Thursday 4 November 2010

How to Write A How-To Article

How-to articles are a great way of explaining to someone how to do something that they don’t already know how to do. Such articles can contain either easy or difficult instructions, depending on how difficult the thing that you’re explaining how to do is. There are even some that have a mixture of easy and difficult instructions, which can be a little tricky. In this five-step how-to article we will explain how to write a successful five-step how-to article that is guaranteed to give know-how to people who don’t know how to.

  1. To get started you should first write Step 1. This is the one that comes before all the others, so make sure you number it with a very clear ‘1’, which is the number key just the left of ‘2’ on most keyboards.
  2. When you have completed the first step, it’s time for the second one. Don’t get carried away and jump to 3 or 4, which sometimes happens when you’re writing quickly.
  3. The third step is often the most difficult to get right, as it comes immediately after Step 2 but before Step 4! A lot of how-to writers forget this, so if you’re getting confused it’s a great idea to note down (any old piece of paper will do) all the steps in a list one above the other in order to remind you which step goes where.
  4. By the time you get to Step 4, you may be getting tired and should take care not to end here. Missing off the last step is never a good idea, as it makes your how-to article look a little amateurish.
  5. Finally it’s time to write the last step, which means that there should be absolutely no more steps after this one! Before you finish, check carefully through all the other steps to make sure that there is the correct number of steps (and that they're in the right order - refer to the list you made in Step 3), and you’re done.

(This was inspired by an article about an editor's experience of working in a 'content farm')

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