More and more people seem to try their hand at offering 10 tips. Here are 10 tips they might find useful to write better and more successful articles.
On a basic Google search, I found 1,440,000 results for “ten tips” (in between quotation marks) and 6,950,000 for the same phrase, but this time spelled “10 tips”. It seems to be in our human nature to like 10 more than any other number, and this applies to giving tips as well. It makes you feel like if you can’t find ten tips for something, it doesn’t exist. Everything comes accompanied by a small, pretty package of ten tips and a big promise that they will help you cross that bridge between “close, but not quite there” and “wow! I’ve done it!” However, people who give ten tips could often do with ten tips themselves.
- Don’t choose a topic you know nothing about just because it’s popular and you think it’s going to get a lot of hits. Of course, the Internet is a great source of knowledge and you can find information on almost anything. However, when you write about something you know about, something you are familiar with or you’ve experienced yourself, it can give you an edge, a little something that makes your article unique and special.
- Before deciding upon the topic for your article, visit a few forums to see what people are talking about and what they are interested in at that particular moment. Try to write your article in such a way that it answers their questions and addresses their issues. Previous research can help you establish the nature and complexity of these issues. Theoretically, you can turn each tip into a solution to a specific problem.
- Beware of your competition. Before you start writing your ten tips, do a little research to see how many other people have written on the same topic. Read their articles and confront their ideas with yours. It will give you a better perspective on what’s available on the net and what you need to focus on to make your article interesting and unique. Always slip in a couple of tips no one has thought of.
- Pay extra attention to your title. If your title is good, the battle is half won. People seem to like simple straightforward titles that give them a clear idea of the benefits they are going to get by reading the article. Apparently, it is easier to choose a title for a ten-tips article than for any other type of article and you might think you can’t really go wrong. Ok, you might be right as far as the first part of the title is concerned: Ten Tips for… Ten Tips To… It is what follows that requires a bit of thought.
- Although it might seem insignificant, the way you spell your title matters. “10 Tips” seems to be more popular than “ten tips”, maybe because it has a greater visual impact and people find it easier and quicker to type it in the search engines. But you might find the competition is higher as well. There are no set rules, every case is different and it all involves a little keyword research to figure out which is the best option for that particular article.
- A ten-tip article can turn out to be a real success or just another piece of writing nobody reads. An important aspect is to let your tips be found by the search engines. A little basic SEO work can do that. You can use Google’s free Keyword Tool to optimize your articles for the search engines. Stay in touch with people’s searches, find the right keywords and use them in the title and the body of your article.
- Don’t start directly with the tips. Write a little introduction but don’t make it too long, or people might get bored before even getting to your tips. One paragraph – or a couple of sentences – will do. Nobody really cares for the introduction but it looks good on the page and it makes your article look more professional. It also gives you the opportunity to put some more good keywords in.
- As for the conclusion, I personally don’t see much point in it. If your readers haven’t found what they are looking for by the time they come to the last tip, nothing you say in the conclusion can make any difference. I would skip it or integrate it in the last tip. But that’s again a matter of personal choice. If you feel your article is incomplete without a conclusion, you can write one, but don’t make it longer than one paragraph.
- The first impression counts. So does the last. Always start with one of your best tips and leave another good one for the end. That’s how people’s minds work. They are less critical to what’s in the middle but the first and the last note have to be perfect.
- Although an article offering ten tips can often be very neutral, a little bit of style can never harm, as long as you don’t forget that your primary purpose is to help and to inform. If used carefully and within the limits of common sense, a good subtle joke or a witty comment can bring your readers closer to your heart and even make them want to come back. If people like your style, you have better chances to turn them from simple one-time visitors into faithful subscribers and followers.