The better you convey information to your readers, the more chance you’ll have of attracting new readers as well as retaining your existing audience. When it comes to instructional content, which entails teaching a lesson or providing a tutorial, this is of particular importance.
You need to become an effective teacher when you write this kind of content, so your students — your readers — will keep investing in your material. So how can you do this?
Why Instructional Content Is So Effective
First, we have to discuss what makes instructional content such a powerful tool in content marketing:
– Practicality. First, instructional content is practical, which means it has the potential to make a difference in someone’s life. It’s not just entertaining; it’s helpful.
– Demand. People will always desire instructional content because nobody knows how to do everything. So there’s always a demand for this kind of content.
– Opportunity. Because instructional articles and content come in a variety of different forms, on all sorts of different topics, you have countless opportunities for new development.
– Search optimization. Instructional content is also valuable because people frequently search for it online, which makes it a viable strategy for boosting your SEO.
How to Become a Better Teacher (in Writing)
When you’re ready to start becoming a better teacher in your writing, here are the strategies you’re going to want to employ:
1. Be a problem solver. As described by guitar teacher Tom Hess, one of the best ways to create better instructional content is to play the role of a problem solver. Instead of trying to create instructional content in the format of a flat “matter of fact” piece, focus on the problems your audience tends to encounter. For example, if you’re writing about baking cookies at the proper time and temperature, focus on the problem of getting cookies that are too soft or too crispy. This approach will make your content more relatable, and more appealing to an audience.
2. Write specifically to one niche. When you’re getting started, it’s better to write for one specific niche rather than a general audience. This may limit the total number of people you’re apt to reach with your content, but you’ll bring those people greater relevance and significance. It’s better to have a few hundred loyal readers than a few thousand casual and fickle ones, especially when you’re initially trying to find your footing as a content marketer.
3. Include resources for multiple learning styles. Not everybody learns the same way. In fact, there are dozens of different learning styles that affect how people receive and interpret new information. For that reason, it can be useful to readers, and beneficial to you, to create content that appeals to as many different learning styles as possible. Include written content, visual content, and audio content whenever you can.
4. Use figurative language and storytelling. According to Peter Fuda, metaphors are one of the most powerful rhetorical devices we have at our disposal because of their ability to encapsulate complex topics in simple, easily digestible concepts. Storytelling works much in the same way: by spinning an entertaining, approachable narrative that stands for a much deeper or more complex situation. Learn to use these devices effectively and you’ll be able to teach better and create a unique “voice” for your brand at the same time.
5. Learn from your competitors. The odds are, you won’t the first person to publish instructional content in your particular niche. Take some time to research your competition and see what they’re writing, how they’re presenting it, and who their audience appears to be. Take care not to duplicate their tactics directly, but do try to learn from what they’re doing, and apply those lessons to your own writing.
6. Be willing to adapt. Great teachers don’t maintain the same tactics for too long; they recognize that true effectiveness comes from improvement and adaptation over time. Turn a critical eye on the work you’ve done up to now, and pay attention to which of your articles is performing better than the others. The more you learn, and the more you’re willing to adjust your approach, the more potential for growth you’ll enjoy.
7. Seek feedback. Go out of your way to collect feedback from your readers and students. Read the comments you get at the tail end of your posts and on social media, and thinking about circulating an occasional survey so you can gather more quantitative, objective feedback about your work. It’s the best way to learn your strengths and weaknesses, so you can adapt accordingly.
You probably won’t become a masterful instructional writer overnight, but given time, patience, practice, and a willingness to learn, there’s no limit to how powerful your content may become.
Remember, the student-teacher relationship operates in both directions, so the better you understand your students’ needs, the better you’ll be able to address them. Work actively to tap into your readers’ mindset, and continue to give them exactly what they need.
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