In the world of writing, there are three basic purposes: to inform, to entertain, and to persuade. In my Facebook Blogging Genius group, we have been working on a content-creation challenge. Week 2 asks my fellow bloggers to create a how-to post. In the spirit of playing along, I’m creating a how-to on how to write a how-to. (I’m dizzy after just typing that.)
How-To posts fall under the “to inform” category. They’re created to provide the audience and reader with steps and instructions for completing a task. Sometimes, you may see a how-to post in the form of a recipe, a craft lesson, or even a life goal. For instance, I’ve shared in the past about how to have an open conversation with your tween.
In order to successfully craft your post (or even a video if you’re going that route), you want to be sure that you do the following:
- Be sure you have clear steps – If you’re providing steps, they need to make sense. While you may feel very comfortable with the procedure, your audience may need a few more bits of explanation to make it perfectly clear. Consider asking someone to read over your steps before hitting publish to ensure that you’ve included all the details you need to include to make it easy for anyone to understand.
- Provide images where you can – I know that when I’m looking at instructions for a recipe or craft, it helps to have visuals to take me step by step or to at least let me see the end result and goal. You don’t need to overdo the images, but having a few will help your audience feel comfortable and measure their success.Check out this example of an image I used when teaching my readers how to make a foldable book with just one sheet of paper:
- Offer definitions of necessary but unfamiliar vocabulary – If you’re telling me how to sew something and you tell me to attach the sleeve to the armscye, I’m just going to look at you like, “Huh!?” In the instance where your steps include terms that are specific to your subject (or jargon), be certain to quickly define them the first time you use them.
- Start with an interesting anecdote (story) or introduction – When you create your post, you want to provide a reason or purpose for your readers to want to actually read what you’ve created. In the instance of this post, I reminded you that there are three purposes and the how-to post is one that I’ve included in my blogging challenge. I’ve provided context for the “why” of this post, and you understand why you might need to read it.
Creating a how-to post is actually relatively easy. Whether you realize it or not, you know how to tell someone how to do something. Consider all the times you’ve given directions to your house or told someone how to make your favorite, famous recipe.
Have you written a how-to post? Leave me the link in the comments!