Here are some guidelines:
- First of all, focus on the reader – make an important promise early on (with your headline and opening paragraphs) that tells the reader what’s in it for her. Never allow readers to question why they are bothering to pay attention.
- Each separate part of your narrative should have a main idea (something compelling) and a main purpose (to rile up the reader, to counter an opposing view, etc) that supports your bigger point and promise. Don’t digress, and don’t ramble. Stay laser focused.
- Be ultra-specific in your assertions, and always make sure to give “reasons why.” General statements that are unsupported by specific facts cause a reader’s BS detector to go on high alert.
- Demonstrate large amounts of credibility, using statistics, expert references and testimonials as appropriate. You must be authoritative – if you’re not an existing expert on a subject, you had better have done your research.
- After building your credibility and authority, make sure you get back to the most important person around – the reader. What’s STILL in it for him? Restate the hook and the promise that got readers engaged in the first place.
- Make an offer. Whether you’re selling a product or selling an idea, you’ve got to explicitly present it for acceptance by the reader. Be bold and firm when you present your offer, and relieve the reader’s risk of acceptance by standing behind what you say.
- Sum everything up, returning full circle to your original promise and demonstrate how you’ve fulfilled it.