How to make a mundane product exciting

History of Navy seals. The Covert Missions of the Military’s Elite Fighting Force. Plus… The Origins of Seal Team Six. Inside Operation Neptune Spear.

That’s from the magazine cover I noticed at the grocery store checkout line. It completely captured my attention. The image on the cover showed a navy diver in a suit wearing a mask and holding a small underwater engine with a propeller. 

Exciting? Oh yes!

Captivating? Hell yeah!

Do you want to read the stories? Absolutely. Can’t wait.

Can it be used in a sales promotion? Maybe. If the guru is a former navy seal. Or if you’re selling diving suits, equipment. But what about the investment newsletter? Can you sell that?

What if the guru is an accountant? Can you tell a story about navy seals and sell accounting and stock picking services?

That was my dilemma. Am I going too far? Will my readers call BS on me and stop reading. Or will they think I’m nuts… but still continue reading.

Let’s see… most readers live boring lives and they are looking to be entertained. They WANT to read something exciting. Anything, really.

And if the magazine cover caught my attention, it will surely catch other people’s attention. Even my wife’s. So there’s something to it.

Now all you need a segue or a transition. 

Here is another sample – “A cockpit fire that nearly killed me and saved my retirement”. Would you want to read that? When I saw that, I had to read it immediately.

I thought it was the greatest headline I’ve read this year. Why?

Because it made me imagine a fire in the cockpit when I’m in the air flying an airplane. Scary, stressful, risky, dangerous – many different emotions and the good news is – that fire will somehow save my retirement. Huh?

Fire usually destroys things, property. But in this case, the fire saves retirement. 

No doubt it caught the attention of many prospects and entertained them telling an interesting story because a guru was a former navy pilot… who’s now about to retire. And his retirement was in danger.

A really nice transition, isn’t it?

But what if your guru is not a former navy pilot… and he never worked for the CIA. Or the FBI. And he never worked in physics or chemistry lab. What he only had an office job?

In that case, you can still tell an interesting story with a lot of drama in it and somehow connect that story to what a guru does. For example – the pilot is flying an airplane that has a certain engine component. 

For example – a new discovery will make a component in the engine run at 10 times the power with half the fuel. 

Would that be exciting? You bet! It will revolutionize aviation. And the company that invented this new technology will be able to cash in big and make a few early investors fabulously rich.

A smooth transition like that would definitely make a fascinating read and sell a product.

Now the real question is – what do people want to read about? I’ve thought about it for a long time and here is a list I’ve compiled. It’s in no particular order:

  • Stories. Especially a true story told through the eyes of the person who lived through it. A famous A-List copywriter revealed that every time he wrote a story, he had a winner sales promotion
  • Anything that’s a secret. A state secret, corporate secret, trading secret, secret technique. Even more fascinating are marriage and mistress secrets especially when it concerns famous people. 
  • Dirty secrets of famous people. Or the ones other people want to keep from you. The stories of how a secret was discovered are especially interesting
  • Stolen, Smuggled, leaked and otherwise revealed information. We’re all shocked at them … and want to read all the juicy details on how they were discovered.
  • National Enquirer. This was the most read newspaper in the world. And may still be. National Enquirer reporters had skills that would rival CIA. They know human psychology and how to motivate them to spill the secrets.

Next time you’re at the library or a book store, think about what captures your attention. What fascinates you. Chances are if it fascinates you it will fascinate others too.

Now here’s a pro tip – create a spreadsheet and start collecting ideas that captured your attention. Soon you’ll have an idea file to draw inspiration from. And fascinate your readers. Who will want to know more and line up to buy whatever you write. You’ll never have to work again.