A Textbook Approach To Writing Guides

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Blogs have become the go-to soap box for content marketing, and for good reason. They offer punchy, bite-sized nuggets of wisdom into your area of expertise, nudging an audience towards concepts and solutions. But blogging does have its limits – particularly when you’re aiming for a lengthy insight, one that explains an idea top-to-toe.

Guides offer a detailed, logical analysis of a trend, problem or service provision. Just like in our recent breakdown of how to educate your prospects, we’ve decided to lay out the basics of writing a guide for topics close to home…

Create a clear structure

The first thing to remember is that guides are longer than your average piece of content. In fact, their whole purpose revolves around splitting up your subject matter in a way that makes sense. Guides have to be well-organised, otherwise they risk drowning people in random, disparate comments that don’t match up.

It would be foolish, for instance, to start talking about the wonders of a new tech platform if you haven’t explained what it is yet. B2C and B2B copywriting share a common goal: to create a conceptual through-line. Therefore, look at it from an outsider’s perspective – what would you want to know initially? What other questions do those answers generate? Build each section on top of its antecedent, and the structure should come naturally.

Throw jargon in the scrapheap

This is a guide… It must be treated as such. That means no assumptions; people are going to be reading this for an entryway into what could, perhaps, be a topic of considerable intricacy, loaded with terms they’d never normally use.

More than in any other form of copywriting, there’s no place for jargon and baffling acronyms. So, slice the complex language out. Any time you do mention a buzz-phrase or industry shorthand, explain it straight away. There’s enough room for patient descriptions, if we’re flirting with 1,000-3,000 words, which is plenty for a firm handle of the subject. Don’t rush anything, and take the reader through a measured, accumulative pace that doesn’t cut corners.

Prioritise information over salesmanship

If your blogging, web content and email marketing are good enough, there shouldn’t be any cause for injecting your guide with sales patter. Readers will take you to heart if you present this as a complementary, no-strings-attached walkthrough, one that’ll get them out of a sticky situation or streamline their thought process.

Once clued-up, the prospect may want to discover more, which is when your accompanying content strides forward to build on that desire. Since, through a quality guide, you’ve already displayed a magnanimous gift to the online community, they’re more inclined to trust your agenda – that you think of others more than yourself.

For an even tastier strategy, split your guide into sections, and publish them a week or so apart. That’ll sow the anticipatory seed in a prospect’s head; something that, we’re sure you’ll agree, is a killer achievement for any business.

Don’t have the time to draft and compose a superb industry guide? Making You Content can do it for you. Contact us with your vision, and we’ll be happy to discuss it.

Words by Kelly


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