What is it that stops us getting what we want? If you’ve been reading my posts here for any length of time, you’ll know this topic comes up again and again. There’s a very good reason for this. What we want determines what we buy.
As copywriters, it’s our job to get to the heart of what our customers (and our client’s customers) want, find the right angle to get their attention, then write the sort of copy that excites people enough to make them take action.
If this were easy, we’d all be doing it, but alas, it isn’t. So this week is about exploring why that is, and today is about ego (the biggest blocker of all).
In the west we believe in ego. We see ourselves as the most important thing on the planet (even when we say the opposite – ie. we go into victim mode). Life revolves around us and that’s what we expect.
Yet, it’s also something we love to deny because our upbringing and peers tell us it’s wrong. We’re told we’re arrogant, or big-headed, or selfish, or any of a number of other shame laden labels. As a result, we live in an internal state of confusion and contradiction.
Compare that to eastern philosophy where the ego is seen as a myth we tell ourselves in order to feel important (the idea of mediation is to free the mind from internal views and start to feel as one with the universe).
Yet despite all this, commerce is (more or less) the same wherever you go. Someone decides they want something and goes in search of it, and whoever has that item for sale and was the first to get their attention with a good offer tends to get the sale.
So what has ego got to do with it? Pride is one thing. If our copy hurts someone’s pride in some way, the kick back is (almost) impossible to undo. If someone wants something but is “not in the mood” at that moment, they won’t take action either.
If we start our copy with, say, a question: “Ever wondered why others lose weight, but you keep piling it on?”, our innocent question turns into an inquisition (which gets the response – NO – meaning “of course I do, but I’m not going to give you the satisfaction of knowing that”).
Our ego jumps in to protect our pride and that’s that. Ego is our self made protection mechanism to stop bad things happening to us. But it’s a fiction developed in our left brain. I don’t exist just because “I think, therefore I am”. I exist because other people see me.
We’ll go deeper on the implications of this on Wednesday.
I've spent my working life starting and running a whole variety of businesses, from my first QPL Express Couriers where I travelled over 100,000 miles every year delivering packages on a motorcycle (along with a whole bunch of colleagues) to Accountz.com which made a major in-road in the UK, to ProofMEDIA my current business that focuses on Copywriting and the International Copywriters Association, which helps copywriters learn more about copywriting and the copywriting industry around the world.
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