Secret 4: Imagine You're Sherlock Holmes
the fourth secret of creating killer content is to imagine you're Sherlock Holmes and this is a lesson that I always use when I get writer's block and believe me, it happens to me will happen to you. It happens to all the best writers. And I think this lesson will help you finally get over that no matter how stuck you are. So what does that exactly mean? Think and imagine you're Sherlock Holmes. Well, before I explain that I want to start off with a quote from Benjamin Franklin, who once said that you should either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. Right? I'm going to say that one more time. You should either write something worth reading or do being the key word, do something worth writing. And here's the thing too many people try to do the former and even worse they try to do it in isolation. They try to dream up these brilliant story ideas by simply sitting at their desk opening 1000 chrome tabs and chugging way too much Red Bull. It just doesn't work beca...
use the truth is is that writing isn't always about the writing, it's about the doing, As Ben Franklin said, it's about the reflecting and it's much easier to have an interesting experience and then write about that than to not have an interesting experience and try to make one up and let me explain that further. So let's let's dig into the details here. Right? So what does it mean to think? Like Sherlock Holmes, what does it mean to not think like a journalist when you're writing and I know this sounds weird, but don't think like a journalist when you're writing instead imagine you're an investigator and you can set out to do one of three things to make your article more interesting. Right? So put away the pen and pick up your magnifying glass because the real work will begin in person, not just on paper and here's what I mean. So here are three ways to make your story as interesting as possible. Number one, I haven't experienced related to your product or service that you're writing about. Got an adventure, do something different with the product that will pique people's curiosity. I'll give an example about this in a moment. The second thing you can do is put out a survey that gathers new information related to the product or service. You know, ask yourself what did you find surprising about these results and then simply write about that. Or the third thing you could do is interview someone who already had an interesting experience with your product or service and then write about that experience from beginning to end and share key takeaways as an example of this. I want to share an article about a drink company named Soylent. Now many of you may have already heard about Soylent in the news and you may know that they created this drink that is supposedly a meal replacement, right? And supposedly has enough nutrition to get you through the day and I'm not here to debate the validity of the product, but I want to talk about this article by this amazing writer named Shane Snow who really approached this topic as an investigator, not just a journalist. So the article he wrote was called Soylent. What happened when I stopped eating for two weeks and right off the bat, I'm hooked, right? I'm interested in what happened when this experiment took place, What happened when Shane dove in and started just drinking Soylent for two weeks instead of eating. And it speaks to how the writer really thought like an investigator instead of just a writer and he decided to try the product for two weeks and write about it instead of just talking about the product's benefits like most of us tend to do when we sit down and write about something. That article appeared Oz as a guest post on tim ferris's blog and lo and behold it became one of the sites most popular stories and what's the writing of the story, particularly sophisticated. Um to be honest, not really, but the experience was enough to hook the reader now I got to tell you as a ford writer, I try to do this all the time, especially when I feel writer's block. You know, I try to think like Sherlock Holmes, I try to go out and investigate and I want to share one particular example where I wrote about an Uber driver named Gavin? S color and I kid you not, he was making $252,000 a year. But it's not what you think. He wasn't making that money by just driving people around in Uber's is because he was selling his jewelry, he had a jewelry line and he was selling his jewelry to passengers. It was almost like Uber was his mobile showroom and I was like, well how can I think like an investigator because that story is interesting as it is, but we could really dive deeper and make it more, give it, give it a nice texture and make it much more interesting if I were to ride with him in his Uber's, if I were to investigate and see how did this guy not only pick up passengers but pitch him. Right, It's such a fine line. And so what I did was I drove around with Gavin for a few weekends and I saw how he did exactly this. I investigated it and then I wrote about it in the Forbes article and lo and behold that Forbes article became one of the most popular and shared Forbes articles of that year when I published it. And you'll also notice if you read that article which is called the Uber Preneurs um how an Uber driver makes $252,000 a year. You'll also notice as as an aside and nod back to our old lesson how I used Gavin as an apple to the orchard of different Uber drivers creating businesses, right? I called him Uber preneurs and I saw this trend as I was going through Ubers in san Francisco and in other cities of Uber drivers trying to sell me stuff. But I thought Gavin was the most interesting. He was the apple of the orchard. So I was like, all right, I'm gonna talk about Gavin, I'm going to investigate it and I'm going to show how this is part of a greater trend and also have some wordplay with Uber Preneurs, Uber entrepreneur and it went up and now it has about 1.4 million views. If you look at it at Forbes and you know, it was my writing prolific. No, I wrote it like 1/7 grader, going back to our first lesson, you know, I investigated, I used the apple in the orchard so again, as we're going through this course, you can see how all these things come together to really create a piece of killer content right With that I want to say congrats on finishing over half the course and congrats on finishing this lesson where we've learned how to overcome writer's block by thinking like Sherlock Holmes, we have three more lessons to go. So I'll see you in the next video