The Crucial Difference Between “Tips” and “Instructions”

November 3, 2009 , 0 Comments

Lightbulb Tips Image

Notice how almost every get-rich-quick product promises to be a complete, step-by-step guide to take you from wherever you are now to unimaginable riches within the next few days? Ok, sorry for exaggerating a bit, there. But it is quite striking, how many complete instructions and guides are on offer. What I’ve noticed is that many get-rich-quick programs don’t offer much in the way of instructions and guidance. I’m seeing a misconception that needs to be cleared up, here.

Tips Are Not Instructions

You can get rich by making your own ebook, placing affiliate links inside it and selling it via a joint venture with someone who has a large list.

The above statement is absolutely true. This piece of advice really can make you a ton of money. But all it is, is a tip. It’s a tiny bit of advice that I am giving you, leaving the execution of this idea up to your own devices.

The thing is, I’ve been encountering quite a few such tips in online marketing products that are supposed to be guides. I take a look at a product that clearly claims to contain instructions on how to make money and I find a collection of tips, plus some filler. That’s not good.

Instructions would include detailed advice on how to make that ebook, what to put in it, what to leave out, how to do the research, what software to use to make the e-book and so on. It would include instructions on where to find good affiliate programs to include in the book and how to contact a marketer and negotiate a JV. If all that is included, then we can talk about calling them instructions.

In short:

  • Tips = “Do this, do that.”
  • Instructions = “Here’s how to do this: [detailed explanation]”

It’s Not All Bad

I don’t mean to bash tips here. Not at all. A tip can be very valuable. A tip can spark that one brilliant idea that takes your business to the next level. A tip might help you write better sales-copy or become an important element in your web-design.

Note, however, that for a tip to be of any use, the receiver of the tip already needs a foundation. A tip can help me improve an existing business, but it’s useless to me when I’m starting from scratch.

What I am criticising here is when products are clearly targeted at newbies claim to be complete instructions and then contain mainly tips. Tips are useful for the advanced and can be invaluable for experts, but they are not what anyone needs when they are starting out. The newbies need solid instructions to be able to get to the point where a tip becomes something useful to them as well.

Consider this when making a product. Don’t label a bunch of tips as a “complete guide”.
Also consider this when reading my reviews. I will generally call out products that are too much tip and not enough instruction.

About ​Shane Melaugh

I'm the founder of ActiveGrowth and Thrive Themes and over the last years, I've created and marketed a dozen different software, information and SaaS products. Apart from running my business, I spend most of my time reading, learning, developing skills and helping other people develop theirs. On ActiveGrowth, I want to help you become a better entrepreneur and product creator. Read more about my story here.

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