Content may be King, but the blank page is a mind-erasing, momentum-killing, keyboard-locking, iris-searing monster more powerful than dragons and flying monkeys and alligator-filled moats and witches with evil potions and magic mirrors. But it can be beaten. Here's how to defeat that beast once and for all...
The Importance of Great Headlines
Previously we looked at "how to turn words into money" where I emphasized the need for a good headline, one that...
- Attracts attention
- Communicates the strongest benefit
- Appeals to the self-interest of the prospect
- Sets the tone for the offer
- Selects / sorts / sifts the right audience
(Look, you innately, intuitively know how to address each of those points because of your empathy—your connection—with the plight of your ideal client. So stop "trying" to connect and just address each of those points and the connection will happen. I see people "forcing" their skills instead of allowing them to flow naturally all the time in sports when I'm working with great athletes. You'll hear announcers on TV say that a quarterback or pitcher is "aiming" the ball when they throw, which means they are not hitting the target. They need to trust their instincts and let their body perform the action their mind knows must happen. Once they relax and trust their training, good things happen.)
The same is true with you. You know why people buy from you. (Or at least you should.) And that's the secret ingredient in headline writing. It's a BIG Idea that is...
- rooted in your unique advantage.
- has a built-in benefit.
- is supported by your proof.
- may offend those you don't want to attract.
- easy to explain.
For example, some of my headlines / taglines include...
- Automate Sales. Live Your Life.
- Automate. Integrate. Dominate.
- Life's Too Short For Follow Up Calls.
- Sell Different.
- You Can't Train Your Way Out Of A Bad Hire.
- 30 Day Sales Growth.
- No More Sales Duds.
I try to name my programs the exact name of the benefit so it's a two-for-one headline. Even my company name, The Sales Whisperer®, has helped attract attention. However, it is not always easy to explain (Aurgh?) to the dense, which helps me select / sort / sift through to the right audience.
My ideal prospects usually get it or it at least piques their interest because the name "appeals to their self interest." And the link to the Horse Whisperer and the Dog Whisperer helps me set the tone for my offer, which is to help business owners grow their sales with my various offerings.
I got the name, The Sales Whisperer®, while I was watching The Dog Whisperer, which brings me to the core point of this post. To overcome "Blinking Cursor Syndrome," you must open your mind to the wealth and plethora of new ideas that exist in abundance around you and be ready, willing and able to jot down that idea and take action in a moment's notice.
Detach To Notice What You Notice
If you are constantly jotting down ideas and headlines and topics for blog posts, webinars, book chapters, Facebook updates, Tweets, and more
Back in 2006 I thought of the name "The Sales Whisperer®" and immediately jumped up and bought the domain name. About 10 days later I was contacted to sell it. If I had waited I would've lost that name forever. (Waiting to trademark it cost me about $1,800 in attorney's fees, but that's a topic for a later post!)
With the power of smartphones and WiFi everywhere, you really have no excuse not to find the right tools for you to lock down that great idea the moment it hits you. Below are some apps I have on my iPhone to do just that:
- DropVox, which takes an audio file and sends it straight to my Dropbox folder, which then synchronizes across all of my computers so I have access to that idea anywhere. I can also forward it as a link to my assistant, business partners, clients, etc.
- Voice Memos, which comes on all iPhones (and most smart phones have this capability.)
- Wordpress, which I'll elaborate on below.
- "Reminders" is an iPhone app that lets you set a reminder at a certain day and time or when you arrive at or leave a location. Pretty handy.
- You can also see the project management tools we use - Asana, a free tool we use internally at The Sales Whisperer®, and Basecamp, which several clients and Infusionsoft use to coordinate Kickstart training. I can make a voice memo and share that link in the project management system to update a client's account on the fly or when I'm sitting at 0.0 mph on the SoCal freeways.
- You can see all of the other programs I use as well, especially social media shortcuts. It's nice to able to have an idea or hear a joke or take an interesting photo and share it across all of my social media accounts with just one app like HootSuite or Instagram (not shown below).
My #1 Tip to overcome "Blinking Cursor Syndrome" is the Wordpress app on my iPhone. When an idea hits me I'll login to whichever Wordpress website I'm writing for and simply type a headline and/or a few words or sentences that have inspired me and save it. Now, when I get to my computer to do my real writing, I can log right in to my website and continue the idea, which is much easier because I do not have a blinking cursor on a blank page. (An ounce of prevention truly is better than a pound of cure.) It's kinda like creating a personal, digital "swipe file."
