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How-To Content: 5 Tips For Writing Better Instructional Blog Posts

As a business working to attract website visitors and convert leads, developing informational “how-to” posts should be a main focus in your content marketing strategy. The following tips will help business blog writing users to create “how-to” posts that are rewarded by Google, driving highly engaged website traffic and leads.

Step 1) Identify Needs, Problems and FAQs

Make sure the content you’re creating is actually needed by your target audience. Here are a brainstorming guidelines to help your team identify the best how-to content ideas:

  • List out common challenges with your product or service that your readers may face.
  • Ask your sales-team or customer-support team for their most frequently asked questions.
  • Run a survey or poll on your website or social media sites, asking your current customers for their current or previous questions.

Step 2) Look to Analytics for Content Opportunities

Web users may currently be finding your website with how-to queries or long-tail questions. However, if you’re not providing specific answers to their questions you may be missing an opportunity to connect with them.

  • Check the keywords generating search engine traffic and internal website search queries.
  • Identify keyword searches that are bringing in traffic but have a high bounce rate or low engagement rates.
  • Make a list of opportunity areas where you can provide more detailed and informative answers to their questions.

Step 3) Identify Top Keyword Searches

Go back to the drawing board and research keywords and phrases that are currently being searched by users. Identify high search volume phrases that you can integrate into your how-to posts to help your site rank for these phrases.

  • Utilize Google Keyword Planner and research keyword topic areas
  • Go to Google's search bar and type in various keywords or questions into the search box. Pay attention to the suggested phrases that Google brings up in the drop down area. These are great ideas for informational business blog writing posts.
  • For example, a wedding planner may want to provide information that would be useful for future brides, such as "how to choose a wedding photographer" or "how to choose a wedding venue". If the planner types in "how to choose a wedding" then Google presents various ideas for this type of topic in the drop down.

Step 4) Break Down Problems

Once you’ve identified problems, issues and questions that you can answer to your website visitors, lay out the process for solving the issue.

  • Make a list of steps to overcome the problem
  • For more complex problems, break down the process using a MindMap tool
  • As you lay out the process, make notes for other ideas for posts that could complement the blog post or could serve as follow-up posts

Step 5) Have a Critical Eye

Once your blog is created, go through a series of critical thinking steps to make sure the how-to post is as useful as possible for your target audience.

  • What is the point or purpose of the business blog writing post? Are you fulfilling the intent?
  • Will the post actually solve my readers problem?
  • What questions could my readers still be having after utilizing this post?
  • Have I clearly communicated the how-to process?
  • Did I give practical examples?
  • Are their any illustrations / charts or videos that could complement the post?
  • Are their resources that could complement the post that I could link to?

Google made one change to their home page last year: they made the search box longer. This small change is indicative of how Google's search algorithm is adapting to accommodate changing user preferences.

Google Users Search for Detailed Search Queries

Google users today tend to search by typing in whole questions and long-tail phrases instead of short keywords. As Google has improved their algorithms and rewarded high quality content, users who engaged in business blog writing have learned that detailed queries will help them to find the most relevant and useful content.

Take-Home Message: Google Rewards Sites with Content That Answer User Questions

To adapt to user actions, Google has consistently updated their algorithm to reward the type of content that users are looking for and engaging with. The most recent algorithm update, Hummingbird, shows how Google is focusing more on presenting the best results for these longer-tail queries. When announcing the larger focus on conversational search, Google’s Amit Singal described the future of search, stating “We’ve been hard at work to make Google understand and answer your questions more like people do.”

Topics: business blog - business blog content - business blog writing - business blog strategy

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