Word Wall is three: my most popular posts

Copy CookIt’s been three years since I started this blog, and I’ve covered many subjects in this time.

Out of curiosity, I reviewed the statistics for my website to see which blog posts have received the most hits.

Interestingly, two posts stood out. One was Copy Cook: the missing link between copywriting and cooking. This post gives advice on how to write recipes using the imperative mood to describe the action that takes place. It shows you how to format a recipe to make it simple to follow and easy to read.

The other was How to write family and local history, which describes different ways to write history in order to make it attractive to a wider audience. This post gives tips on how to begin writing about the past and looks at different ways of presenting history to make it more accessible to children.

What the two blog posts have in common is they’re essentially both ‘How to’ articles.

The ‘How to’ article

The ‘How to’ article is perennially popular. Readers want to learn something, whether it’s how to clean a stain from the curtains or how to write engaging blog posts.

If you want to boost your readership, either online or in print, a good old ‘How to’ article always goes down well.

First, keep it simple. Bullet points, or numerical step-by-step are both effective ways to present your information. I used to write the 15-Minute Gardener column for My Weekly magazine, where I showed readers how to undertake a single garden task with just four photographs and four blocks of 30-50 words of text.

Three tips to writing engaging ‘How to’ articles:
 

  1. Illustrate your words with photos and pictures to add clarity, especially if you’re trying to explain something a little more complicated. It’s sometimes easier to get a point across visually.
     
  2. Sequence is vital. Make sure there’s a logical order to your descriptions. If you leave a single step out your reader can become hopelessly lost.
     
  3. Unless you’re writing for a specialist publication, don’t assume knowledge of the subject on the part of your reader. Aim to appeal to as wide an audience as possible. For example, use language that’s understood by all age groups.


Finally, enthuse about your topic. We all respond more readily to someone who’s not only skilled in their subject but who is also passionate about it.

Related posts:
Copy Cook: the missing link between copywriting and cooking
How to write local and family history