Saturday, March 1, 2014

How to Write an Informative How-To Article

Writing Step-by-Step Instructions Made Easy


Do you know any useful Web tricks that make online marketing easier? Do you create unique crafts that other people would like to re-create? Do you stay updated on current cooking techniques that make meal preparation easier? Do you want to share your how-to stories with the world? Are you unsure about how to write a how-to article? It's easier than you think!


Hello Writing Friends!

Last week, a friend and I were chatting away and doing some brainstorming. I asked her to hold me accountable for a how-to article I had started. She mentioned how much she disliked writing how-to articles. Personally, I enjoy using my writing as a teaching tool.

Today I'd like to share with you a few tips and hints to create a how-to article that is unique, useful and updated.


Reuse Your Project to Get It Right


Wash, rinse and repeat. Build your confidence as a how-to writer by re-creating your project several times before you sit down to write. You'll learn something new each time you make a beauty elixir, use a smartphone app, start tomato seeds, decorate chocolate cupcakes or refurbish a picture frame.

Each time you re-create your project, take lots of photographs. Think of your photos as your notepad, a place to store your writing ideas. Each of my attempts to Recycle Egg Shells to Make Sidewalk Chalk resulted in a slightly different result. It took several attempts to get the chalk recipe just right.

Tip:  Pictures are only worth a thousand words if those pictures help the step-by-step instructions tell the story. Show readers exactly how to do a task and the result they should expect. Show the before and the after.


Reduce Your Project into Steps


The trick to the how-to article is to separate your project into a series of steps. Creating these steps is similar to writing an outline. Look for 6 to 8 items that need to be completed to perform the task. The pictures you took while you completed your project will give you some clues.

Your project may also give you clues to its natural step-by-step process. A project that I started many years ago to Recycle Avocado Seeds and Grow Luxurious Trees lent itself to steps describing each of the growth stages of the avocado tree.


Remember, Revisions Are Your Best Friend


There's always room for improvement in a how-to article. Friends may suggest a different approach that you didn't think about. Add it as a tip in the appropriate step. You may learn more about the subject. Share your new-found knowledge and update your how-to. While re-reading your article, you may think of a better way of explaining a step. Never hesitate to make your work better.


Writing the how-to article is fun. Sharing your knowledge and making new discoveries is a rewarding experience.


Until next week, happy how-to writing!

Coletta

12 comments:

  1. I suppose this means "your friend" will soon find herself writing a "how-to" article! I like your approach to this writing task, utilizing the Squidoo format is sure to make it easier, and the way you build credibility by repeating your project for yourself and your article writing is commendable as well as being exemplary of you, the person.

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    1. Thank you, Ruthi! I like to repeat a task several times before I write about it. This repetition brings up a lot of questions that I can answer before my readers have a chance to ask them. Repetition also uncovers shortcuts that make the task easier for the reader. The important thing to remember about the how-to article... It's all about the reader. And, my friend will find herself writing a how-to because I believe she wants to expand her writing and her world! She's a go-getter!

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  2. This is a great way to look at making those "How-to's" and the advice is right on! Other than a couple of recipes I haven't done a "How-to" yet, but I have a work in progress and you have helped me to think this one through.......thanks

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    1. Hi Haydnsnannie! I'm glad you found this article helpful. I've been writing how-to type articles and books for decades. Squidoo's how-to lens format is the easiest and most efficient how-to template I've come across in my career. Happy writing!

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  3. I really do like the Squidoo "how to" lens format for a quick and easy instructional lens or short tutorial.

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  4. Love this encouragement to try a how-to lens by using really great real-life examples!

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    1. Thank you, Susan! Squidoo's How-to template is organized very well and makes it easy to focus on creating content. I have been having a lot of fun learning this new template. It is so versatile.

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  5. The Squidoo how-to format is second to none. It is the best template I have come across, as well. I love that you can use both photo and text to build a complete picture for the reader! How to articles are the backbone of the internet since most searchers are looking for information and answers to questions. Everyone should try writing one!

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  6. I enjoyed reading this posting and visiting the lenses you recommend. I need to think about what I can do a how-to lens on...it sure looks easy to use.

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  7. I really like and appreciate well-written how to articles. There are so many on the Internet without photos and poorly presented. We have the opportunity on Squidoo, and thanks to your tips, to take the art of this type of writing up several notches. I will be using the how to template a lot.

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  8. Thank you, Renaissance Woman! I was thrilled when Squidoo introduced the how-to lens format. It will help everyone create how-to articles that people will want to read. It's an awesome teaching format. I love it!

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  9. I appreciate this reminder on how to do a "How To" lens, (woops-I meant article!). I love to write how-to articles, although mine relate to making medical choices so don't really have pics that apply. Maybe using this article along with "How to Create a Slideshow" would create an even better blog post!

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