how_to_help_your_readers_solve_problemsNow that you understand that helping readers leads to affiliate success, understanding how to help your readers solve problems is an important next step.

There are lots of ways to be helpful, but solving specific problems is one of the most important and most sustainable techniques you can implement on your site.

In this post I outline my personal method for solving reader problems.

Step 1: Identify the Problem

The first step to solving any problem is to identify what problem you’re trying to solve. It’s important to note that the specific problem you’re solving (or helping to solve) with any given blog post is probably different than the overall objective of your site.

Create a list of problems that you think your reader may have.

For example, if you run a site about little league programs, problems may include:

  • Finding a little league for the right age range
  • Understanding normal costs involved in joining a little league
  • Figuring out the time needed to participate in the league
  • Determining expectations as a parent
  • Types of materials/equipment you might need to buy
  • Factors to consider for each piece of equipment

Step 2: Narrow the Objective

As Einstein said, you can never find a solution at the same level of the problem.

Once you have identified the problem you’re trying to solve, you need to narrow the objective to a solution you can provide in a blog post or short series of posts.

To use one of the above examples, if you’re trying to explain how to choose the right baseball glove, it is unreasonable to provide all of the information necessary in a single blog post.

Instead, you need to narrow your goals for a specific post. In this case, maybe you write a post on one or more of the following:

  • “How to Determine Glove Size for Kids”
  •  “Which Type of Material Makes Baseball Gloves Last Longest”
  •  “Pros and Cons of Getting a Used Glove.”

These are all relevant issues to the problem: ‘how to buy a baseball glove’ but with specific objectives for each.

Step 3: Present Clear Information

Once you know your objective, it’s time to present the information. Maybe this is information you already know (after all, you are an expert in your niche, right?) or maybe you have to look it up.

The point is simply that you outline the information in a clear and manageable way, making it accessible to your reader.

Step 4: Present Supplementary Information

Finally, once you’ve written the bulk of your post, it’s time to think about other supplementary information the reader might want. I do two things:

  1. I keep ideas for supplementary information in a running blog topic list for future posts
  2. I think about what other material I’ve already written the user might like to see, and link to it

Through this simple 4-step process, I find I’m able to solve user problems in short, manageable chunks, while still providing access to more materials to cover the problem at hand and balancing out my affiliate pages with reader-dedicated pages. If you want to read more, check out this case study on increasing conversion by understanding the reader