Readers Digest is obviously aware of a certain not-so-secret secret: Useful, everyday advice hits the spot with readers. The Digest “tips” are meant to apply to a broad range of consumers and describe easy-to-implement “fixes” and processes, including:
- Clever uses – for ammonia, vinegar, club soda, aluminum foil, apples, you name it…
- Safety mistakes to avoid – ignoring a burning smell in your microwave, letting your dog drink water from the Christmas tree stand, blaming heart pain on indigestion…
- Ways to be more eco-friendly: use recycled gift wrap and LED lighting….
- Myths you need to stop believing: about cell phone batteries, thermostat settings, Google maps
One form of intelligent reader-attracting article is the technical how to, explains Neil Patel in an Inc.com article on blog content writing. “This kind of article is very straightforward. You simply explain, step by step, how to do something. In every niche, there are certain activities, processes, or techniques that people do. When you explain how to do those things, you gain the attention of deliberate and smart people who want to learn.”
“Does your advice stick?” is a question Moira Somers asks financial planners, explaining that the field of adherence research explores why people follow – or often don’t follow – advice. Key advice-giving “sins”, the author explains, include:
- using incomprehensible jargon
disregarding the emotional side of the client experience
take a judgment-laden stance towards clients
Of course, in the case of the to-dos offered in Readers Digest, “compliance” is not an issue – the advice is “down-home” and applicable to a broad range of readers. The lesson, though, for us blog content writing professionals, is that we should follow the KISS principle, breaking technical information into bite-sized pieces, while basing our content choices on an understanding of our target readership’s needs.
Useful, everyday advice has an excellent chance of hitting the spot with readers!