Make People Worship Your Expertise – Self-help articles are a great way to promote yourself. They are easy to write, practical to read, and are a way to relate your skills to the need of your prospects. However, since there are already so many junk articles flooding the Internet, how can you make sure that yours would stand out?
Many of the most popular articles on the Internet are so-called self-help articles, which offer solutions to common problems that the readers are facing. These articles are popular because people always have problems of one kind or another that they want to rid. However, since it is too easy to give advice to people, most of these articles are of a quality that is below satisfaction.
I am a frequent contributor of articles to various websites, and I have noticed that good self-help articles always follow three rules that are also useful in areas outside of writing. If you want to write a good self-help article and give good advice, then you’ll have to pay attention to the three rules below.
Tip 1: Be detailed and specific in the solution
When people read self-help articles, they do not do it because they are bored. They do it because they are having problems of some sort, and they are looking for solutions that can help them. Ultimately, they just want to be told what they can do so that they can get out of trouble.
Therefore, you shall always be as detailed and specific in your article as possible. I have recently read an article which was about dating tips for men. It said that men shall dress fashionably, and explained its importance. However, it simply didn’t say how a man can dress well. If I were a computer geek who had no idea about the latest fashion, then I would simply gain nothing from the article.
Instead, the article shall talk about what was the latest trend, what colors would be the easiest to match, or better yet, just tell them what combinations of items they shall get. In this case, the readers – especially, the geeks – would have something that they can immediately cling on, even though they may not completely follow your suggestions in the end. So focus on the practical step-by-step procedure to solve the problem.
Tip 2: Make what you promise sound promising
Most topics in self help have been repeated again and again and again, like how to have a successful relationship, how to get a job promotion, how to advertise your products etc. Unless you are a very famous writer, if you just write the same topics again, your articles will never stick out to get the attention of your potential audience.
One way to differentiate your stuff from others is to make your claim sound more awesome. Surely, you cannot make untruthful claims like you can cure cancer with everyday ingredients available in a supermarket, or teach Average Joe how to date a gorgeous Hollywood film star in just ten days. However, you can make people believe that you really know better than most others how to get the results they want.
Let’s use the example of the aforementioned dating article again. The writer pointed that dressing well is very vital to give a good first impression, and claimed that he had helped many clients to do better by changing their looks. While no one can argue against that, it has been regurgitated by countless writers before, and so it could hardly leave a refreshing impression.
One solution to this is to give unique yet familiar examples to the readers, like:
“Do you know the famous Hollywood actor, Mr. X? He is voted as the sexiest man on the planet by Cosmopolitan Magazine last year, but do you know he was never successful with girls at school? It’s because he always dressed like a geek. However, during his second year in Stanford, he met someone who taught him to dress properly, and he result improved a lot. Actually, his transformation was ridiculously easy, and it could be boiled down into the following three simple steps…”
Basically, you just replaced “Average Joe” with “Mr. X”, but it immediately sounds more credible…
Tip 3: Use personal stories whenever possible
Most websites insist that you can only write about topics that you are familiar with, and urge you to bring out your credentials as soon as possible in a non-obtrusive way, like, “As a teacher who has been working with kids with special needs for 12 years, I believe that…”
However, there is one exception to this rule, and it is when you are talking about personal experience. For example, you may not be an expert in childcare, but you can talk about your experience with your 3-year-old son. The reason that there is such exception is because personal experience looks real to the readers, so that your story can be convincing even though you are not an expert on it.
You shall take advantage of this exception by “personalizing” everything you want to say. It doesn’t just allow you to talk about things that you know very little about, but also makes your story more realistic. For instance, in this article, I could just make up some hypothetical examples on how to write convincing advice, but instead of doing this, I used a real example by criticizing a recently article that I have read. It gives you a more solid feeling, and makes you feel that what I say really makes sense.
In summary, whenever you have to give advice to others, you shall do the following three things, which could be easily remembered with the acronym of GPS:
● Grounding: make your advice more believable by showing off professional background or citing personal experience.
● Promise: amplify the result that you can bring by using unique but familiar examples, like public figures or historic heroes.
● Solution: be very detailed and specific in your solution to the problem, and focus on the concrete procedure that leads to the outcome.