Before you get super pissed with me... let me ask you a quick question:
What do all the greatest books ever written have in common?
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie... Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill... The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell...
What was the one fundamental principle that made each one these modern-day classics so popular?
You see, each one of these books was focusing on a different subject. Each was written for different purposes and each had its own way of educating the reader...
But when you cut through the clutter and look at the core, a pattern emerges...
You realize that each one of these books focused on ONE Big Emotionally Compelling Idea.
Not TWO. Not MANY. But just ONE.
So why is it so important to talk about this?
Remember the last time you wrote something without really focusing on anything. If you're an arrogant writer like me, you must have been like "Yeah, let's just start writing. I'll just let the words flow and things will come together somehow."
And then I start getting creative with what I write. Maybe a little too creative. The result: I lose my reader.
I call this the writer's urge to walk the reader through his beautiful mind. You could call it the 'shortcut to zero readership'
Think about it for a second - Put yourself in the shoes of your readers.
Most of them are just lazy... Most of them have had a very long day. They're exhausted, and probably sitting on their couches, hoping to be entertained.
There's not a lot that's going to motivate them to read...
In fact, if you're lucky, you'll actually get them to read your headline.
Getting their attention is the biggest challenge here. And having many great ideas isn't gonna cut it. You need something that jumps out. Something that grabs the reader by the collar and says: "Read Me NOW!".
And that's exactly what the One Big Idea does. It compels the reader to read further. as soon as he's done reading the headline.
Sounds pretty simple in theory, right? But it's a whole different ball game when you're actually faced with the blank page...
So how do you take this concept and apply it in your writing?
Here are five steps you can follow to make your content/copy more effective RIGHT NOW:
1. ONE Big Emotionally Compelling Idea: There are many things that could possibly make an idea big. There'll be another post about Big Ideas but here are the few most common characteristics: Fresh, Urgent (related to latest news), Ultra specific and Useful.
2. ONE Core Emotion: Everything you write should be created around this single emotion.
3. ONE Main Emotionally Compelling Benefit (if it's a promotional piece): There should be a central benefit that you mention in your content. Everything else you say should - in some shape or form - support this primary benefit.
4. ONE Captivating Story: People respond powerfully to stories. There'll be another blog post about this... But just remember that nothing can ever be more persuasive than a well constructed story. Weaving a captivating story into your article can do wonders.
5. ONE Inevitable Result: CLEARLY state what you want your reader to do.
As a writer, it's completely natural to feel the urge to flow into something that might deviate from the original idea.
Acknowledge this urge and focus on the 5-ONEs framework to channel your focus. This framework serves as a filter that allows you to eliminate all the fluff in your writing and leaves you will a juicy, compelling piece of copy/content.