Actionable advice for Actionable advice
The key thing you should strive to do if you want to drive value for others and impart useful knowledge is to write an article with actionable advice.
If you were to write a “how to guide” without actionable advice it would be entirely useless. Actionable advice is defined by its ability to be put into “Action”. Normally the best kind of advice is simple but effective.
Follow the less traveled roads
I often see bloggers spin already established facts. The kind of information that any noob can find out about just be a few quick searches. Rather than do that, why not actually make an in depth guide that a person can follow and that results in either a time saving or some kind of win. You’d be surprised how these sorts of post have a longer lasting effect in keeping people on the page.
Inspiration is not always enough, a solution is better
You want to harvest the kind of solution where you can help somebody desperately in need, as this is the kind of solution that you want to feature in your arsenal of posts. People like receiving help when they are in need, and they’ll remember you if you can help them.
Lessons to be shared
Often when solving problems on our blogs, we run into countless lessons where we can help somebody else by revealing what we did. Obviously if there is some form of competitive advantage through monetary gain, you don’t share those ideas so freely until you don’t have to rely on that exploit any more.
Often if you are borrowing an idea from someone else (from another site) make sure it works for you first before you share it. If it is in anyway specific to something like a Theme or a certain way of coding, that you don’t think will work for your whole audience, make sure you clarify those points. For example; if this particular hint only works on Blogger, it is important to make sure Blogger features in the title. You don’t want to annoy people by not being explicit. If they find out half way through your article that this only works with one specific platform, they’ll have wasted time, might even throw a shoe at the monitor.
Then, be more Specific
A lot of times what I find that is missing are the specifics. This is where you can mop up. A specific solution to a specific problem is a great way of capturing a small but thankful share of audience. What I’m talking about is a specific set of criteria. What happens in a very specific scenario. This is the time not to be general.
I can’t find it on <insert search engine here>
If you ever go in search of a solution to a problem you’ve had issue with and don’t find the solution through the keywords you used in the search engine, write those keywords down and highlight that need as something you aim to fill. Often you can be quite lucky in finding gaps in obscure problems and capitalising on providing a solution. Not only do you fix your problem but you help fix somebody else’s problem too and they might show you some gratitude.
Solutions love company; two’s company, three’s a threesome, four is plenty, five is an orgy…
Often by borrowing ideas from others but presenting them in a central nexus, you can generate some great ways to keep people on your site. Say that one of your how to guides gets some interest, try solving another problem along the same vein and link it in with what you already have.
Help out even when it doesn’t relate to your niche strategy
Sometimes you don’t have to give advice that is relevant to your niche in order to intrigue people when they visit your site. Whilst it is good to keep a fairly narrow channel of content, it doesn’t hurt to occasionally venture out of your realm if what you present is actionable and helpful. If you can help somebody out of a jam, they’ll remember you and they’ll place a relationship between you and rewarding advice which acts as an incentive to return.
Headboy’s homework assignment:
Next time you are specifically trying to fix something on your blog and you don’t find the solution with the keywords you are using:
- Note down the exact phrase you used
- Find the solution by other means and make sure it works
- Create a guide using those keywords
In the words of Rodney Copperbottom and Big Weld; “See a need, fill a need!”