I was watching a music video earlier in which the artist (after the content ends) was taking the time to thank the people who helped produce the video. What struck me most was the last line of dialogue:
“So if you guys liked this video and think I should do more like it, let me know. And uh… so thanks for watching guys and… um, you’re awesome. Bye.”
As closing statements to an otherwise excellent video go, that was fairly awful. But it’s not just salespeople and musicians that struggle with closing. Virtually everyone has that blog post that they just can’t seem to end definitively, that lingers just a paragraph or two too long. Everyone who has written more than a handful of blog posts has struggled with the voice in their head that says, “How am I going to end this? How do I conclude this?” Of course, every salesperson has struggled with closing a deal. If you’re a content creator, I would bet you that you’ve had trouble closing a piece you’ve created.
They’re all related because in many ways, they’re all the same problem – how to close your content definitively and satisfyingly. Which means that what works for one profession can be broadly applied to many closing situations. Let’s look at a couple of sample closes and see how you might use them outside of the sales profession.
The Ben Franklin close:
In sales, you wrap up by presenting a summary of the pros and cons of your presentation. Normally in sales, this is heavily biased to favor your product or service. All of the cons are insignificant and all of the pros are supposedly game changers. You can use it in a more balanced way to close out a blog post, an email, or even a music video. Instead of just asking for generic comments, the aforementioned music video could have ended with, “On the one hand, doing this style of music is really interesting because… [insert list of reasons] but on the other hand, it has some drawbacks because [insert list of reasons]. I’d like to hear what YOU think in the comments.”
The Adjournment close:
In sales, the adjournment close is basically to set a followup call. You say something along the lines of “I can see you’re considering this carefully. When should I come back next week to see how your decision is progressing?” Again, this kind of pushy close can be used to much better effect in other media. For example, instead of ending a blog post with, “So what do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments.” you could close up a blog post with, “Consider carefully what we’ve shared here today. Leave your comments below, and I’ll post again in a week on the topic to round up your thoughts and share our collective insights.” That’s a much stronger way to close out a post and it offers people a chance to have their thoughts heard as well in the followup post.
Learn some of the most basic closing techniques (there’s a terrific list at ChangingMinds.org) and practice them. Even if you’ve got nothing to sell and you have absolutely no desire or interest in working in sales, learn the closing techniques anyway. Then start to pick through them and work them into your blog posts.
What you’ll find is that wrapping up content becomes much easier. It’ll save you time, it’ll save you stress and anxiety about how to bring a piece to an end definitively and in a satisfying manner, and it’ll make your content creation much stronger and more compelling. Of course, if you do have something to sell, integrating solid closing techniques into your content will make it sell that much better too, won’t it?
(yes, that was the shopping list close along with a Hopkins tie-down)
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This is great insight, Christopher. I always thought it was sufficient to just throw in a “What do you think about [insert thing I just said here]? Chime in below” at the end and hope people will bend to my will. I’ll definitely be thinking more about how I “close” my blog posts from now on. Thanks sir.