As I write this post I have 20 Draft Posts and 23 Draft Pages on TheSalesWhisperer.com. Sometimes I'll return to a Draft days or weeks later and decide to totally change it or even delete it if the "mood" has passed. But at least I'm not staring at a blank page with that blinking keyboard. I have 43 writing options right now!! I ALWAYS have something to review and kickstart the creative juices as I sit down to write.
You'll also see the Evernote app on my iPhone and a lot of people swear by this app. I do use it but not like I probably could but it is worth checking out.
Additional tips and tricks to overcome blinking cursor syndrome include leveraging:
- Formulas / Acronyms
- Public Domain.
- S&D Files (swipe and deploy).
- Use the words your customers use, i.e., turn the testimonials from your happy customers as your headlines.
Use Formulas & Acronyms
In an earlier post, "How to turn words into money," I mentioned my BETR™ Prospecting System. BETR™ stands for Bonding. Empathy. Trust. Rapport.
We've all heard of AIDA - Attention. Interest. Desire. Action.
I've also created my ABCDE Marketing System - Attract. Bond. Convert. Dazzle. Endear.
And one of my all-time favorites I heard from Ron Legrand - SWSWSWSW - Some Will. Some Won't. So What? Someone's Waiting.
What do you do, how do you do it, what makes you unique, what can you explain in a unique manner? Create an acronym or formula to describe it and let your fingers massage the keyboard. If you're struggling here check out my Overnight Tagline program to help you break through this barrier and discover your own greatness.
I write The Weekly Whisper based off of an email template I have modified and tweaked and saved inside my Infusionsoft application. I know where to put an image, where to put a "funny," where to insert that week's offer or promotion, whether or not to use one P.S. or another P.P.S. or even a P.P.P.S.
Pulling up that template with last week's letter helps me avoid repeating myself as well.
Look at what you do and at what your clients and prospects ask you about. Can you create a 3-7-10-100 point checklist for them to follow? If so, turn that into separate blog posts or the basis of your free reports and lead magnets.
You can also "S&D" the checklists your competitors make and modify and improve them. If someone has "The 10 Secrets To..." you should create "The 7 Secrets" or "The 12 Secrets" and put it in your own words.
David Letterman has his Top 10 list for a reason. You need one, too.
Reference The Public Domain
The University of California has a great piece on public domain here, but in a nutshell, "old" stuff that was written before 1923 it is in the public domain, which means you can pick it up, put your name on it and put it out there. Works published between 1923 all the way to March 1, 1989 may also be in the public domain. (Follow that link above and do your research to make sure.)
Have I ever grabbed a piece like this and made it my own? No, but I am looking into older works for inspiration and you should, too.
Steal...I...Ahh....Mean S&D (Swipe and Deploy)
Dan Kennedy, and all professional writers, especially journalists who live with deadlines, have file folders of things they have literally "swiped" or ripped out of magazines, newspapers, online journals, direct mail pieces, etc. To really get the creative juices flowing, check out magazines or papers or websites you don't normally read like Wired or Rolling Stone or Hot Rod or Martha Stewart.
If you're a PC user, read things for Apple. If you're a Fox News watcher check out the Huffington Post. Etc.
The internet enables micro-niches to thrive, which means there is opportunity to reach passionate prospects if you take the time to find them by expanding your horizons.
Use Testimonials As Your Creative Spark
"Any place, any time.
“Dear Wes, Once I was on a panel of external facilitators charged with ranking candidates from a variety of UN agencies according to our willingness to work with them in the future. There were 3 categories.
- No way, never
- Under certain circumstances.
- Any place, any time.
"If Infusionsoft asked the same question about you, my answer would be #3. Thanks so much for all your help.”
If you are securing great testimonials from your clients you should NEVER suffer from Blinking Cursor Syndrome. Take the headline or a snippet or the entire testimonial and use it to spruce-up anything you are writing.
Writing is a skill like swinging a golf club, cooking, juggling or riding a bike. The more you practice it the more you will improve. And the more you open yourself up to find the opportunity and inspiration to write, the more you'll find to write about.
You can do it. These tips should help.
If you liked this post, be sure to let me know on Twitter.
While you're here, have you checked out The Sales Whisperer® podcast? It's simple to do. Just click on this link.
If you need more help growing your sales, check out the following resources scattered around this site and a few others I operate, such as:
- Apply Magnetic Marketing to your business and watch your business grow
- Learn to put Personality In Copy and watch your influence grow
- Go where the money is: Marketing To The Affluent
- Hire The Best Keynote Speaker
- Ontraport Demo