How-to guides are tremendously popular at the moment. Websites like wikiHow give step-by-step instructions to curious Google searchers and advice articles dominate Twitter feeds.
The rise of how-to content on the internet is well-deserved. People are looking for information and these guides are catering to the needs and cravings of an increasingly tech-savvy population.
How-to guides can give associations and other non-profits a great opportunity to provide members with more value and increase awareness of a cause or industry among the general public. One of the chief reasons members join an association is to learn and grow professionally. How-to guides are a great way to make learning easy and your organization’s other services more accessible.
There are many online platforms that provide you with the tools to create a successful how-to guide, ranging from YouTube to blogs and infographics.
Still don’t know where to start with your own how-to? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with a how-to guide of our own!
Step 1- Choose a Focus
Having a how-to guide requires something that needs explaining. If you are helping to explain something that is very simple or that none of your members need to know, readers/viewers will have no use for your guide.
For example, pick a newer service that your organization provides to members and create a how-to for accessing that service and getting the best out of it. This is useful for members and promotes your organization’s value to its community.
Step 2- Plot the Steps
Before you even get started creating your how-to online, it’s a good idea to write down and review the steps. Completing this step can tell you a few crucial things about your guide including: Is the issue too simple? Will people have use for it? Are there too many or too few steps? What audience am I trying to target?
Answering these questions before you begin will place you in the shoes of your members or the general public, which will help you make a better how-to that addresses their needs and concerns.
Step 3- Chose a Platform
Not all social media platforms were created equal; some are better for your how-to guide than others. The two platforms that lend themselves to good how-tos are blogs and YouTube. Both allow for visual storytelling, longer explanations and accessibility by just about anyone.
Think about which platforms are best for your certain guide. Are written words and photos/infographics on a blog good enough? Or does a video showing a step-by-step explanation do the trick better? Think about the resources and technical knowledge you have and how many people you can reach with each platform.
Step 4- Be Clear and Concise
Once you have started making your how-to guide, make sure to keep it simple. The purpose of your guide is to make it easy for the average Joe to access your association’s benefits. If you fill your how-to with complicated steps, vague references and technical jargon, people will become even more lost than before.
Step 5- Use Visuals and Examples
Many people learn by seeing. Adding visual, whether it’s a video, pictures or an infographic, is always helpful. If members are able to follow along with the how-to as it is explained, it becomes much easier to get the hang of the activity.
This how-to guide from the American Diabetes Association is a great example of the power of visuals in getting a message across.
Step 6- Do a Trial Run
Before you release your how-to for viewing by members or the public, be sure to take it for a test drive. Follow along with the steps yourself and ask a colleague or volunteer to try it out as well. You may find that there are some steps missing or a gap in the information. Testing your how-to will ensure that everything is clear, concise and complete so your members will get the most out your guide.
Step 7- Promote It
There’s no sense in having a well-made how-to guide if no one sees it. Promote your guide on other social media platforms and on your website. Make it available at conferences and meetings. Make it accessible for everyone.
How-to guides are a great way to engage your members and add value in the process. Pay attention to detail, keep it simple and let your members know it’s there.
What do you think makes a great how-to guide? Let us know in the comments!