Step into a bookstore, find the business section, and pull out a book. Then flip the book to the back cover.
Here’s what you’re sure to find on virtually every business book: A selection of well-chosen fascinating bullets.
And there’s a reason why bullets make it to the back cover of a book.
It’s because you tend to read the title, then the subtitle (on the front cover) and then flip the book to get the gist of the book.
Yes there’s the yada, yada, yada about the book on the back cover. Yes, there’s an index. Yes, there’s a contents page.
But you ignore most of the yada, yada, yada and head for the bullets.
You do it because bullets are like flashing Christmas lights
They flash because of their ability to create curiosity. And not just a little bit of curiosity, but a massive amount of curiosity.
So here I’ve got a book on my desk that’s about podcasting. And at the very top of the back cover are the following bullets.
- How to find and download audio and video podcasts to your computer or portable media player
- How to develop, format, produce, edit, encode, and upload your audio or video podcast, including in-depth information on using music legally
- How to set up an effective audio studio, including the complete and updated “The podcast studio buyer’s guide”
- How to create great video, including tricks of the trade such as the law of thirds, the line, and the three-point light technique, as well as tips on casting, locations, scheduling, and more
- How people are marketing and making money through podcasting in the era of Web 2.0
Notice how they’ve put the entire guts of the book in those five simple points?
And notice how each of those points started with a “how” statement?
So let’s tackle those two ideas one at a time
Idea 1: notice how each of those points started with a “how” statement?
It doesn’t matter what the line. If you put the word ‘how’ before it, it instantly becomes interesting and gets our curiosity going.
Or you can always add a “why,” which does the same trick.
I went to Ireland this summer.
How I went to Ireland this summer.
Why I went to Ireland this summer.
I make butter chicken.
How I make butter chicken.
Why I make butter chicken.
Of course you won’t use a sentence that’s as boring as the ones above, but you do get the point, right? The only question that remains is how do you get all of these sentences. And the clue lies in Idea 2.
Idea 2: Notice how they’ve put the entire guts of the book in those four or five lines?
So take your entire book or course, or speech, or whatever. Split it up into distinct parts.
For example, my product The Brain Audit has seven sections, so it could naturally be split into seven distinct bullets. Or you could also select just five.
Then pull out something from each part to describe the benefit the reader could get from that section.
So for The Brain Audit, the bullets read like this:
- How to instantly get (and keep) the attention of the customer.
- The roller coaster sequence (and why it matters when selling).
- How to create a uniqueness factor in a matter of days.
- How to know if a customer is really interested in your offering.
- Why benefits and solutions aren’t the most effective way to sell.
Each of those bullets represents a different part of the book
And each of them has a simple “how” or “why” structure to get and keep attention.
In fact, this same technique that you see at the back of a book can be used for any persuasive piece of writing, be it a sales page, an event, a speaking engagement, product, or service.
The fundamentals are simple
Take your product/service. Split it into five or seven parts and pull out the most important highlights or benefits.
Take those highlights or benefits and put a “why” or “how” before each one.
And there you have it: a collection of fascinating bullets.
And that’s how you make your product/service or course stand out. Like flashing Christmas lights.