Before you write anything, learn how to do this (it has nothing to do with selling OR writing):
In 1935, George Gribbin started with Young and Rubicam as a copywriter. In 1958 he was made President of the company, and then Chariman, a few years later.
Obviously over the course of his career, Gribben wrote LOTS of copy, but he’s most well-known for his ads for Arrow Shirts, Borden’s Milk, and Traveler’s Insurance.
Gribbin had some interesting and incisive thoughts about writing copy. In “The Art Of Writing Advertising,” (by Denis Higgins), Gribben said, “I think central to good writing… is a person who has developed an understanding of people, an insight into them, a sympathy towards them. I think that that develops more sharply when the writer has not had an easy adjustment to living.
…they themselves must have felt the need for understanding, the need for sympathy, and can therefore see that need in other people…
I do feel there is something of a remoteness from what motivates normal people if you’ve been brought up in a very rich and protected house. I see no advantage in poverty over a middle-class upbringing, but I seen an advantage in a middle-class upbringing over a rich one.”
What Gribbin’s talking about is your ability to feel empathy, to understand and put yourself in the shoes of your prospect, and to look at things from their eyes, first.
This is what’s going to allow you to write good copy, not being some sort of a hot-shot writer or something like that. You simply have to know what’s keeping people up at night — what makes them tick — in order to sell them something.
Otherwise, how can you know what they’ll respond to, and… what they won’t?
Get these things under your belt before you sit down and start thinking about headlines, offers or anything else like that. Once you understand what’s disturbing your prospect, the other moving parts of your sales messages, unfold naturally.
As to whether a privileged background inhibits your ability to be empathetic, I’m not sure I agree with Gribbin. I think I would have agreed with him when I was younger, but I’ve met so many different people from so many different backgrounds now, that what I’d say is, being sheltered from stress and the harsher realities of life, prevents you from having a sense of understanding of the common man. And this sense of understanding is mandatory, if you’re going to sell to the common man.
This doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with your income level. I’m not so sure “high income” and being sheltered go hand in hand, anymore than NASCAR and beer go hand in hand. Sometimes they match, others not so.
I’ve seen too many really screwed up filthy rich people, to buy into that assumption. People are people, and the common man, for the most part, is all of us.
Now go sell something, Craig Garber
P.S. Uncover all the secrets behind creating empathy, sympathy, and 45 other emotional buy-buttons at: http://www.kingofcopy.com/seductive
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