Easy to read, easy to share, easy to action, meet Mr Top Tips. Born of the Internet age, Mr Top Tips uses the same ancient formula handed down from his grandfather – the pen and paper list. But unlike his predecessor he’s virtual – he lives in a blog, which makes him smarter, faster and all round whizzier. But people have cottoned on, and now there are millions, if not billions of posts trying to copy Top Tip’s laidback charm.
And it’s easy to see why. In an information-overloaded world, tips blogs satisfy our desire to find out all the information we need in the shortest possible time. So, here are my top tips for making your top tips original, engaging and above all shareable.
1. Make it stand out
Think about your expertise – what are the questions your customers are asking you, what advice would you give to them? Then do your research – it’s no good writing a blog post that has been done a million times before. And finally, make sure you go for a catchy title. Point out what people are doing wrong: ‘How not to design.’ Get people to overcome their fears: ‘5 social media fears and how to overcome them,’ or give people a reason to believe the hype: ‘5 top reasons to use infographics.’
2. Know when to use tips
Product reviews, research findings, and customer case studies all make excellent blog posts, and they don’t warrant a list of tips. First decide what your goal is: are you promoting a new product or service, highlighting an example of your work, or reporting on an industry newsworthy topic? If so, a top tips piece isn’t necessarily right.
3. Know your audience
Who’s attention are you trying to grab? Think about what level of knowledge they will already have – the key with any top tips is to offer real advice, that doesn’t patronise your audience. Tailoring your tips for a specific market or industry can make your blog more engaging.
4. Show personality
Blogs should be fun and easy to read, so don’t be afraid to inject some personality into your post. And remember who’s reading your post – individuals, not companies – so write as if you’re talking to a customer in real life: be warm, friendly, and engaging.
5. Make it shareable
The secret to getting traffic to your blog is having great content. People are looking for interesting, thought-provoking, useful posts, which will add value to their lives. It may sound obvious, but name your blog something that someone would search for on Google – don’t overload the title with fancy words or clever puns. And of course, make sure you have sharing functionality on your blog so people can easily share the post directly to social media channels.
6. Use pretty pictures
The Infographic is Mr Top Tips partner in crime. Perfect for drilling home your key points, infographics not only make your blog look pretty, they create shareable pieces of content which can be used on pictorial social media sites – Pinterest, Flickr, Visual.ly, etc.
7. Play on trends
Think about what’s going on in your industry. Has a new legislation been introduced? Is there a new product, colour, or lifestyle trend which you think people could do with some advice on? Or perhaps there’s a seasonal event that which warrants an tips based piece.
8. Harness your employees’ knowledge
So you’ve got a techie guy who has some powerful insights, or a member of the sales team who knows what questions your customers are asking? Talk to them to extract useful advice you can use as content for a blog.
9. Don’t stop here
Pick your number of tips carefully. Nine tips, sounds like you couldn’t think of ten. But don’t go overboard; just because you’re celebrating 100 years of business, doesn’t mean you should have 100 related tips. Less is more, which brings me on to my final tip:
10. Don’t add tips for the sake of them
There is nothing worse than useless content. Make each word count: every tip should have a purpose – a piece of advice a potential customer could action. But remember the aim, you want people to think you know your stuff, but that they need help, they need to buy your product, or service.