Article By Pierre Zarokian
Content Marketing is great way to have lots of positive things about you online to help with reputation management, but also to get links to your website for SEO purposes.
White papers are a great way to establish yourself as an expert online and build your reputation. In addition to offline methods, such as speaking at events, running award ceremonies, and marketing through your network, you can also try other online methods. Many of these involve producing content, including but not limited to white papers, that can help build you up as an expert to someone who has searched for your name or your company name on a search engine.
What also makes this type of guide work is that the people who are searching for them are people who don’t know how to do what it is that you do. Otherwise they would not be looking for a how-to article to teach them!
How to Write How-to Guides
These guides also increase visibility because people frequently search for “how to X” when they look things up on search engines. This is similar to how people look up “best X” or “good X” when they are looking for shopping products.
When you write a how to guide, you first need to know:
- who will be reading your guide.
- what your guide is telling people to do.
The first one is very important because you need to know your audience’s knowledge and skill level. Usually, these guides cover an introductory level because most people will be looking for an introductory guide. The number of people who are looking for a particular thing is like a pyramid, with lots of people knowing very little and only a few people knowing a lot.
What your guide is for also matters and a lot of how-to guides that could be better do not really know what they themselves are about! Often they start off as how-to guides but then sidetrack into a discussion about the topic to meet a word count because Google likes pages with lots of text.
Structure Your Guide
The most important thing about your how-to guide is to structure it. Once you’ve chosen your topic, you should write numbered steps that will tell people chronologically what to do. The first step should be something basic. Although this chapter is not a how-to article, I said to choose your topic first. This lets people who are following your guide feel a sense of accomplishment early on, because they have completed one of the steps, even though it is an easy step.