Image: Author Neville Medhora
The usual point of writing non-fiction is to persuade people to take a given action, such as buy something. That's a basic definition, and it's exactly what this book will teach you how to do. The book provides examples of good and bad writing (to show you how to write better) and gives anybody who knows little about selling an easy way to think about how to sell stuff.
The trick is to makes selling less awkward by pretending you are sitting down with a friend over lunch. Tell them about the thing you are trying to sell, and why you are interested in it. It doesn’t have to be a riveting story, but (at the very least) they should know what the product does and what its obvious benefit(s) are. If you've done your job well, you should leave them wanting a little more.
The book also outlines a great framework for doing all this, it's called the AIDA formula (Attention, Interest, Desire and Action). You take what you said in the exercise above and rearrange it (with the formula) to make it more efficient at selling.
Moreover, the book has some great tips on how to write better headlines and e-mail. It also talks about whether long copy is better than short copy and presents some great little mental hacks or checklist to get you into the zone for great writing.
The prose is straightforward and to the point. It doesn’t tell you life is roses and butterflies. Rather it delivers advice directly: “Stop trying to be clever. Instead be clear.” That’s why the book is totally worth a read. Plus, it's super short. It can be read in under 30 minutes.
If you sell something useful and you do not know how the sales process works, then you are at a serious disadvantage. Understanding how to convince people to buy things that will actually help them is what great sales writers and business people are all about.
One persuasive framework to persuade people to buy something is to escalate from something noticeable to something interesting, then desirable.
Start with something that grabs their attention: Something shocking or unusual that will perk their interest. Then keep them interested using facts, uses, a case study or a story.
Proceed to make the object desirable by explaining what their life could be like with it. Then make it clear and easy to take action, in our case the action is to buy what you are selling.
Attention: Something to perk their interest.
Interest: Interesting facts.
Desire: What your life could be like with it.
Action: What to do next.
Another approach is just to tell a true story. In which case the formula is a lot simpler: Story that happened + how the product could help + how to buy product
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by Hugh MacLeod
Ever wonder what it really takes to make a living as a creative person in today's complicated world?
MacLeod presents some witty keys for creative success, including "ignore everybody. Why should you "ignore everybody"?
Because, he writes, nobody else can tell you whether your idea is worthwhile. People can give you advice, but at the end of the day, it's your decision. The more original an idea, the less helpful the advice is going to be.
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