SEO friendly articles in any media will do well to obey the First Law of Marketing: “Make it interesting and useful and they will read it.” This is a blatant and shameless plagiarism of one of my favorite movie lines: “Build it and they will come.” It is a simple marketing concept really, and your Field of Dreams is the endless stream of billions of hungry minds in search of meaningful, useful information in an infinity of interstellar dust.
That’s why we’re here to share how to make it interesting and useful. With the skill of an expert tap dancer, you can use the “How-To” concept to create engaging articles that are effective for your clients–and your bottom line.
Why Tap Into the How-To Market?
We live in a new world where parents don’t let their kids play with tools, get dirty, or get greasy fixing their bikes. This overprotective mentality has had a negative effect on self -sufficiency which has been great for the trades, but it leaves a lot of people a little lost when it comes to doing things for themselves.
The internet has been the salvation for millions of do-it-your-selfers. Google is the Mecca for everything from how to train your puppy to building your own moon rocket launcher. There are millions of people hungry for how-to information on the simplest of things, from oil changes to setting up multi million dollar ERP Software systems.
Or shining up their tap shoes.
How to Find a How-To Audience
Potential clients for ” How-To” articles span the gamut, ranging from plumbers and mechanics to doctors and dentists. No, not “How To Pull Your Own Teeth,” but “How To Find a Dentist To Pull Your Teeth” might resonate, right?
Even the most experienced auto mechanic will read an article on how to do an oil change, and electricians will read articles on “how-to” install a light switch. If you have a client that sells auto parts, repairs cars, sells cars, or anything auto related, this will make a connection with not only average everyday consumers but professionals as well. And even dancers–amateurs to prima ballerinas–are looking for new ways to tape their toes or care for their soft shoes.
Why? Because everybody loves familiar territory. It is a comfort zone we love like sitting by the fire on a winter night or cuddling up with a good book. Reading familiar material–and improving on what you know–gives everybody a warm fuzzy feeling.
On the other side of the bar (the barre?) are the totally uninitiated. These are the people who make sure the ER is open before they take the wrapper off a paintbrush. Yes, there is probably a statistic on ER visits by people who stabbed themselves with a screwdriver opening a can of paint. The point is that there is an audience for almost everything, and tapping into that market is easy, but there are rules.
Example: Tapping Into How-To Content
Virtually any topic can be approached from a how-to vantage point. Let’s look at an example. Just on pure speculation, I Googled ” How Mechanical Cats Work.” I truly expected some humorous responses, but instead, I uncovered some very serious subject matter. The topics ranged from mechanical pets to comfort seniors and the disabled. Some are extremely lifelike interactive, and not toys at all.
“How To Bring Comforts to Senior Care Homes with Virtual Pets” could be a perfect how to article focused on how to make seniors feel at home in a nursing home or hospital setting. People who would benefit from such content include those from nursing homes, pet stores, rehab facilities and hospitals.
How to Keep How-To Content Simple
“Just the facts Ma’am, Just the facts” – Jack Webb
This quote from the great Jack Webb says it all. People read these articles for information, so keep them on point. Humor is a great way to keep the interest level up, but the substance has to be there.
The instructions that come with a ceiling fan or a light switch might as well be written in invisible ink. Most instructions I have read are overly complex and seem to forget that they are writing to people who may have never held a wrench or a screwdriver. Bottom line? Keep it simple! This is where your content can help: by simplifying what’s probably overly complex.
My favorite rule is ” KISS”. This is an engineering term and it applies to everything from nuclear subs to carpenter nails. “Keep It Simple Stupid” means that we have to avoid the tendency to overcomplicate things, and the simplest, most direct approach is usually best.
Ark Building for Dummies: How-To Copywrite for How-Tos
Moses built an Ark, and according to the scriptures, the instructions consisted of 86 words. Period. Genesis 6: 14-16. Not much to go on, is it? The point is that if you are an expert on a subject, then, by all means, share your knowledge. But if you do not have years of experience on a subject, then you can learn and share that information.
Sometimes, the less you know about a subject makes you a better writer and teacher, because your lack of experience forces you to research the subject. It forces you to research and read and learn, and then pass that information on in a way that someone else can do it. The only genius I know of that knew everything from birth was Christopher Lloyd, the inventor of the Flux Capacitor.
Content marketing is a “Sky is the Limit” type of writing, and the opportunities are endless. Just one word of caution: People will be reading these articles and acting on the information to fix things in their homes or on their automobiles, so be factual and accurate. It is a fact that people believe what they see in writing or on the internet, and misinformation can be dangerous.
On that note, pass on the article about using C4 to clear the toilet or installing a light switch in the shower stall.
Douglas A‘s career spans over 45 years and covers a wide range of experience including copywriting, sales promotion writing, and account management. Areas of expertise include technical , manufacturing, medical, automotive, and retail sales promotion. He has done copywriting and design for electronics, automotive, medical and manufacturing clients as well a creating corporate training materials for an SAP implementation, telecommunications, and wireless services. Work experience includes project management for IT and manufacturing, as well as creating corporate wireless strategy and policy for a multinational corporation.