April 24, 2020
WRITERS WILL BE PAID LIKE DOCTORS.
I’ve been predicting this for a long time, in part because I’m a creepy writer monster, but also in part because I’ve been watching the internet carefully for eleventy hundred years, now, and I saw the direction it was going: words are business FUEL—and businesses need more fuel now than ever.
Glug, glug, chumpy chomper!
(What is a chumpy chomper, you ask? A snooty, well-manicured man wearing light blue Tommy Bahama shorts with little whales all over them, obviously.)
Now that prediction has just been accelerated by 500,000,000%. Now that we’ve all been forced into one giant room online, rather than many separate meeting rooms happening in buildings across the world, all business is happening online: which means that companies need to get much better at selling online.
I started writing to you about this earlier this week, but had to do a couple of make-up sessions of my “How to Create and Sell Your First Online Workshop” workshop (very meta), SO ALAS, I’m sending this missive along now because:
(a) For my writer friends out there, your career is about to take off.
(b) For my non-writers friends out there—by which I mean anyone who doesn’t fashion themselves a writer but writes anyway because business demands it (hello sales pages and emails and Instagram posts!)—your career is about to take off, too…so long as you learn how to sell with your words.
Right now, there is no in-person schmoozing, networking, wheeling, dealing. There are no stores to walk into. There are no sales happening OUTSIDE of the internet, right now.
So the only way that anything’s going to sell right now?
Is because of words on a screen.
So a few helpful pieces of wisdom if you’re relying on words more than ever to sell your ideas, your services, your products, your business?
Selling is not about your product. It’s about the person who needs it.
Try selling a baseball to your 7-year-old kid. Then try selling one to your 70-year-old aunt. You’re going to take two very different approaches, right? This is only natural. And yet, the minute you hop online to sell something, everyone’s like, “I’M GOING TO SAY THE ONE THING THAT WILL APPEAL TO EVERYONE!” As if that were a thing. You’ve only got two choices here: figure out whether you’re selling a baseball to a 7-year-old or a 70-year-old. Or, sell it to both, but do it on two separate pages.
Less description. More prescription.
Let’s test it out. If I tell you that it took me 100 hours to make a course on bowling, and inside the course comes twelve modules, and each module is three hours long, and you’re also going to get a million-page PDF, and there are all of these bonus FAQs, am I really whetting your whistle over here? GUESSING I’M NOT—yawn, yawn. Do not lead with these types of details, because other people care about that as much as you just did there. These are logic-based details that come later. But front and center? Less description, more prescription. AKA, you need this course if: (a) Your ball is constantly going in the gutter (despite your best attempt to aim straight—what gives?!); (b) You aren’t sure which is better: a heavy ball, or a light ball (and when should you use each?); (c) Your fingers keep getting stuck in the holes when you try to throw the damn thing (hint: there’s a tactical reason you want them to be much bigger than you’d guess!); (d) You want to learn how to do fancy things, like make it spin all fancy and curve at the last minute so you can actually go on a date and not embarrass yourself.
Curiosity didn’t kill the cat: it made the cat rich and then she faked her own death and sailed off on a yacht in the Mediterranean with Johnny Depp.
Notice in the prescription above, I didn’t just plainly say: (a) Learn how to throw your bowling ball straight; (b) Pick the right weight bowling ball; (c) Discover the difference between large holes and small holes; (d) Learn how to throw a spinner ball. (Assuming “spinner ball” is what the bowling crowd calls it? HAHA.) This is a common mistake: just telling people what they’ll learn / accomplish / get / know / do. And that’s great if you aren’t intent on actually selling anything. But if you are? You’ve got to use words to compel. You’ve got to make your customers actually curious! Don’t just tell them what they’ll know afterward; show them all the things they DON’T know. Illuminating all the things a person doesn’t know they don’t know is one of the most important pieces of any sales page—so don’t leave home without it, kid. [Insert me winking like a 1950’s television ad man.]
Whip those words into shape, babies—now is the time when it matters more than ever. Your online presence IS your presence.
And whatever you’re saying on your website?
Damn well better be just as smart as talking to you in person.