Imagine you woke up this morning and wrote an article.
Just another article like all the articles you’ve been writing. Except something is different about this one.
Tons of folks are clicking on this article. They’re reading it and forwarding it to friends. They’re signing up to your newsletter in droves. The numbers go into the hundreds, then into the thousands, then into the tens of thousands.
What was it about that single article that created such a surge of traffic?
This exact scenario happened to us. The article was on headlines. We wrote about three specific steps to create pretty awesome headlines.
After giving the article ten minutes of reading time, you’d be able to write a pretty good headline. Better still, you’d know when you got the headline wrong, and when you got it right.
The power of the article wasn’t in the prose
The power was in the three psychological principles we brought into play.
- Specific steps
- Minefield warnings
Giving your readers the power of new knowledge is the most important thing your articles can do. Empower your reader with a new skill they didn’t have ten minutes ago, and they’ll not only be grateful — they’ll want to get more of what you have to offer.
Empowering articles are like a magic potion. Drink down what it has to say and you walk away stronger, smarter, and more powerful.
Why wouldn’t you get excited and sign up for more of what this article writer has to offer? Why wouldn’t you share it with your friends?
You’ve read how-to articles before. Most of them are like foam on your cappuccino — just fluff.
They seemingly draw you in to tell you ‘five ways to do something’ but each step goes off on a different tangent. After your reader is finished, he still doesn’t feel like he can take action.
Give your article a sequence.
- Start here, do this.
- Then do this.
- Then this.
Step by step, teach how to do something from start to finish. Give your article specific steps in sequence, and you’ve just boosted the power of that magic potion.
Telling your client exactly what to do doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be able to execute those steps without tripping up. You have to show them where they might stumble into a trap — we like to think of it as navigating the minefield.
Where they’re likely to get it wrong. Where others have got it wrong before. By showing them potential pitfalls, you continue to empower your reader by giving them the power to anticipate problems before they happen.
It’s like having x-ray vision. You’re creating something amazingly powerful.
What happens next?
When you write an article that hits all of those points, you’ll find that your readers start signing up for your newsletter, forwarding the article to their friends and clients, and tweeting the heck out of the article link.
Why? What makes this article something that people want to pass on?
When you wrote the article, your readers felt empowered by the information, and they felt grateful enough that they signed up for your newsletter or your RSS feed. They may have even bought products, services, or pricey workshops because of how empowered you made them feel.
They wanted more of that feeling.
When your readers pass on the article to others, they get all of those rewards too, just as if they’d written the article themselves. They’re passing on the gift of empowerment — and getting rewarded just like you did, with grateful clients who want to work more with someone who can give them that heady feeling.
But will those tens of thousands of readers show up tomorrow?
Not unless you work to leverage your article.
We not only published it on our own website and blog, but we also repackaged it as a PDF (which is given away free). Over time clients, bloggers, and other readers have read it and passed it on.
Make your article available in lots of different formats and promote it as much as possible. If you’ve followed our three steps and it’s a truly empowering article, pretty soon your readers will be doing the promoting for you.
Don’t rely on a fluke
Occasionally, someone gets lucky and writes a great article that goes viral without any strategy behind it at all.
You may indeed get up one day and write a great article by fluke. But flukes are not a strategy. Use the three steps outlined above and use them as often as you can.
And then watch as the trickle of new readers turns to a flood.
And the flood into an unending deluge.