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Finding your product's inherent drama
Every product has that special little something that makes consumers keep buying it.
Ad legend Leo Burnett called it "inherent drama".
The copywriter's job is to uncover a product's "inherent drama", then transform it into something new.
When Comedian Ricky Gervais was 13, his English teacher gave him an invaluable writing tip, "Write about what you know."
In the beginning Ricky simply ignored it.
So whenever his teacher gave his class a new writing assignment, Ricky did the opposite.
He made up stories based on things he saw on telly.
Like silly stories about "a maverick cop who didn't play by the rules".
But his teacher wasn't impressed. And marked them as "too melodramatic."
Ricky was pissed.
All the other kids were writing about things they did...
And getting B's and A's.
So Ricky decided it was time to “teach his teacher a lesson”.
"I’ll write the most boring story in the World".
You see, Ricky's mom used to go over to their neighbor's house, a 80-something year old lady, to help out.
And sometimes Ricky would go there with his mom.
One day Ricky has an eureka moment, "I'll write a story about that. That is soooo boring!"
So Ricky starts writing about all the silly little details of the experience. "We came in and there was smell of tea. And lavender. And mold."
He wrote so detailed and vividly about the whole experience.
Then he hands in the assignment and thinks to himself, "That will show him."
The next day, Ricky gets his mark back and...surprise surprise... Ricky was shocked. He got an A.
Good copywriting is a bit like good satirical comedy. It takes bare facts about the World around us. And presents them in a dramatic yet memorable way to make a point.
1/ The inherent drama is “the most direct route to the mind of the reader”.
2/ Write copy that is honest, believable and speaks to people.
Leo Burnett was famous for keeping a folder in the the lower left-hand corner of his desk. He called that folder “Corny Language.” And whenever he overheard something brutally honest or touching in a passing conversation he would write it down.
Here's also a little trick I use a lot when writing copy for clients.
3/ Focus on Good and Different.
Most companies are fooled by focus groups when creating new products and value props. The problem is as Marty Neumeier says, “radical differentiation doesn’t test well in focus groups.
4/ Use more vivid language. Vivid language is more persuasive and makes your message tap into your reader's emotions. Remember that people buy emotionally, then justify with facts.
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