Your prospect just asked for more info on that new solution / process / whatever of yours, but you don’t have anything to send them. Don’t panic. There’s a fairly easy way to create an instant one-sheet (hey, nothing to do with writing is 100% easy). It’s based on an old writer’s trick of mine – and it’s a handy tool to keep in your sales messaging belt.
Here’s the trick: whenever you have to get content out in a hurry, make it a Q&A.
Why Questions & Answers?
Because it’s one of the simplest ways to string your thoughts together quickly … and because readers love it. Most of your prospects aren’t really readers anyway – they’re scanners. And for scanners, a Q&A one-sheet is like lemonade in August.
Okay then, how do I start?
The beauty of Q&A is that you don’t have to start at the beginning. Start anywhere. Just jot down a random question related to your topic. Then, answer it. I usually go with the easiest questions first. Think of something your sales prospects would ask (or should ask, if they knew what you know). Jot it down. Answer it. Then do another. And another.
Don’t worry about the order of your questions. Just keep them coming until you’ve captured all the key issues from your sales message. Afterwards, you can go back and re-arrange your content in a more logical sequence.
Are there any pitfalls to avoid with Q&A?
Yep. There are two big pitfalls we see all the time. First, people say too much. You’ve got to keep your answers short and to the point. Second, businesspeople tend to slip into a writing style that’s far too corporate, complicated, and stuffy. You want to sound professional, but conversational – as if you were talking with your prospect face to face.
But what if I have a lot to say?
The Q&A format makes it easy to add more content. Just pop in another question. The secret sauce is to keep each individual answer as short as possible – even if the document itself spills onto more than one page. It’s always better to break up your sales points into lots of short answers rather than a few very long ones.
Does it need an introduction and conclusion?
Sure. Think of an attention-grabbing headline, plus a short paragraph to set up your Q&As. Then, end your document with a clear call-to-action and your contact information (“Find out more. Call…”).
What about the design of the page?
If at all possible, get your designer to do it. However, if it absolutely has to go out this afternoon, do it yourself – but keep it simple:
- Put a big headline at the top.
- Fill the page with your Q&A content.
- Add your contact information and logo at the bottom.
That’s it. Unless you’re a professional designer, a clean, minimalist look will feel much more “designed” than something with lots of different typefaces and graphics dancing across the page.
One last thing: reuse your new Q&A content. Whenever you create content, you’ve just produced a valuable new sales and marketing asset. Think about how it can be reused and repurposed throughout your content marketing. Can you turn it into a blog post? An article? A Tweet? Now that you’ve got it, make the most of it.