The media is obsessed with celebrity, calamity and crime. Anything with a negative angle is hooked up and spun out as though it was newsworthy and important. Why?
Every bit of human behaviour happens for a reason. It’s not random. There’s a motivation behind every action and a hidden motivation behind every reaction.
To make it as copywriters we need to know everything there is to know about these motivations (especially the hidden ones).
And as with everything, there’s a pattern, in the case of news, it’s a story arc. The start is the action (publishing a negative story). The middle is the reaction (reading the story), and it ends with an action (readers do something with what they just read – the simplest example of which is to pass on the message – resulting in social shares and the possibility of going viral).
That’s why media is also obsessed with a scoop. First to print means wider coverage (or at least a better chance of it).
So why is it we soak up negativity so readily? The answer lies in our lives and the way we live. We’re sold at school on the idea of becoming an adult and choosing a career.
We’re sold on the same thing at home. We have no control over any of this as we’re too young to understand the brain-washing that’s going on.
We’re rewarded by parents and teachers when we tow the line, and we’re punished by them when we don’t (as is often said, it’s why we all become experts at lying – especially to ourselves – it’s survival).
Reward and punishment, carrot and stick, praise and criticism. Good cop, bad cop. When we employ these tools we stop people from thinking for themselves.
We become the driver of their lives. The media knows this. Soap opera producers know this. Great copywriters know this.
It’s the sort of thing I’ll be going deep into in the Continual Professional Development sessions I’ll be running on a monthly basis in the new association I’m setting up (and mentioned in last week’s newsletter).
And it’s just one more reason why those who become members will get recognition and trust for what they do by their clients and prospective clients.
We launch in a couple of weeks, and I’ll let you have more details as soon as I can.
People have patterns and great copywriters understand this. The first of last week’s articles – Home, looks at one of those patterns.
The second article of the week – Guarantees, was by far the most popular (do you guarantee your work? This will help you think about it in a different way).
The third piece (Trust) emphasizes the importance of patterns, and the final piece (Clear?) is perhaps the most useful if you’ve ever wondered what an ad must contain as a minimum (in other words, what most ads fail to do – and so fail in purpose).
With my love,
Science of Copywriting
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 showcases copywriting and copywriters to the world.
Science of Copywriting Weekly Newsletter Issue 37
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