What Every Reader Wants to Know

Ready for some specific insights on how to create Hypnotic Writing?

If you give people what they want, they'll listen to you. What does every reader want in your writing? That's hard to say, because everything you write is different. But people generally ask themselves a few questions when they pick up something to read. Here they are:

"Who cares?"

"So what?"

Imagine Bart Simpson, the animated loser of television fame, asking those questions of you. Readers are more polite, but the questions are there, lurking in the backs of their minds. Address those questions if you want to create Hypnotic Writing.

I learned about those questions while educating myself to be a speaker. They are the same questions every audience asks, if only unconsciously. When you think about it, readers are looking over your writing for their reasons, not yours. They don't care what you want. They care about what they want. Every reader, every audience, is the same.

You need to know the answers to Bart's questions. What is in it for the reader? What are his benefits? What will he get out of it? Why should he care about what you've written? The bottom line is "so what?"

Can you provide answers? If you can't, your readers—well, you won't have any readers.

Think about it. When you pick up a magazine, or even your mail, you go through it and weed out what you don't want. If the article or the letter doesn't grab you in some way, you go right by it. Right? You don't read every article in your favorite magazine, do you? You might glance at it and as soon as you see it's not for you, you flip the pages.

Your readers will do the same thing to your writing. You better capture their attention immediately. How?

By thinking of what they want. Again, look at Bart's questions:

"Who cares?" (Well, who does care about your writing? Why should they care?)

"So what?" (Well, so what? Why does your writing matter? Do you have something important to say? Is it really important?)

"What's in it for me?" (Well, what is in it for him? What will he get out of your writing or your offer?)

You have to put your feet into the other person's shoes. Imagine what they want. Rapport is a key to any success in selling. It's a key to Hypnotic Writing, too. When you understand what your readers care about, you are in a position of power. You can then create something that will grab them where they live (so to speak, of course).

A manager may be interested in motivation. An accountant may be interested in tax savings. A writer may want easier ways to write (hence my strong headline in my letter selling Thoughtline).

Get out of your own ego and into your readers'. Don't give them what you want; give them what they want. Or, if you're offering something new, tell them about it in a way that appeals to them, not you. When Disney Studios released the movie Arachnophobia, it was billed as a comedy-thriller. When they discovered that audiences didn't care about comedy-thrillers, they billed the movie as a horror picture. Same movie, different approach. You have to think of your readers, not yourself.

One of the reasons Robert Collier's letters were so successful is because he merged with his readers. He began his letters from their viewpoint. Though Collier wanted people to order his products, his letters were friendly and personal and began by meeting the reader right where their mind was.

It's also a principle of Aikido, the martial art from Japan. Rather than beating someone into agreeing with you (as some politicians do with their advertising), Aikido says take people from where they already are to where you want them to be. Use their own momentum but redirect it. In other words, when writing a letter to get a point across, don't just whack the reader with your point. That's blunt. Instead, begin the letter from where the reader is, maybe by agreeing with him on some issue, and then move the letter in the direction of what you want to say.

Your reader is selfish. All he cares about is himself. Appeal to that interest. I often get query letters from authors who want me to consider publishing their books. Far too often the letter is about them and what they want, rarely about what I may want. You know what I do with those letters, don't you? (Take a guess.) If you just take a little time to consider your reader, you'll begin the process of writing something that will hypnotize him.

Consider this: If a woman knocked on your door right now and offered to help you write Hypnotic Writing, you'd listen, wouldn't you? But what if the same woman wanted to sell you diapers? The first one appeals to what you want, the second to what she wants. Which lady will hold your attention?

Or consider this: If you were a part of a group photo shooting and later were handed the photo, whose face would you look for first? Obviously, your own. That's because you interests you. Same goes for your readers: They are interested in themselves, not you.

Remember Bart Simpson's questions: "So what? Who cares? What's in it for me?" and answer them before you start writing. Consider this step part of your research phase (step two in tur-bocharging your writing). It's an essential step in creating writing that will nail your reader's eyes to the page. That's what you want, isn't it?

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