How to Sell Your Words Point by Point
Selling words versus sharing them
How often have you started reading something … and said (as if the writer could hear you) “get to the point.”
Or “what is the point?”
Instead of saying…
“I Get Your Point.”
“I get it. I understand what you’re saying.”
That latter response is the response that indicates what you’ve written is actually good content. (For your topic, your ideas, and your words are appropriate and relevant to the reader.)
For that response is the tell that your work is relevant, that your reader relates to what you are saying. It is the tale that your reader is entranced by your words and is following what you say and doing what you want … flowing from point to point down to the last word.
Yet newbie writers don’t have a clue as to how to get that response. Much less how to engage readers by making them fall in love with you.
Is Rambling Real Writing?
A newbie often rambles on and on …
writing that is often more like a session of free writing. Pages of rambling ideas and unrelated thoughts lead nowhere.
I am a bonafide advocate of free writing. For it’s good for freeing up your mind from the muck of modern living.
When I started writing, what I wrote was just the meandering thoughts of the maladjusted. Much of it didn’t make sense.
For I was trying to make sense of why my life had gone so wrong and why I did the dumb things I’d done.
If you’ve ever done any free writing, then you know the mumble jumble that often gets written.
And you wonder later if you’ll ever be a real writer.
The Magic Happens When Communicating
But free writing isn’t real communication between two people. It’s a soliloquy, a journey of the discovery of what you want to say.
But with daily practice, faithfully putting words on the screen or paper, something magical happens.
Your mind clears. Your thoughts become lucid. And your words create precise mental pictures. Images that move your reader emotionally through an exciting story, like a movie.
When you’ve created that movie in your reader’s mind, you know you are developing the craftsmanship of writing.
Yet many people don’t get any further than just scribbling random thoughts on the page. As if they are writing in a journal.
High Hopes and Grand Delusions
Most newbie writers hit publish with high hopes that they’ll get readers. Lots of readers. (I am just as guilty of that as anyone.)
Then you wonder why nobody clicks on your page. Why does nobody read what you write?
You don’t know you have grand delusions.
You think you are a great writer. People have told you that. But could it be that they themselves also have had grand dreams, dreams that have been smashed to pieces?
Maybe they know a deep disappointment … and bitter disillusionment … of dashed hopes — and don’t want you to experience that, too?
But could it also be that what you write is confusing in places? Even filled with conflicting thoughts? And the reader can’t figure out what point you are really trying to make in the headline.
Could it be possible that you don’t even stay on point all the way through to the end of your post?
In other words, could it be your words are off point?
The True Measure of Good Writing
According to Joel Schwartzberg in getting to the Point!: Sharpen Your Message and Make Your Words Matter, “Your true goal as a communicator is to convey your point…”
He continues, “Effective communication hinges on one job and one job only: Moving your point from your head to your audience’s heads…”
He explains, “If you deliver your point, you succeed. If you don’t deliver your point, you fail…”
Then he says, “The only measure of success is whether or not the delivery is successful.”
Magical Journeys into the Mind
Most published works are magical journeys that take you into the minds of the writer. They take you from point to point, sentence after sentence. Paragraph after paragraph. And chapter after chapter.
They lead you to the end of the book or article by conveying points that all relate to one topic.
And that one topic captivates certain readers.
And we all want to become that writer.
Years of Being of Point
But it takes years of practice (as well as copy editors and often many rewrites) to do that.
For its hard work to progress from untethered free writing beginnings to well-organized, well-said, published works.
For instead of captivating, first drafts often meander down every rabbit hole within a writer’s mind.
They lead you here and there and everywhere, and never get to where they promised to take their reader.
They go to places that have little to no relation to the main point you started with.
The Foundation of Readable Writing
Most beginners don’t know what’s really happening.
But when successful writers tell the story about their beginning writing journey, most tell you that reading their own stuff from their apprentice days is painful to read.
And they tell you that every writer goes through the same process when learning to write.
For it’s a daunting and difficult job that takes years of diligence and deliberation … and hundreds of hours of hard writing and deep thinking …
to get good.
To put something on the page that moves from point to point without meandering …
The foundation of readable writing.
Pivot Back to your Point
To be able to get to the point quickly … and stay on point…
is a learned skill.
And it’s in the rewriting stage that you practice what is known as the ‘pivot.’
Schwartzberg explains, “the tactic of steering the discussion back to your point is often called a pivot…”
When you rewrite, you edit out your meandering and revamp each sentence, each paragraph, and each section, that goes off point. You pivot back to your main point or theme.
For, again, “Your true goal as a communicator is to convey your point(…)” and check that you stay on point. And relevant.
To pivot, you can say, “My point is this” or “Here’s the thing,” advises Schwartzberg.
Where Each Point Leads
Think of the PIVOT as Pointing Incessantly to the Value of your Topic.
Each point must be an integral part of the discussion you started. And each point validates your main point …
Which promises to give value to your reader.
And point by point, you sell to your reader what you are offering that is valuable to your reader.
Selling Points Instead of Sharing
For as Schwartzberg also explains, “Good ideas, in the form of points, deserve to be sold, not just shared.”
He explains that if you merely share, you are only relaying information to the reader. But if you are selling, you are offering your advice, and your opinions. Your suggestions.
For you are selling readers your perspective, your personal view on the subject.
Schwartzberg says you do that by using “point-forcing power phrases: I propose . . . I recommend . . . I suggest . . .”
“The brilliance of these simple phrases is that — similar to ‘I believe’ — they force the creation of a true point, and typically a value proposition as well,” he says.
He also says those who use these power phrases are becoming the professionals and the thought leaders of our time. And you can be one of them…
when you find something unique to say about the topic.
And you pivot each point you make in that direction, a direction that drives your reader deeper and deeper into your perspective. Deeper and deep into your thought process. Deeper and deeper into your thoughts and beliefs about the topic.
Deeper and deeper into your perspective of a topic the reader finds fascinating.
For you offer the reader value with each point you make.
Schwartzberg also says, “The only way to deliver the full value of an idea is by making a true point. And like a quality steak knife, the sharper it is, the more penetrating it will be.”
Are you on Point yet?
But the only way to find out if your words are on point is to ask your audience, “Do see my point?”
Of course, a writer can’t ask each reader that question directly. The only way he has to find out if he is on point is to find someone to read what he has written.
Back in the days before the internet and medium.com, writers were advised to find people to read what they have written and ask them if they understood what the writer said.
They were asked to only point out where the writing was unclear and confused them.
The Pivoting Writing World
Nowadays, the advice is ‘publish, publish, publish.’ ‘Get views and reads and readers to respond.’ ’Increase your reads.’
Yet most of what I’ve read on medium.com is top-notch writing. Most writers seem to be able to stay on point for the length of the article.
It proves to me that most writers do sell their words by selling each relevant and valuable point.
I suggest that the writing world must pivot and get pointed in the direction of showing how much writers are really valued today …
by helping all writers make some actual cash by selling each point.
Hopefully, medium.com will continue to hang out cash bonuses to their writers.
For their work proves their worth, point by point.