Businesses utilise blog posts for a variety of purposes. Blog posts can be used to help build authority and credibility, to make a business more relatable to its intended audience, and even to bolster a website’s performance on search engines.
Among the more popular types of blog posts are how-to articles or tutorials, lists, link lists, cheat sheets and checklists, reviews, infographics, videos, podcasts and interviews. Each of these can offer invaluable benefits for your business and it is worth trying to utilise these for your blog.
Why write how-to posts?
Among the different types of blog posts, how-to posts offer a few distinct advantages over their counterparts. For one, this type of blog post is the best type of content to utilise if you are seeking to establish trust and authority between you and your target audience.
Compared to other types of blog posts, how-to articles are more likely to be shared by readers. In fact, according to a study conducted by HubSpot back in 2012, how-to’s are 55 percent more likely to be viewed by readers.
Apart from these, how-to’s offer several unique benefits. For one, they can be utilised to help consumers make informed decisions instead of simply making a purchase. They can help you show your expertise in your industry while allowing you to project your business as being insightful and helpful. Finally, these posts answer the real and immediate needs and concerns of consumers.
Unique challenges in creating how-to posts
Despite these appealing advantages, many are still hesitant to add how-to’s to their content mix. Chief among the reasons for this is the fact that this type of blog post is simply difficult to write, often requiring extensive research.
In order to write a compelling how-to blog post, you must carefully evaluate what exactly are the issues that your audience want answers for. You also have to write your posts in such a way that you give satisfactory answers that fulfill the needs of the reader while giving practical advice.
How to write how-to’s
You do not have to let these challenges daunt you. Apart from the aforementioned benefits, another distinct advantage of how-to’s is that they are deemed to be evergreen posts and can provide benefits over time, enabling you to get good returns on your investment of time and effort.
Know the questions your customers are seeking answers for
The simplest approach to knowing the questions your customers are asking is to ask them directly through various platforms like social media and help desks. Upon collecting these questions, take time to review these and look for emerging patterns. Focus your attention on these.
What content is your audience sharing
Another useful way to determine topics you can use is to look at the content your audiences are sharing in their networks. People share content for a variety of reasons, but the main reason they do so is because they find the content useful for their peers.
Focus on the questions you can provide good answers for
Once you have collected the questions your audience is asking, the next step you need to undertake is to create a shortlist of potential blog topics.
Here, you need to determine which questions would be most beneficial to your audience. You also have to check whether someone else has satisfactorily answered any of these questions and whether you have the necessary resources to provide useful answers.
For the latter, you may need to conduct research and update yourself with new available information. You can also enlist the help of experts in your field.
Structuring your posts
Apart from the actual content of your how-to post, it is also worthwhile to give some attention to the form. In terms of word count, long form posts with 3,000 words or more are more shared over shorter posts. It is also a good idea to enumerate all the steps involved and complement these with pictures. If you have the resources to make videos, consider utilising this platform.
A good how-to post will contain several elements including the steps that need to be taken, text highlights, annotation for accompanying videos and images, case studies, useful links, and other practical tips.