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Can you believe this?

Think. Write. Lead.
Can you believe this?
By Diego Pineda • Issue #8 • View online
How’s your week going, my friend? I hope it’s freaking awesome. Welcome again to Think.Write.Lead. If you have a topic that you’d like me to cover, send me a note. I’d love to hear from you!

One prerequisite to write like a thought leader is binge-watch Netflix.
Or read the Harry Potter series.
Or any other work of fiction.
You see, thought leaders are master storytellers.
And if you want to be a great storyteller, you have to read and watch great stories. 
Popcorn, anyone?
Popcorn, anyone?
Reading novels or watching series on Netflix doesn’t have to be a waste of time like many people tend to say.
I watch a lot of movies and TV shows and always draw lessons from them to become better at my craft.
For instance, if I’m at the movies, and all of the sudden I get distracted or bored, I ask myself why.
What is going on with the story that made me lose interest? After a few seconds, I can tell that there is a problem with the pace, the motivation of the character or maybe the plot is not credible.
Now, if the story is airtight, I probably won’t notice, because I’ll be captivated from beginning to end. In that case, I’ll ask myself later, what were the elements that made the story work well for me?
Let me give you an example.
I love MCU movies. They’re just fun to watch and there’s a lot of details and connections between the different films to keep you curious.
But when I was watching the Eternals recently, I found myself getting bored in the middle of it. Something wasn’t clicking.
Here was this immortal gal called Sersi, who’d been on earth for 7,000 years or so, but living in a tiny flat in London with a shitty job at a museum. I mean, if you’d been around for that long, it makes more sense that you’ve accumulated a lot of wealth and land, and be your own boss, not a mid-level employee. And besides, she had not even discovered her full powers after so long and was clueless about love and relationships. 
Eternals is the lowest ranked MCU movie, according to Rotten Tomatoes.
Eternals is the lowest ranked MCU movie, according to Rotten Tomatoes.
I didn’t make that whole analysis during the movie, but my mind did know something was off, and the suspension of disbelief was broken.
Suspension of disbelief is what you do when enjoying a work of fiction. You temporarily allow yourself to believe something that isn’t true, like superheroes or monsters roaming around, for the story to make sense.
We suspend disbelief when watching science fiction or fantasy. We accept that the characters are in a universe with different rules to ours. But the plot still has to be credible within that universe, there must be some logic to it.
And this brings me to the point I want to make in this issue:
Your writing, whether stories or information, should be credible.
Here are three things that will hurt your credibility:
  1. Calling yourself a thought leader or an expert when you are just starting out, when you have a small following and barely any testimonials.
  2. Overpromising results and not being able to deliver.
  3. Giving your opinions and not backing them up with data or case studies.
Are you ready to turn this around and build your credibility? Let’s do it.
THINK.
Every time you are writing something, ask yourself:
  • Am I backing up my claims with proof and data? Or am I just expressing my opinions?
  • Do I have the background and expertise to talk about this topic? If not, am I quoting someone that does?
  • Will people feel it was worth that they stopped scrolling to read my post or invested 10 minutes reading my blog or newsletter? Or will they regret it?
  • Am I adding value with practical tips, and inspiring and clear calls to action?
  • Am I providing helpful resources, tools and systems that my readers will appreciate?
  • Am I answering questions with new insights and thought leadership?
  • Am I telling engaging stories or am I being boring?
WRITE.
  • Review 3 recent pieces of writing and ask the questions above. Rewrite as necessary.
  • For your next article or post, make sure to back up your claims with research data, stats, case studies or a quote from a recognized expert. Make it a habit for anything you write.
  • Check out your landing pages and promotional copy. How can you rewrite them to make them more credible? Do you need more testimonials or talk about your results a bit more?
LEAD.
Leadership is influence.
And when you lack credibility, you lose influence.
So here’s the thing: you have to lead both with great storytelling and data.
Because data convinces the logical mind of what you are saying, but it’s not enough to make people take action.
Action is taken when people are moved emotionally. That’s where stories come in – they inspire action.
So lead with emotion and lead with intelligence.
Tell fantastic emotional stories that people will believe.
P.S. I’m thinking about creating a short course on storytelling principles for nonfiction writers. What do you think? Would you be interested? Reply to this email and let me know.
Did you enjoy this issue?
Diego Pineda

Write like a thought leader: tight, sexy, and elegant copy that stirs emotions and changes minds.

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