I’m going to let you in on a little secret.
It’s something the immortals — from Aristotle to Ogilvy to Mamet — have known, but few have stated it as directly as I’m about to.
By now, many of you know the basics of the craft of copywriting …
Know your audience. Know your product cold. Research. Nail the headline. Write plainly, in the language of your audience. Research more. Write great bullets. Craft a great offer. Include a strong call to action. Et cetera.
These elements are the standard. They get the job done.
But this little truth I’m about to tell you is the foundation that makes all the rest of it work, and it’s the answer to getting you on the road to getting your writing read and shared.
So, try this on for size …
Every sentence you write should make them want to read the next sentence you write.
Yes, this entire business of creating content in order to build an audience (people who will potentially buy from you) can be boiled down to that stupidly simple statement.
The headline only exists to get the first sentence read.
The first sentence only exists to get the second sentence read. And so on, pulling your reader right on down through your page, story, bullets, and call to action.
It’s that simple. And it’s that difficult.
The secret is in the line.
A great headline is followed by a single, compelling sentence that engages the reader’s interest. And then another, followed by another, and another.
You won’t be able to pull this off all the time. Hell, you won’t even pull it off most of the time.
But if you keep the raw horsepower of The Single Line in your mind as you work, you might make something good enough to be read and shared … maybe even shared widely.
This is foundational because even if you employ every bullshit “content distribution” trick and tip in the book, and your writing is bad, it won’t get you anywhere.
Write well. Line by line.
If you’re able to work in this way, all of those lines will begin to add up, and then they’ll go to work for you, day and night, for a long, long time on this thing we call the internet.
So yes, write urgent, unique, ultra-specific, and useful headlines.
Yes, demonstrate the benefits, not the features.
Yes, make them an offer they can’t refuse.
But do it all by deliberately crafting each sentence to honestly, accurately, and entertainingly tell the story you want to tell.
But, to quote someone that I could not confirm the identity of … that’s why they call it work.