What Who Why How

Helping You Message Better

I have written a lot, over the last few months, on how to help you message effectively. It's about how you articulate your domain expertise. It's about learning to tell stories effectively. I have shared with you how to stand out, stand apart, and generate more leads. For product companies, I have told you how to create a differentiated product. And for agency owners, I've shared how to build a brand to net better clients.

As I sat down at the computer tonight to write post 229 (days in a row), I thought about something my buddy Shawn said the other night. It's going to sound morbid, but it was really a compliment. “When you die, can I get access to all your frameworks?”

I Have a Framework For Everything

I have a lot of frameworks.

They help make my life easier by giving me the right lens to think about things, and often they create shortcuts that help me be more productive.

As I shared a four-word framework the other day, I realized that while I've written about it (not always in these words: “Segment > Pain > Feature > Story”), there was another four-word framework that I hadn't written about.

This helps you order your writing in a way that helps you articulate your expertise and helps build your authority so that you can sell more and close more deals.

It's just four words. Words you know well. Each one is a question. A one-word question.

And here's the thing. A framework only works if it's easy to remember and use. So as I share it with you, you're going to think, “this isn't rocket science,” and I'm here to tell you that I agree 100%.

The point isn't to surprise you with my brilliance. The point is to highlight that you can totally learn this approach and use it. Right away!

  • What?
  • Who?
  • Why?
  • How?

There you go. Easy, right?

Articulating Your Expertise

Dave Chappelle has a stand-up routine where he tells you the punchline, in advance, and then goes on to tell you a long story. At the end, he surprises you with the punch line again, and you realize he's brilliant.

But you and I aren't Dave Chappelle. We don't have an audience that will wait for us for minutes on end to get to our point.

So we start with What?

What are we talking about? This is where we get to the point.

Today I'm going to give you a framework for writing posts that will help you demonstrate your expertise and enhance your authority so that you can close more deals and sell more.

If you have an insight, a strategy, or some approach you want to share, and you can't crystalize it, you can't articulate it, in under 50 words, go back and work on things. Answering “what?” should be the fasting thing you do in this framework.

Next we tackle Who?

Who is this for? The other day I told you everything is about context. I may have a great strategy, but if it's only for product owners, then I better be clear about that up front. Right after the “what?”

My framework is for people who are coaches, consultants, agency owners and even product owners – all trying to create content that distinguishes them from their competitors so that they can sell more and close more deals. It also helps them communicate more effectively.

What you may have already noticed is that this order helps people filter themselves out. First they read your “what?” and determine if they're interested or not. Then they move forward to your “who?” and see if they're still in your target audience. If not, they self-select out of your audience.

And trust me, that's a good thing. You don't want the wrong person wasting your time asking questions that won't go anywhere because they're not going to buy from you. Ever.

So get to the Who? question quickly so that people can know that you're talking to them.

If you read that part about who this framework is for, and it's not you, if you don't want to communicate effectively, you can get out of here. (Just kidding, you can hang out, it's all good.)

Your expertise shines with Why?

I'm not suggesting that the third part of this framework is Why as in, why do this? Nope. I'm suggesting you answer the “Why me?” question. Why are you qualified to give this advice.

I'm writing you a framework for how to write more effectively, so that people will trust your authority and expertise. Why are you reading this post? Probably because you trust my authority and expertise, right?

But it's not enough to simply assume that you've earned a reader's trust simply because they're there. We have to answer “Why?” effectively.

I did mention this was post 229 – that I've written every single day for two hundred and twenty nine days in a row, trying to give you great advice that helps you grow. Grow your business. Grow as a communicator. Grow as a product or service business owner. Without selling you anything.

So what you can trust is my intention and my consistency. And know that I'm giving you advice without asking you to pay for it. That's my answer to why me?

Lastly, we answer How?

When we answer the “How?” question, we're giving people advice. We're sharing our insights or expertise. We're giving away the goods that others may be selling. I know it sounds crazy – to give away stuff I know that others would gladly pay for.

But here's what I know. And I'll explain it with a simple story.

The other day I told you why I hired a company to come tear out our phone booth-sized shower and our tub next to it, in our master bathroom, and then replace it with a large walk-in shower. A massive shower that I can't wait for.

What I may not have mentioned is that I watched tons of videos on how to do it myself. I may have watched 7 or 8, and one of them was a 7-part series. They showed me every single thing I needed to do, in order to do it myself.

So why didn't I do it, after I had all the knowledge? Because knowledge is not the same thing as expertise and experience. I can watch the video and hear every step. But that's not going to convince me I should do it myself.

In fact, it convinced me I should hire someone!

That's why I tell you, all the time, to share everything you know. Because your “how?” will highlight that you have the experience and expertise for someone to hire you (while also highlighting how much they don't know).

That's it. That's the Four-Word Framework

Nothing I wrote is magical. Nothing is hard. You can totally do this. But you'd be amazed how many times I read a piece of advice, a strategy, an article explaining something, and I see one of the four parts missing.

So I hope this write up helps you!

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