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Write a Tip Post – Rediscover Your Blogging Groove Day 5

Rediscover-Blogging-Groove--1Today’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.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Bush Mackel says:

    I actually just concluded a series of tip posts for the beginner blogger called “Start Blogging”! I tried to incorporate a lot of things I’ve been reading on here including having scannable content and making lists. I’m always up for criticism so I hope everyone feels free to add their two cents. Thanks!

    Start Blogging Series (Part 1) – Nature of the Beast

  2. I use most of these strategies when writing my own posts, but nonetheless, this article rocked! I always love to ask questions in my posts, and feel that it is especially important for eliciting conversation and relationships. Good stuff Darren!

  3. Kimber says:

    I got asked for my travel tips so often
    that I actually set up a blog for that purpose
    (saves time, can merely send links to queries).

    What I find helpful
    is being specific in my posts.
    Instead of saying “go to a night market in Beijing and sample the exotic food”
    say “go to the Donghua Men Night Market in Beijing and sample the snake.”
    Instead of saying “you’ll save money”
    say “you’ll save x amount.”

  4. Already wrote a tip post this week, but as usual, excellent tips on your part :-)
    Thanks for the tips

  5. Ryan Imel says:

    Oddly enough, I wrote a tip post this morning, on assigning a new home page and post page in WordPress. Simple stuff, but sometimes it’s nice to have a visual guide.

    http://themeplayground.com/194/choosing-a-static-and-post-page-in-wordpress

    Good tips, I think through those things when writing tips.

  6. Matt Jones says:

    Great tips about giving tips, one thing I would add is to think about keywords in the title, of course it should still be written primarily for human reader, but a more in-depth tip on a specific topic has potential to rank well in Google.

  7. 45n5 says:

    My contribution:

    Title:
    Tip – Have A Physical Mailing Address On Your Blog

    URL:
    http://www.45n5.com/permalink/tip-have-a-physical-mailing-address-on-your-blog.html

    I’m curious to your everyone’s thoughts on the tip.

    Cheers,
    Mark

  8. Thanks Darren, I like writing tip posts. I’ll see what I can come up with for today.

  9. Roosevelt says:

    I have recently started a “commercial blog” (http://co-opwealth.blogspot.com) offering tips and insights for the home Internet entrepreneur utilizing network and affiliate marketing. My blog also promotes a large international network/affiliate marketing company. Thanks for your “how to write a ‘tips’ post”, Darren! I think i am already applying most of your “tips” but I see where I can make some improvements! ( I have another blog that is just a monetized “regular” blog (http://mothanskin.blog-city.com) , but in some posts I do offer “advice” or “counsel” so I can apply these same principles you have given.

  10. Roosevelt says:

    Sorry, I forgot to give you a post! Here is my latest on my network/affiliate marketing “tips” blog.http://co-opwealth.blogspot.com/2007/07/duplicate1-duplicate-duplicate.html

  11. billie says:

    This is a great tip on writing tips :)

  12. Bret says:

    Took me a little longer today but I managed to crank out the final assignment. Again, I posted this one over at my other blog: Brothers In Blog. A short piece offering some simple tips for taking better digital photos for an eBay of Craig’s List item

  13. Bret says:

    Oops. I think I made a typo in my previous article link. Let me try that again.

    http://brothersinblog.com/2007/07/20/how-to-take-a-good-photo-for-ebay-or-craigs-list/

  14. David Fraser says:

    Thanks for the advice Darren.

    I think tips posts are a great way to capture reader attention, and if they provide something valuable to the casual reader there’s no reason why he shouldn’t become a regular.

  15. A great article and hopefully confirmation that the concept of my blog is sound (offering daily money saving/making tips).

    Cheers!

  16. Deb says:
  17. KimC says:

    Just posted a quick tip. I didn’t quite follow all your rules (moms of 8 get to make the rules, not follow them) but it’s definitely within my experience and I think my core audience will find it useful.
    Getting the best deal online

  18. Shine says:

    This is a master tip post sample… Thank you Darren.

