When it comes right down to it, your job is that of a salesperson. Regardless of whether you make your living selling other people guides to how they can make it big or you make your money by selling websites or selling furniture online, you are still a salesperson. Therefore, it’s important to keep in mind that your ultimate job is to use words to sell stuff to people.
Words are Everywhere
Now before you go and tell me that your business doesn’t rely on words (because you use spun content or you use videos or something else), let me be clear: you’ll always be relying on words to make your point and sell stuff to your customers. Even when you do videos, you still need to speak to people on the videos (and or set up slide shows).
My first suggestion is to whip out your smart phone and download a little free app called Evernote. The nice thing about Evernote is that it lets you store ideas of all kinds wherever you happen to be. This means that if you’re out in the middle of a forest with your family on a camping trip and you get a cool idea, you can simply enter it into Evernote for retrieval later on. Of course, they also have desktop apps and they support all the major smart phone and tablet platforms so that they can be as universal as possible.
Why Taking Notes Matters
The fact is that great writers are idea people. As a professional writer, I spend a great deal of time reading and ideas come to me all the time for cool things I could write about for my customers so that I can get them to make purchases from me. If you have a way to constantly take down ideas as they occur to you, then you are that much more likely to be able to make use those ideas and make sales.
Quit Worrying about Titles
You know the guy who is always talking about how he wants to write “The Great American Novel?” This is the same guy who will have a really cool title to offer you for the book. They haven’t written a word yet, but they’ve obsessed over the title to the point where they’ve changed it about a million times.
A real writer knows that titles are secondary. The important thing is the idea. You can always come up with a title later on. In fact, many writers actually write up entire novels without first picking a title for the book. They figure that the book will pick the title for them. Now here’s a little secret for you: the same rule applies to making money online with your writing!
Really — Keywords are Secondary
First, come up with a cool idea for a products or service that you can sell. Get the ideas down on how you want to sell it. Heck, write up your content for the thing before you ever worry about picking out keywords. Then and only then should you do the research to find the keywords that you need in order to make your project into the success story you know it could be.
Why Keywords Come Second
There are two reasons for this — first and foremost, your writing will sound much more natural and flowing (and thus be more likely to sell) if you just write it without fussing about keywords all day long. Second and more importantly, you’ll often find that your keywords naturally work their way into your writing as you create the content. If they don’t, you can always go back and add the keywords in later.
This is the million dollar question for many people — they can’t think of a single blessed thing to say about whatever it is that they want to sell to you. They figure that everything has already been said and there is simply nothing original to talk about. This is of course ridiculous.
Let me share with you stories from two of my favorite authors — Tom Clancy and John Grisham. You’ve probably heard of both of these men as they happen to be two of the most famous and successful fiction writers in the world. But did you know that both of them came by the ideas for their first novels by following the suggestions above?
I said above that great writers are always learning things and always taking down ideas for new things and new stories. Grisham found his inspiration by sitting around in a court room (he is a lawyer). He was watching the trial of a man who was accused of molesting a child and it occurred to him as he watched the trial to ask, “how would I feel if that was my daughter he’d done that to?” The result was Grisham’s first novel, A Time to Kill.
Clancy offers us an even better insight into the mind of the professional writer. He was reading his morning paper one day and he saw an item about a submarine having gotten stranded off the coast near his home. This got him to wondering what would happen if a Soviet submarine found itself stranded off the coast of the United States and what kind of reactions would occur in this country. The result of course was The Hunt for Red October.
But I Don’t Want to Write a Novel. I Want to Sell Stuff Online
I know what many of you are thinking to yourselves — you don’t care about writing the Great American Novel. All you want to do is sell stuff online. The thing is, the same principles apply — constantly spend your time looking at the world around you and you’ll find that ideas for catchy slogans come up all the time.
Don’t believe me? Just watch the very first episode of Mad Men. The client was about to walk out the door because the ad agency couldn’t come up with a slogan which was legally acceptable. So what did the guy do? He asked him to describe the process of making the tobacco. “It’s toasted” was the result of this thought exercise. The result was that they took something commonplace and turned it into something extraordinary (i.e. an ad slogan).
The Practical Stuff
Okay, enough of the theory. Let’s get down to brass tacks as they say. Let’s talk about taking those ideas and turning them into something useful. We’ll assume you’ve been diligently taking note of interesting things that you see all around you and that you are now ready to start turning those ideas into money making words. There are two basic ways to do this and they both revolve around one simple concept.
You Will Get All You Want In Life
This is a famous quote from Zig Ziglar — you’ll get all you want in life if you help enough other people to get what they want. And it’s very true. Turning your list of ideas into products and words is merely a matter of placing yourself into the shoes of your potential clients. When you do this, you can instantly start coming up with ways to make money off of them.
The Pain Vs. the Want
Here’s another cool idea I found by looking around at the Warrior Forum (and yes, I know, they’re under scrutiny these days and they do need to clean up their act, but for those who are smart enough to read between the hype, there is still lots of great information there).
The idea goes that there are two basic reasons that people buy things — because they are trying to relieve some kind of pain (i.e. physical pain, emotional pain or even the pain of worrying about how they’re going to pay for the things they need to pay for) or because they are trying to fulfill a desire.
Making Money from Misery
Of the two, the pain is often much more immediate and that’s why so many sales pitches ask questions from people about whatever problems they may be experiencing (i.e. do you have trouble finding enough traffic for your website? Do you need cash now? etc. etc.). Now while I’m no big fan of making money from other people’s pain (hey, I have a moral compass), I do feel like it’s a great idea to help people in trouble and if you happen to manage to make a few bucks in the process, well so much the better.
The Right Message
This then shows you the right way to use words to make money. Be generous. Give away real, useful advice to people. Don’t just be coy and say that you have this wonderful idea to solve their problems. Offer some real and useful information. When you do, you’ll find that you are able to make more money because people feel that you are now trustworthy (they’ll say if he gives all this for free, then what must he be charging for?).
The Bottom Line
By constantly watching out for new ideas and by being the sort of person who researches those ideas obsessively (remember what I wrote above — just the idea is not going to be enough. You want to offer real value and then offer even more value in what you have to sell), you can make money. And worrying about keywords should be the last thing you do, not the first thing. If you have great ideas, they’ll sell themselves.