Every business and business owner is an expert in what they sell. It's what sets a business apart from your competitors. As an expert, small business owners also know why their prospects buy from them in the first place. And more importantly, what makes those new clients become repeat customers and refer new business.
The trick to sharing that expertise online through articles and posts that actually help to convert prospects who are searching for your products and services.
Here is a guide we followed from WikiHow that we use to create SEO optimized content tp be published on our client's website, Blogs, Facebook, Linkedin, Google+, and other digital touchpoints.
Next, we want to simply and clearly tell the reader what the article will do for them. Folks today are picky and selfish with their time - most of the time, they'll pick a search engine results that appears to offer quickest and easiest answer their search. An easy-to-digest article title will give you an instant advantage over one with an overwritten title. A good converting SEO optimized title should:
How-to articles can be long or short, funny or serious, specific or general, technical or casual - there's no hard and fast rule. However, you'll want to tailor your article to be as legible as possible for the kinds of people who are most likely to read it. Change your writing style and even the content of your article to make it as useful as possible for your target audience without being boring.
Readers read an article's introduction to make sure it's right for their needs. Your readers are tantalizingly close to the body of the article, so don't lose them here! Be brief - you shouldn't need more than a paragraph for basic how-tos. Also be sure to include the purpose of the article (forgetting this is a common writing pitfall.) Background information and/or scene-setting is acceptable, but try to keep it to a sentence or two. Above all, don't meander! A directionless introduction can kill an otherwise informative article.
If you're writing a how-to article about a process that requires certain tools or supplies to complete, list them before you dive in to the main instructions. Be thorough, but use common sense - for instance, you don't need to list "One oven" in the "Ingredients" section of a recipe how-to.
Cite any sources you've consulted. When writing, you should always express ideas in your own words. However, even if you completely understand the process you're writing about, how-to articles will often require you to research outside sources for specific information. Always credit any sources you used to avoid plagiarism. If you must reprint copyrighted content verbatim, obtain explicit permission from the original author.
One general rule when researching for an article is to preferentially consult primary (rather than secondary or tertiary) sources. For a good guide on understanding primary sources, see our article on finding primary source documents.Many publications have specific procedures for properly citing and attributing sources.
See: How to Reference Sources on wikiHow.
Add additional tips or advice. After the main steps, you have an opportunity to add tidbits that didn't warrant a place in the body of the article. Provide alternative supplies or solutions to common problems with the process.main steps, you have an opportunity to add tidbits that didn't warrant a place in the body of the article. Provide alternative supplies or solutions to common problems with the process.
Clarify common mistakes or misconceptions. Warn the reader about any potential danger involved with the process.
Add photographs or drawings to enhance your steps. Pictures in a how-to article can range from "nice to have, but not essential" to "absolutely vital." Many articles must use a visual reference to clarify certain concepts. An article on building a chair needs pictures - it's very difficult to convey the precise positions of the interlocking wood pieces through text.
If you have a good-quality camera or know how to draw, you can provide pictures for the article yourself. If you can't draw, don't have a good camera, or the process is too complicated to recreate for the purpose of obtaining pictures, you might want to hire a professional illustrator.
Proofread for errors. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis famously said, "There is no great writing, only great rewriting." No first draft has ever existed that didn't benefit from intelligent editing. Review your spelling, punctuation, grammar, and overall style. Omit any information that isn't necessary.
Direct users to other articles. A well-written how-to will pique readers' interest in the article's subject, while a poorly-written one will send readers running for other sources of information. In either case, it can be useful to include links to other how-to articles that cover related topics. Generally, these links will be in the form of a short list at or near the end of the article. These articles should cover articles whose information overlaps with your own and/or articles about processes from the same general field.
For instance, an article about how to "perm" hair might include links to articles on how to: