Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Attention-Grabbing topics and Journalistically Sound Leads

Ok, as promised, here are some more thoughts on: "attention-grabbing topics and journalistically sound leads."

Once you've developed some story ideas, you want to identify the ones that will bring in readers and capture their imagination. It's a good idea to think like a journalist or a newscaster. Leading news stories focus on emotion to grab attention and capture the imagination of readers/listeners/watchers. Think about fundamental emotional drivers, like those related to physiological needs, security, love and affection, self-esteem, and self-actualization. The news is littered with all these kinds of stories (albeit sensationalized and exaggerated).

Many of the ways we connect with customers fall into these hierarchies, and considering that most of us can get enough food and shelter, the categories that go beyond physiological needs become especially important. What many of us want is more:

· Time and efficiency so we can get more food and shelter
· Long term security
· Protection from psychological fear (real, imminent, or imagined)
· Acceptance into groups
· Approval of family
· Approval of peers and co-workers

We also yearn for self-actualization that lifts our spirits and lends meaning to our livelihoods, day-to-day activities, and relationships.

If you consider these drivers when evaluating your story ideas, you'll be able to weed out the good ones and associate them with your products.

Now, as far as item descriptions go, you need to think about the classic 5 W's (Who, What, Where, When, Why/How) that journalists use to define standard leads in news stories. Make sure you include the facts of your story (or product) high up in the description copy. If you can weave a compelling story line or problem/solution around your product, all the better. We'll talk more about stories and success stories later on.

Remember - good stories can be used to present products or your business (About Me page) on eBay. They can also be used in outside communications that go directly to your customers or potential customers -- as with newsletters, press releases, and media stories about your business.

Think about the story/news hooks that pertain to your business and products, and you'll be able to promote your business much more effectively. Customers will understand what you sell much more easily, and outsiders (in the media and word-of-mouth circles) will be able to easily communicate what it is that's great about your business.

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