Composing an organized, well structured, easy-to-read tutorial can pose a few stumbling blocks for the average Writer. However, with a few tips and tricks, you can develop a winning tutorial by first conceptualizing your ideas before writing them down in a comprehensible format. Writing a tutorial is much like writing anything else and, as such, it is first necessary to sketch out an outline before piecing everything together.
What is a Tutorial?
First, a tutorial is a way for one person to transfer knowledge to another. Its simplicity lies in its specificity — it’s more detailed than a book and gives the reader step-by-step instructions for how to accomplish a task. Making your tutorial easy to understand by the average person is key to its success. If you remove yourself from the instructions and present the information in a technical, detached way, no one will want to read it. However, if you don’t supply basic knowledge of the task at hand, no one will take it seriously. Walking that fine line can help you balance the success of writing a quality tutorial.
The overall process of writing a tutorial is not that much different than any other paper. Work through all stages of the writing process, starting with pre-writing, which involves brainstorming and idea creation. Progress onto organization and structure, which outlines your ideas on paper of how you will present your tutorial, then move onto checking your flow of ideas to ensure they make sense in a gradual progression. Ensure your sentence structure flows well, check your grammar and add any helpful citations, resources or links to further enhance the learning process.
Compiling Your Tutorial
The first step to putting an effective tutorial together is choosing a topic. You want a subject that’s specific enough to write in detail about, so avoid anything too broad. Choose something you have in-depth knowledge about so you can pass on that knowledge to others. Stating the objective in clear detail at the beginning will lay out the purpose for your tutorial, and being clear, concise and on-point will allow just about anyone to be able to understand your piece.
Add substance by avoiding irrelevant filler. Instead, be concise in your writing to get to the point quickly. After a directive, it’s helpful to insert a link, screen shot, image or graphic to further illustrate what you’re talking about. Break your tutorial into separate sections to make it easier to digest. Be clear and unambiguous and pepper your tutorial with examples. Don’t forget to proofread your piece afterward and run through it yourself as if you were unfamiliar with the concept. Does it make sense?
Apply and Update
Once your tutorial is complete and you have shared it, don’t let it get stale. Update it as needed and give additional support to readers if they have further questions. Just like any essay, e-book, or other piece of writing, the editing stage is crucial. Because you wrote the piece and can’t be entirely objective, hand it off to a trusted friend, boss, or family member and have them read through it. Ask them to tell you if the piece makes sense in a logical order, with one thought naturally leading to another. Take out any unnecessary wording and check for errors in the final copy. Overall, make sure you have answered the question you originally set out to address.
Of course, all the compelling writing in the world won’t help people find your resource, so using SEO keywords, meta tags and descriptions will help people find you. Connecting with the reader is the most important part of a tutorial because if no one can find what you’ve written, it’s worthless.
If you have any questions regarding information that will be included in a particular tutorial, consult the User requesting the content. They will be able to provide you with additional information that can help connect the dots or incorporate missing steps that will tie the piece together.