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How to Write How to Articles

by | Jun 5, 2018

This article explains how to format and write an online article that showcases your expertise.


Just another “how to” article?


And that’s my point.

As a consultant who likes to keep learning, I read or skim tens of articles daily. Sometimes, hundreds. Therefore, sooner or later, I arrive at yet another “how-to” article.

  • How to do This.
  • How to do That.
  • How to Whatever in However Many Simple Steps, Like Whoever Does (and Make Money Online).

Which is all fine, if not for the fact that most of them read like listicles: articles which reel off a list of data, without adding practical value.

So what’s the solution?

This is how to write “how to” articles.


Be an expert


Because experts teach, rather than just tell information. If you want to look like an expert, then think and act like an expert.


Consider how your readers will benefit

Why are your readers so important, when you are the one teaching them how?

Because the most important person on your page is not you, the writer. It’s me, the reader.

So make sure that before you write anything (including the headline), you know exactly who you want to read it, and how they will benefit from your expertise.


Write a short, targeted headline

Short headlines are usually best. This is something that I noticed several years ago.

Short headlines are:

  • straight to the point,
  • easier to read,
  • easier to remember,
  • easier to recall,
  • more human.

Just like the headline to the article that you’re reading.


Gather research, examples, and experiences

Depending on the nature of your article, do relevant research to support your methods. To enhance your teaching, illustrate your points with analogies, examples, or experiences to create visual impact in the mind of your readers.

The visualisation makes it much easier to understand and follow instructions.


Identify key points and sub-points

What is another benefit of considering your readers, as I advised earlier?

The ability to identify the key points that you want to teach. If those points are quite broad, then divide them into sub-points for clarity.

Like this:

  • Point.
    • Sub-point.


Organise your article around your headline

Have you ever used mind maps?

For presentations, I don’t use traditional notes. Either I make a mind map or use no notes at all.

The great thing about mind maps is that they are visual, which makes it great for multi-taskers. They allow us to see the whole picture in context.

Mind maps are also the quickest way to organise your main points around a central theme.

See the pattern here?

Try using a mind map when you put your thoughts together for your next “how to” article. Trust me, it’s easier than it looks.


Write an introduction that arouses interest

For many, this is the hardest part. But here’s a tip from my years and decades of presenting information to audiences. Write your introduction after you’ve written the main body of the article. You need to know exactly where you’re going before you start the journey. Otherwise, the journey will be rough, and you may arrive at a different destination.

The introduction should prepare your readers for the journey ahead. This should connect with the conclusion, which assures the readers that you informed them as promised.


Write a conclusion that explains what to do next

The conclusion of your article serves many purposes.

In short, your conclusion:

  • draws your article to a close,
  • summarises what the article is about,
  • motivates your readers to do what you taught them.

Don’t surprise your readers with sudden endings that make the article sound unfinished. They should sense what’s happening.


Review and refine

Do you proofread your articles?

How many times?

Review and proofread your article at least twice, and preferably after the day on which you wrote it. The reasons are obvious, and your own experience speaks for itself.

Even after you publish your article, read the live version. You’ll probably want to refine it.

That’s fine. Go ahead. It’s a good thing.


Over to you

This article explained how to format and write an online article that showcases your expertise.

How useful was it?

What insight or experience would you like to share?

Please leave your comment below, and share this article with others.

Thank you.

Nathan Ambrose, Web Design Consultant.

Hi, I’m Nathan!

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