  19. Hey, Don! says:

    I just wrote a list post on the 7Ps of marketing. I used info from my graduate school days.

    All of us have all kinds of info that we picked up at school!

    I think it’s great to categorize types of posts: narrative posts, list posts, tips posts. There are probably more. But consciously using these will give variation to the writing style and keep posts interesting for readers.

  20. Vincent says:

    Utter newbie to blogging – thanks for this amazing resource!

  21. Sam Edwards says:

    Hi Darren,

    These tips were very useful. I often find myself spending a lot of time doing research & reading on various subjects. But after reading your articles I have realized that to learn swimming need to get into the pool & start swimming. Likewise for blogging I need to start writing & blogging.

    I realized that I would spend hours reading on bogging, tips & what others would write on their blogs & posts. But I would not write, thinking that I still need to learn a lot more before I start the process. But now I realize it’s out there. Gotta keep blogging & learning as I go on.

    Thanks for the tips again.

    Sam
    http://www.shoppingalore.com

  22. I invited a bunch of guest writers to my blog in an attempt to see if we could build a readership and maybe convert our site from a real estate blog to a magazine site for homes and garden related content. We’re hoping to get a new domain provided that we can build a decent size readership (interest in our content, etc).

    Anyways, one of my guest writers Lani Anglin is writing a series of tips on various housekeeping and cleaning ideas.

  23. Blog Opinion says:

    Writing in steps with simple language, your readers should understand it with minimum time consumption. This make more chances digging your post. I even suggested Google Adsense to explain those program policies in points .So that users can easily understand them quickly.

  24. Susan Borgas says:

    Darren thanks for this informative post. I don’t write many ‘tip’ post that would interest a broad readership such as yours although I am reasonably happy with the one that I have posted today. In future I will try to implement what you have written in this post of yours, Cheers!

  25. I didn’t think I’d manage this, but I finally did.

  26. Tom Hanna says:

    How much of an expert do you have to be to write a “how-to” post? I’m not sure if years of writing qualify me, but hopefully at least years of reading make me something of an expert on the topic I addressed at Blog Carnivals: “Successful Blog Carnival Marketing Starts with Great Blog Posts.”

    http://blogcarnivals.com/2007/successful-blog-carnival-marketing-starts-with-great-blog-posts/

  27. Kiltak says:

    I’ve written lots and lots of tip posts.. in fact, in my own experience, those posts always end up being the most profitable when it comes to adsense monetization..

    I’ve got around 15 here.

    http://www.geeksaresexy.net/articles-and-reviews/

    and about 40 here (skip the ads on top):

    http://geeksaresexy.blogspot.com/2006/02/geeks-are-sexy-articles-and-reviews.html

    There’s something to interest everbody

  28. Dante Layton says:

    Bob Bly wrote a good book called The White Paper Marketing Handbook. In chapter 2 he gives several great tips for writing tips and on page 132 he has a small section dedicated to blogs.

  29. Vidar says:

    I still havent done the other posts in these series but I managed to come up with something quick and easy for this one.

    Check it out here: http://over9k.xmgfree.com/articles/81/

  30. CatherineL says:

    I’d already done a tips post the day before, but I thought I’d have a go at another on how to avoid starting a business in a market which is already saturated. Starting a Business? Don’t be a 95% Loser and
    Starting a Business? Don’t be a 95% Loser

  31. Marc Eilbeck says:
  32. I’m developing a “Baby Steps to Financial Freedom” series of how-to’s. Here’s where they start:

    Create Your Treasure Map To Riches (Baby Step #1)

    http://millionairemommynextdoor.blogspot.com/2007/07/i-want-to-make-lots-of-money.html

  33. I wrote a post that was part review, part tip post: Can NetVibes Help You Be a Better Blogger?

  34. Lighthearted tips on creating your own lolcat images–featuring examples and your submissions:

    http://www.martialdevelopment.com/blog/show-your-cheezburger-kung-fu/

  35. One of my tip posts is about personal organizing and getting things done. I have presented my Life Management System. Here’s the post:

    Living in Folders – http://onejobtwosalaries.com/2007/07/24/living-in-folders/