Don’t Know What to Say in Your Copy? Ask This One-Word Question

In my early days as a newspaper reporter, I had the “5 W's” drilled into me.

You know:

Who?

What?

When?

Where?

Why?

(Some people add on “How?” for good measure.)

Every time I hit a marketing challenge and I'm not sure where to start, I go back to the 5 W's—especially the first one.

Leading up to the best-selling launch of my business partner's second book, I was lining up a podcast interview when the host hit me with this:

“So I'm getting ready for my interview with John later today. Is there any message or point you want an audience to know about the book?”

For a second I froze like a deer in the headlights.

I *hate* questions like this.

I mean, the book is 800 pages and packed with career insights that apply to just about any software developer who's ever typed a line of code.

How am I supposed to pick just one main message?

Then my reporter instincts took over, and I fired back:

“Who is your main audience?”

Turns out the podcast listeners are a particular breed of developers who create automated tests for software applications.

Instantly I knew exactly what the message should be:

1. John actually broke into development from testing (twice!), so telling that story would give him instant street cred with the audience.

2. The most important parts of John's book are 100% transferrable to people in quality assurance/testing.

3. The book will also give testers an appreciation for life “on the other side of the fence,” so to speak. They'll understand developers better, which means they can train them to work better with the testing process—and that'll make the testing team's life easier.

See how this works?

The pitch almost writes itself.

And it all flows from that one critical word:

“Who?”