What does an excellent buyer’s guide look like? We’ve included some tips and guidelines to boost your buyer’s guide confidence.
Think of an expensive product you recently bought. You probably did some research prior to your purchase. Most likely, you read professional reviews to ensure the product functions as designed. You probably also read customer reviews to see what real users think of the product (and to make sure it isn’t likely to arrive already broken). After weighing the pros and cons of the product in question, you were able to make your purchase with confidence.
Buyer’s guides are designed to simplify this process, providing all that information in one place. That’s why it’s important for freelance writers creating buyers guides to know what information and writing style are necessary to guide readers through the (often confusing) buying process.
Before you start writing your guide, you must understand your target audience. Are you writing to novices and newcomers? You might write a guide along the lines of “How to Choose a Sports Car.” Writing to a more knowledgeable audience? Go with something more specific, like “How to Choose a Mass Airflow Sensor for Your Mustang.”
Keep an eye out for tone, as well. In order to create guides that display authority with a touch of humor and humanity, you must write in a way that highlights your expertise. Bolstering your deep knowledge with current research also helps reinforce your authority.
Your guide should also anticipate readers’ questions. How do you know what they’ll ask? Visit product forums, read customer reviews, and review other authoritative buying guides. By conducting this research, you’ll gain an in-depth understanding of what buyers want to know.
A useful buyer’s guide contains accurate and relevant information. It’s also structured in a way that’s easy to use. Write short paragraphs and break up your post into subheadings and bulleted lists. Buyers should be able to take a printout of your guide to the store — or pull up your guide on their smartphones — and retrieve helpful information on the fly.
One final note on structure: Avoid large blocks of text. Because they prevent readers from quickly finding the information they need, large, unbroken sections of text should be avoided at all costs.
Some clients will give detailed instructions on the composition of buyer’s guides. Others might give you the name of a product and ask for your input. Before you pitch a buyer’s guide idea, you should know your client’s objective. The following are the four most common buyer’s guide formulas:
1. Guides for first-time purchases
Some guides tell inexperienced buyers what they need to know about a class of products. For example, “A Guide to Buying a Smartphone” would help customers who are ditching their feature phones and upgrading to smartphones make the most informed purchasing decision.
2. Guides comparing two or more products
Instead of providing a general guide to purchasing a new pair of headphones, your guide could compare a pair of Beats to a pair of Sennheisers, for example.
3. Guides to product add-ons
Customers care not only about the product they’re buying but also about components, add-ons, and accessories. A buyer’s guide on finding a wireless mouse for your Mac laptop, for example, helps consumers wade through the selection of countless mice to find the one that performs best with their specific laptop.
4. Guides for after-purchase use
“How to use a product” guides help businesses provide value to existing customers. For example, a guide on the most innovative ways to use your iPhone 6 builds brand loyalty and promotes customer retention by helping people who have already purchased new iPhones.
It goes without saying, but the most successful buyer’s guides are those whose authors know and love the featured products. If you know nothing about the product, then you risk providing inaccurate information. The last thing you want is to create a buyer’s guide that tarnishes your or your client’s reputation.
What are your tips for creating outstanding buyer’s guides? How have your clients used them for content marketing? Share your stories below.