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Copywriting Secrets You’ll Discover At The Movies

Copywriting. Does that word send shivers of fear down your spine? Well, you would not be alone because the thought of writing copy intimidates a lot of people. That’s why the pros get paid big bucks to write it for you.

Now here’s the thing. Entrepreneurs have to use strong copy to communicate their sales message. But if you’re just starting out, you probably can’t cough up five figures for a good copywriter. Well here’s some good news. You can learn to become a good writer my going to the movies. No, I haven’t left the rails. I mean it, and I’ll prove it to you…

MOVIE STORYTELLING

Why do you go to the movies? To be entertained, of course. But what does that mean? It means that for a few hours your mind and your senses are stimulated by something outside of your own life. You are engaged in a story, usually fictional. You are transported away from your worries, struggles, and concerns. Great. Let’s take a look at how movies do that.

STIR EMOTIONS

Good movies and good copy always speak to your heart, not your head. The problem is that when most people sit down to write they go directly into their heads. They try to sound ‘intelligent.’ Whatever that means. The point is that they don’t write the way they speak. Their copy is cold and stiff. It doesn’t come close to their readers’ hearts. Since all buying decisions are emotionally based, head copy won’t get you the sale.

Always write your copy the way you would talk to a close friend over a cup of coffee.

HOOK ‘EM

A good movie grabs your attention immediately, not ten or fifteen minutes into the story. So does a good headline. It hooks the reader immediately. Here’s a simple yet powerful insight from legendary copywriter, Joe Sugarman. He says that your headline’s job is to make the person read the next sentence. So what’s the job for the next sentence? You got it. To get you to read the next one. and so on until you get to the end. Hey, that’s just like scenes in a movie.

There are many ways to create a headline with a strong hook. Here are a few suggestions. Ask a provocative question. Make a bold or shocking statement. Open with an irresistible teaser. For example, I might write, “They didn’t believe me when I said I’d be filthy rich in six months.” But remember. Never use questions, tease, or shock for their own sake. You’ve got to back up every statement you make.

SHOW DON’T TELL

Paint pictures with your words. Films are moving pictures. They are not moving words. Watch a good movie with the sound turned off. You’ll still be able to follow the story. The next time you see a good movie, recall it later. Complete scenes will pop into your head. You’ll see pictures before you hear words. You may even hear and feel the soundtrack.

Here’s a tip to help you tell picture stories. Always use your senses, all five of them. Write words that make people see, hear, smell, taste, and feel your story.

CREATE CONFLICT

Why would you create conflict when you want to sell people something? Because everyone experiences conflict. Because conflict sells. Because it is strong conflict that captures and holds you in a movie.

Would the Harry Potter movies have made so much money if Harry didn’t have to fight villains and overcome huge obstacles to achieve his goals? Of course not. No conflict. No story. Just a big yawn. Refund my money!

Pay attention to how movies use conflict to engage you. Then apply what you learn to copywriting. Here’s the basic conflict structure in all good sales copy.

  • Problem – After the writer grabs your attention with a strong headline, she will vividly introduce a BIG problem that you have and want to get rid of.
  • Battle – Next the writer describes how he fought against the obstacles (using language of the senses).
  • Solution – Then a key moment in the story – let’s call it a turning point – reveals the solution to the problem (of course, it is the product or service you are reading about).

That simple formula has been around for centuries. The Greek playwrights used it. Shakespeare used it. You must use it. It always works.

By the way, have you noticed how I use groups of three when I write? Hm. Maybe that’s a clue!

CALL TO ACTION

Remember “Braveheart?” Imagine if William Wallace arrived at the final battle and both armies put their weapons down and went home. Ridiculous, right? It is just as ridiculous to not use a strong call to action in your sales copy, but people do that all the time. You must become comfortable giving people a direct specific command at the end of your sales message. People want it; yes, they want to be led. Especially if they have followed your “story” until the end. Now, they want you to offer a resolution in the form of a product or service.

Please eliminate the word if from your call to action. If you are interested, blah, blah, blah…That is the language of indecision. Guaranteed to kill your sales. Confidently tell people to “Click the Buy button now.” You’ll feel great and earn money.

THE END

Though it’s bye for now, our story never ends. You can become a good, perhaps even great, copywriter. Just practice, practice, practice.  And make this fun. Watch a lot of movies. Different kinds of movie. Serious dramas. Comedies. Love Stories. Action flicks. Notice how they all use similar techniques to pull you into their world. Apply those techniques to your copywriting, and people will flock to your world with their credit cards in hand.

See you at the movies.


10 Responses to “Copywriting Secrets You’ll Discover At The Movies”

  1. Hola my man! Awesome phone call with you. I know we are onto some killer things and that we’re going to help a lot of people!

    You’re already helping people out with killer content like this, taking what they need to know and presenting it in a format that thinks outside the box. That’s what it’s all about!

    -Benjamin Jacques
    Timeline Domination

  2. Sticky says:

    Deep thought! Thanks for contritbuing.

  3. Liz Hanna says:

    Louis
    This is very valuable stuff for all kinds presenters, educators: anyone who is looking to get a message effectively.
    I shared it with a client this morning!
    Thanks
    L

  4. Louis,
    I really enjoyed this article. I have never thought of copywriting in this way = Movie Script.
    You are right on. Why not use the same methods they use in movies for our copywriting. I love movies so this will make my copywriting easier.
    Grazie,
    Maurice