5 Top Tips for Writing Top Tips

Writing top tips is a great way to share your knowledge and skills; to share what you know in simple to follow advice.

There are so many advantages to top tips when it comes to a blog post. The title/headline is immediately eye-catching. It draws the reader in, knowing they will gain great bitesize chunks of information.

The top tips can be on a very general topic, such a ‘Top Tips on Taking a Good Photograph’ or very specific, like ‘Top Tips on Capturing the Landscape at Dusk’.

I could go on and on about how engaging writing tops tips are, however, I thought 5 actual top tips would be more useful (…see what I did there!?!).

1) Choose the right title

5 Tops Tips…3 Great Ways… 7 Helpful hints….

When I say ‘top tips’, this doesn’t have to be your title. You can use an array of different wording to capture a similar concept – that of offering a certain number of ideas the reader can easily apply.

Whatever you do, ensure what your title/headline says exactly what you will do. There is nothing worse than ‘click bait’, when a post says something like ‘3 ways to clean your oven in 30 seconds’…and it turns out there is no useful or realistic advice.

 2) Choose the ‘right’ number

I would recommend writing your tips and then seeing what you have, rather than setting yourself a definitive number first. I think five is a good number, in terms of ensuring the blog post is about the right length. However, it completely depends on how much detail you want to offer for each tip. Importantly, make sure they are all genuinely ‘good tips’ – remember respect your reader.

If, instead of struggling to reach five tips (or even fewer!), you have 10 or more, consider if you could break up the tips into two or more individual posts. Perhaps you can group the tips together to create two more specific blog posts. If you are keen to offer a very ‘overarching’ general top tips posts, then evaluate all of the tips you have and be critical about which are more important.

If your word count is over 1000 words (which is a good 5 minutes of reading time on average), seriously consider if you will lose people’s attention. I think when there are more than 10, most people will end up reading the subheadings only, and not your explanatory information, which is a shame.

3) Make your top tips genuinely useful

This goes back a little to click bait, that I mentioned before and also choosing the right number. If you are seriously struggling to get to five consider if three good ones would be better than three good ones, plus two not so good, which are ‘scraping the barrel’. It is obvious to any reader.

Don’t over promise and under deliver. Ensure all of your tops tips are useful, are applicable and can be used effectively by your target audience.

Think carefully about what your top tips entail, in terms of what your readers may have to buy or the expertise they may need – again consider if it is realistic.

If you offer top tips which are bizarre or irrelevant or actually not a tip, then any future top tip style posts risk being ignored too. Giving advice is a task that should be handled with care and respect.

4) Consider your target audience

We are all passionate about our businesses and you may have lots of advice that you want to share, but consider who your clients are, who the target audience for your blog is and, therefore, what top tips would actually be of use.

I love the science of language and particularly  etymology…I could offer top tips on identifying where a word is likely to have originated from. However, as a content consultant working with small businesses, I don’t think that will actually help you directly with creating engaging content, exciting blog posts, readable website copy and information-packed newsletters!

Therefore, as with all types of blogging, remember that the posts aren’t all about you and your interests, as such, but about guiding, informing and helping your readers and clients. What will they find useful? What information from your sector/business/profession/skill set could you share which might genuinely make their life a little easier? Have a think, I bet you have a lot of helpful information to share.  

5) Consider the order

As part of good editing practice, once you have written your top tips blog post – consider the order of this tips. I have put this tip last on purpose, as I think it is one of the last jobs to do before publication. Reflect on your tips and see if there is a natural flow from one tip to another. Are some more engaging than others? Well, then put them higher up the list.

Consider also which tips might attract your readers’ attention more readily or be assessed as ‘the most useful tip’. Put this first. This will hook readers in at the beginning and hopefully encourage them to read the whole post.

Now share your tips

Top tips are great fun to write and don’t forget they provide a fantastic opportunity at a later date for an updated post – perhaps adding another 5 tips on the same topic, incorporating further advice related to the original article, which may come from something new you have learnt or from readers’ comments on the post.

And my final tip…have fun sharing your knowledge! I bet you’ll be amazed at how much you have to offer and the response you get. What may seem obvious to you can be life-changing advice to someone else.

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