Today’s task in the Rediscover Your Blogging Groove project is to write a ‘Tip’ Post.
I know today’s task will be easier for some of you than others because your topic is more suited to writing ‘how to’ or ‘tip’ posts – however I’m sure that if you put your mind to it and get a little creative you can do it!
The idea behind today’s task is simply to help your readers in some way. What do you know that they might not? How can you teach them what you know?
9 Tips on How to write a Tips Post:
1. Present the Need – Most people will not read your tip post if they don’t feel they need to know what you’re teaching. Right at the top of your post (and even in the title) you need to show people why reading your tips is important. Tell them what problem you’re overcoming, what need you are trying to meet or what they’ll learn and how it will enhance their lives. Do this and you’ll increase the chances of them reading through your full post.
2. Base it On Your Own Experience – One of the best ways to write these posts is to base them on something that you have either done or something that you do. Perhaps it’s some process or workflow that you take for granted that will give someone insight into something they’d not considered before.
3. Base it on Someone Else’s Experience – Another technique is to base your tip on what someone else does. This might be someone you know well and that you’ve observed do something – or it could be a total stranger (How Donald Trump Gets His Hair to Comb Over….).
4. Choose Something Basic to Teach – sometimes it is the most simple and basic tips that people appreciate the most. Go back to beginner type instruction and you might find you connect with a lot of readers that advance posts wouldn’t hit the mark with.
5. Break it down into Steps – if there’s one thing that I’ve learned about teaching people via the web it is that you need to learn how to communicate in bite sized and achievable steps. Use well formatted points, bring in pictures, screenshots and examples to show processes and give live examples where possible. Numbering your steps can be a great way to keep people on track if your tip is sequential or a workflow.
6. Link to Previous Posts – never assume that your readers have read everything you’ve previously written. When you’re referring to something that you’ve previously taught – link back to it so that new readers can catch up.
7. Consider a Series for Complex Tips – if what you’re teaching is a more complex or longer process it might be worth breaking it down into separate posts over a series. You’ll need to carefully consider the cost and benefits of doing this as it can break your momentum and cause reader frustration if not done well.
8. Anticipate Questions – while you’re writing your tips post make note of any questions that you can imagine readers asking as they read it. Incorporate the answers to these questions either in the post itself or at the end in a little section dedicated to reader questions.
9. Update Your Posts – The great thing about ‘tips’ posts is that they can often have quite a long life in terms of relevance. My post on How to Hold a Digital Camera is still as relevant today as it was the day I wrote it. However I would suggest you revisit these posts from time to time to see how you can update them and keep them relevant. This is important if you’re in a fast moving niche – but is also important because if you’re anything like me you’ll learn more about your topic over time and when you go back to older posts you might find things that you now know more about or would change. While some would say updating posts isn’t the done thing in blogging I don’t have an issue to it if the updates make the post more useful to readers.
Homework – so now it’s time for you to go and write a tip post of some kind. Like I said above, this might be easier for some of you than others depending upon your topic, but don’t feel that the tip needs to be a long essay – it could be something quite simple and quick. Or you might even try writing something a little humorous.
If you’re looking for a little inspiration, check out the ‘How To…’ group writing project submissions where there’s a list of hundreds of tips and how to posts.
Once you’ve written your post come back here and share the link in comments below.