Why Some “How To” Blog Posts Suck (How You Can Write Better Ones)

Once upon a time, “how to” articles and blog posts were the daily bread for most bloggers. People want to know how stuff is done and if you offer the right lesson, you will get traffic. This approach to blogging was true… for a while.

How to cook rice” is a 2007 post and it continues to rank well in various search engines, even today.

But let me ask you an interesting question.

If that post was published today, would it get as much traffic as it of 2007?

The correct answer is NO.

The internet is changing

20 years ago, it was hard for humans to learn how to do something. You had to take a class, contact an expert, or horror of horrors, visit the library to learn how to use a bathtub!

The trend searching for “how to…” was still new and any post titled “how to…” earned most views.

But this rarely works today. Just Google damn nearly anything and you will get tens of blog posts and other resources including videos, podcasts, animations, and more giving you a step-by-step guide on how to do anything.

So if you type “how to cook rice” on search engines, you will find a perfect blog post to guide you. But does it excite you?

Is it a memorable experience?

Perhaps you will forget the title of the blog post and the name of the site after serving your rice.

The consequences…

Research reveals that “how to” blog posts get less traffic and are likely to be less engaging.

Even if your site will rank well in the search Engines, keep in mind that 99% of your audience will spend a few minutes reading your “how to” blog post just because they want to solve a problem.

Perhaps they will forget about you forever.

A simple trick to Write Irresistible “How to” Blog posts

Don’t just teach audience how to do it. Instead, offer insights on what to do differently.

Assuming that most readers who see your “how to” article had read dozens of such blog posts on other websites, what do you do to grab their attention and make them revisit your blog from time to time?

It’s pretty simple.

Show them a different approach that can work better.

If you have nothing new and interesting to teach…

You have only two options:

First, curate content. Just get pieces of advice from trusted sources and weave it together into a helpful resource for your audience.

It’s simple, fast, and your audience will appreciate it.

Second option?

Don’t say anything. Stay away from the topic until you think of new, interesting, and authentic stuff for your audience.

Instead, spend some time conducting weird experiments and researching about the topic.

Perhaps you will stumble across new insights that your audience will love. This will make you influential.

If you can’t do this, then for God’s sake, stay silent.

To write “how to” blog posts that go viral, you must stop telling your audience what they already know.

Instead, be a thinker, tinkerer, and a rebel, a brave writer who looks beyond how things are supposed to be done and sees the way this could be done.