is someone who has always loved making their own things, you wouldn't need to mention pain points.
However, if there are certain aspects of making a site that frustrate them such as the cost of certain products or resources, you could include this in order for them to have an idea of what they should expect.
Structure your article around the solution you're offering
Since most people will read a how-to article in order to solve a problem or get something done, it's important that you structure your article around this and not just about random things that will help them complete their task.
For example, if you're writing a tutorial on how to make your own website and the reader is looking for specific instructions or information, you would need to include what they need in order for them to feel satisfied.
Include an action plan at the end of your article
At the end of your article, it's important that you give the reader something they can do to make the information you give them work for them.
If they leave your article still feeling unsure of how things will work, it's likely that they won't follow through with what you’ve taught them or might forget about it.
For example, if you're writing an article on how to make your own website, you could include instructions on where to get free WordPress themes or how to transfer your site from one hosting service to another.
An Example Structure of the How-To Article
- Introduce the problem
- Introduce your reader to what this article will help them solve.
- Expose pain points
- Explain why they’re important or what they do
- What you'll need to complete the task
- How to complete the tasks
These tips will help you write a How-to article that resonates with your audience.
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out!
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