How to Write Content That Matters, a conversation with Sean D'Souza By Jessica Albon Copyright 2003, The Write Exposure
A master of metaphor, Sean D'Souza writes articles that astound readers. He gives readers what they want, and then some.
You might think writing articles as powerful as D'Souza's would require epic talent, but in fact, D'Souza says, it all starts with a headline.
When I sat down to interview D'Souza, I was worried he might hesitate to share his secrets for writing engaging content. Instead, he was as open about behind-the- scenes aspects of his newsletter as he is in each issue. Offering advice from candid: "The unsubscribe is only an email away," to poetic: "Problems are whirlpools," he clearly explains how you, too, can write great content.
Jessica: Sean, thank you for agreeing to this interview! To get started, what do you try to accomplish with your newsletter, PsychoTactics?
Sean: I want people to learn that marketing can make them millions. But make sure you get into a customer's brain first. Think like they do. Understand what they really want. They want you to literally second guess.
They want to buy. You do stupid things and actually prevent them from buying.
Jessica: In your newsletter, you provide specific advice on making your marketing more effective. You offer readers information they can't get elsewhere online, so clearly, there are benefits to being a reader. How does newsletter help you, as publisher?
Sean: People writing in saying how their lives have changed, how their business has improved. Empowerment has been best reward. People write looooooooong five page letters.
But seeing that it's a powerful tool to generate business and real money in bank, has been pretty gratifying too.
My credit card register clicks through all time because people trust that I will give them good stuff. We don't ask for business any more. It comes to us.
That way, newsletter is a bit like a view into your soul. We started a membership just today and we already have had dozens of people sign up. They know they can trust us.
If you do things right and promote it well, your audience will materialise. It's a monster, but a likeable one.
A newsletter is BEST Tool you can ever have. Don't underestimate it for one second! But you can't get away with trash. If you're going to have a newsletter, put out something momma would be proud of.
Jessica: How do you write articles that, as you put it, your momma would be proud of? How do you keep your perspective fresh?
Sean: Reading, reading and reading. Nothing will make more ideas pop into your head. The second way is clients or helping other people. They ask weird questions, and ideas go wild. I've got about 10 book ideas in my head and about 30 article ideas. I have to write them down or they give me slip.
Be bold. Don't be boring. Anything that isn't boring is fresh. But also look at it from different angles. Look for examples. They help you explain and help audience understand.
Jessica: What happens when you run out of fresh ideas?
Sean: I read. I talk to people. But I don't have that problem any more. Now I just think of headlines and write them down. Dozens of them. That makes it easy. Write what you know about.
It's making article powerful that's difficult. Filling it with emotion, creating little twists in copy. That takes ages. It's like a good plot. You have to get timing just right. I take four times as much time in rewrite, than I do in actual process of writing it. Thinking it through takes four times as much time too. So actual writing is shortest part of whole process.