4 Hassle-Free Ways To Write How-To Articles

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You want to get your blog started, but you don’t want to be burdened with writing articles every time you turn around. The fact is, writing how-to articles is not that much of a hassle once you have a system for it.

Try these methods to create short, how-to articles that will:

  • Connect with your audience
  • Position yourself as an expert, and
  • Increase sales

Give your readers information they need and you will be the first person they think of when they run into challenges.

Consider creating a template for your articles that will fit the needs of your audience. Ask yourself if they want detailed information, or if they’re happy receiving broad ideas that will allow them to tailor the information to meet their specific needs.

If they want specific information, you could always include a teaser paragraph in an email and then provide a link at the bottom of that paragraph. The link can lead to more detailed information about the subject your that audience is interested in.

Once you understand the needs of your audience, place your information in article format. Here’s a system I’ve often used to produce quick, informative articles:

1. Begin with an introductory paragraph: Let people know exactly what you’re getting at.

2. Tell them why they should be interested: This is where you just get into the reader’s world. You will what you’re talking about help them do their jobs better? In essence, that’s all people really want to know.

3. Give short, realistic pieces of advice: Try to stick to the points that have the most impact or the ones that are completely opposite to what people in your industry are doing.

4. Wrap it up. One of my mentors used to always say to me, “Tell ‘em what you’re going to tell ‘em. Then tell ‘em. Then tell ‘em what you told ‘em.” No, he wasn’t senile. His advice actually worked. At the end of every article I just wrap up what I’ve said by reviewing the key points of the article. It’s called a “takeaway.” What’s the one thing you want the audience to take away from your article and use in their daily work lives? Once you’ve answered that question, you have your last paragraph, all tied up in a pretty little bow.

Whatever you do, keep it short and simple. Sure we may want to use sophisticated language if your audience craves that, but you’d be surprised. When reading blogs especially, readers won’t mind short, concise words and phrases. And that’s especially true if those words and phrases add more to the bottom line and/or help them become more efficient.

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Writing Effective Copy

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How can you or your company create a blog that outshines and outlasts every other blog? And how do you hypnotize readers to keep coming back? This article provides tips to write effective, attention-arresting blog copy and shows how you can develop reader and customer loyalty. As a teacher, I want to point out that many of these points can be used when writing speeches as well.

1. WRITE CONVERSATIONALLY.

The most engaging blogs speak to their audience in a casual and conversational tone. A big benefit of a blog is its ability to speak to readers in a way that is personal, candid and straightforward. Write your blog the same way you’d speak to your audience, face to face. The personal element is almost always what attracts people and keeps them coming back to your blog.

2. TELL STORIES.

Readers want to know things they already don’t know about your company. They want to know what the products, services, people, challenges, and innovations in your organization are really like. If you give them a glimpse of the inner workings, express your opinions boldly, and tell engaging stories, you will foster reader interest and loyalty. In a biography, both interviews and quotations usually are the most intriguing parts. Think of your company blog as a business biography. Personalize it with your unique thoughts and perspective.

3. MAKE IT PERSONAL.

Write about what you know. Draw from your expertise to tell the public about the finer points of your business. Detailing development ideas, setbacks, successes, and reactions reveals the human element and engages the reader. It’s fine to talk about new products and innovations, but blogs devoted mostly to marketing and promotion are the most boring and least popular of company blogs.

Make these topics more appealing to readers by framing such announcements with personal impressions and insights. Customers want to feel a kinship with the brand. Letting them in on the details of your business will make them feel part of your company culture and increase the chances of their lifetime loyalty.

4. UPDATE FREQUENTLY.

Once you have established a good reader base, offer new insights regularly to reward surfers for coming back. Not only does this offer more information and exposure, but it also reflects that your company is active and on top of things. Link to current articles from other sources to keep readers abreast of developments in your sector. A rarely updated blog feels stale and tired. This is not the reputation you want your company to have!

5. ADHERE TO COMPANY RULES.

You are personally responsible for whatever material you publish on your company blog. Respect the confidentiality of your organization and employees. Though you may express disagreements or concerns, do not make personal attacks or use the blog to air petty complaints. Do not reveal proprietary information; and avoid discussing revenue, share price, or other financial statistics.

Observe copyright law, and quote sources as you would in any other document. Make sure what you write in the company blog reflects the company’s goals. Keep in mind the goal of most company blogs is to increase visibility and promote the exchange of information. While most companies allow and encourage blogging on company time, you should avoid letting your writing time interfere with your regular workload.

6. WRITE GRAMMATICALLY.

Finally, make sure that what you write is grammatical. Your blog entries reflect your company’s image, and you want to give the best possible impression of the organization and its people. The Internet is rife with bad English. Though blogs tend to be relaxed in tone, it is also important to use standard English. Use a program like StyleWriter ( http://www.StyleWriter-USA.com ) or White Smoke ( http://www.WhiteSmokeSoftware.com ) to find and fix embarrassing grammar mistakes and help you write like a pro. As I have said in previous blog posts, there are also many free grammar, style, and spell-checkers available online (http://wp.me/p4wpJe-3I).

A blog is an excellent tool for promotion, communication, and information. The tips outlined here will help elevate your blog and generate traffic and interest. Good luck, and welcome to the wonderful world of blogging.