“10 Useful Tips to Do Something” is probably the most ubiquitous article template on the Internet. It can be used to write about virtually anything, it doesn’t require a lot of preparatory work and research, it isn’t very demanding with regards to structure, so it is the first choice of anybody who has problems thinking about something to post.
But being so popular among the writers inevitably means that the readers who see such articles dozens times every day have long become jaded and immunized to their appeal. Writing yet another bland and run-of-the-mill text of this kind won’t do your blog much good – unless you spice it up.
[bctt tweet=”Tips on Writing Tips: How to Make Your Article Stand Out” username=”blogherald”]
How do you do this? Let’s find out.
Pick a Narrow and Specific Topic
The only way to write a “Tips” article that would stand out is to make sure that it begins to stand out from the very beginning – the topic and title. Remember, general topics like “10 ways to improve your blog” or “5 books you should read this year” are so broad that they have zero value for almost all readers. You can find dozens, probably hundreds of articles with identical titles and almost identical content, and readers are used to not noticing them.
If you want to attract attention, give tips on as specific a topic as you can. For example, compare this article about making a blog more accessible for blind readers with your run-of-the-mill “How to write a good blog post.” It covers an interesting and very specific topic. It gives useful tips. It is interesting enough in itself to attract the attention of a potential reader who has never considered this idea before.
Use Plenty of Examples
Ideally, they should come from your own experience – it will emphasize the fact that it is you who produces value, and that the information the reader consumes right now wasn’t just taken from half a dozen other sources and recompiled but comes directly from you.
When you provide an example, it immediately makes your text more trustworthy and reliable; in a way, they serve as solid ground under your feet. Take a look at this article about NYC Diamond District – the author constantly refers to his own visits to the place he talks about, his experience of dealing with stores there, and his advice is clearly based on it and not on something he read about the place online.
Write about What You Know
There is no read more depressing than an article sharing tips written by somebody who clearly has no idea of what he is talking about. It is not just useless for the reader but also actively undermines your reputation – you don’t want to become known for providing low-quality, unreliable information and assuming expertise you don’t possess.
So keep to the things you know and, if possible, give the readers some reasons to trust your knowledge – there are many ways to do so, from showing your credentials and mentioning projects you’ve used to work on regularly producing valuable content on your topic of choice to answering the questions of your audience. Take a look at this blog post – its author makes it obvious he does the things he writes about for a living and can prove it.
Selecting a topic and writing 5 most important tips is one approach – but it is all too often used by bloggers who simply fill in the space between more interesting blog posts. Another way is to select a topic and exhaust it completely, writing every bit of useful information you can think about. How about 50 tips? Or a hundred? An article on 101 tips may serve as a good example – it really does contain 101 tips, and although some of them seem to be stretching things a bit for the sake of a nice number in the title, doing such a thorough write-up on a topic means that you are much more likely to unearth details that are often left unexplained or omitted by experts.
Use Clear and Definite Titles
Some bloggers try to attract attention to their otherwise pretty typical posts by giving them unusual or quirky titles that don’t make it immediately obvious what the article is about. And although it can bring you visitors, it is unlikely to turn them into readers. The thing is, those who could have been interested in the topic you cover will with greater likelihood miss the message and go surfing further. And those who are initially attracted by the title enough to click and start reading, usually only do it to satisfy their curiosity and see what exactly you meant by your weird headline.
If you want to provide value, make sure the reader knows what kind of value he can find inside – like, for example, in this article that forgoes quirkiness for the sake of clarity. You immediately know what the article is going to be and decide whether you want to read it or not before you click – but if you do click and see that the article is well-written, you are likely to read on.
“Tips” articles are often generic and cliché, but using these suggestions, you can easily turn them from bland filler into valuable content.