How to Write a “How to” Article

“How to” articles are powerful because they provide value to both readers and writers. For readers, “how to” articles can help them quickly understand and learn how to …

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“How to” articles are powerful because they provide value to both readers and writers. For readers, “how to” articles can help them quickly understand and learn how to accomplish a specific task or goal. For writers, “how to” articles can be an excellent opportunity to establish themselves as experts and earn business. Although it can seem intimidating at first, writing “how to” articles is well worth the investment of time.

Select a topic
Choosing a topic can be the most overwhelming aspect of writing a “how to” article. Start by some brainstorming about your areas of expertise. What do you know how to do that others do not? What topics could showcase your unique knowledge? Will this article appeal to a broad number of people, or are you targeting a specific type of person? If you sell real estate in Dallas, you may get more value out of “How to Buy an Investment Property in Arlington” than you would for “How to Buy an Investment Property.”
 
Tip: Stay away from non-essential adjectives and adverbs in the title. For example, “How to Purchase a Vacation Home in Florida” is better than “How to Profitably Purchase a Beautiful Vacation Home in Sunny Florida.” Think about what search terms you would use to find information on your topic and title accordingly.
 
Write your article
Now it’s time to write your article. An article length is 400 to 1000 words. If the article has less than 400 words, it may be too specific, and it may suggest that you are not much of an expert in the topic. If the article has more than 1000 words, it may be addressing a topic that is too broad, and you may need to divide it into multiple articles. A simple way to structure an article is to begin with an introduction and use bullets for each step of the “how to” process. You may benefit from reading some “how to” articles before deciding on a structure.
 
Tip: For a good article structure, try making a quick outline before beginning the writing process.
 
Check your spelling and grammar
Accurate spelling and grammar will rarely draw kudos from your readers, but poor spelling and grammar are guaranteed to garner negative feedback. Don’t let your words be discounted by neglecting the details. Nearly all word processing programs include grammar and spell check functionality. Use them, but don’t rely on them alone. They are not always accurate, and you should proofread your article carefully to catch mistakes that the program misses.
 
Tip: Get a friend or family member to read your work once you’re finished. You may be surprised what an extra set of eyes will notice.
 
Add images
Images can add visual appeal and keep readers interested your articles while helping them visualize your key points. Remember, you must have the right to use all images that you upload to a website. If you don’t have any images of your own, try www.istockphoto.com. They have excellent stock photography for just a few dollars per image.
 
Tip: A picture may be worth a thousand words in books and galleries, but not everyone on the web has the gift of sight—including search engines. Be sure to use captions and alt text (for the hearing impaired) to explain your images. If the picture isn’t yours, but you have permission from the source, remember to give credit.
 
Write your bio
This is the place where you should really shine. Your bio is the place to explain who you are, why you are qualified to write about the topic and what you have to offer. Limit your bio to 600 characters. You can provide your full bio on your profile page. It would also be wise to provide a link to your website, or a means of contacting you directly, or both.
 
Tip: Lose the adjectives. Adjectives, such as “renowned” and “leading,” are fluffy marketing words. They add no value to the message of the bio and may turn off some readers.

 

Jeremy Ames is the executive editor and CEO of NuWire, Inc. NuWire, through NuWireInvestor.com, provides news and information on real estate investment and other forms of alternative investing. Mr. Ames has built a career around service based businesses for investors. In addition to founding NuWire, Inc., he has also co-founded an investment focused real estate brokerage and a financial services firm specializing in self-directed investing (Guidant Financial Group, Inc.). In 2007, he received recognition as the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Young Entrepreneur of the Year.

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