A metaphor which may help copywriters.

by gjabiz 27 replies
It may not. And it may open up a conversation on salemanship. persuasion and MANIPULATION...

There was a toy when I was a kid. It was a picture of a bald headed man inside a plastic case. There were iron filings on the bottom.

Attached to the side was a magnetic pen. It was a magnet in the shape of a pen.

YOU could manipulate the iron filings from beneath the board. You could give the guy a beard, a mustache and as much hair as you wanted.

NOW for copywriting.

Your copy, be it on a screen, in a paper or magazine or other media...

is your attempt to move the iron filings with a magnet.

OK. How about this...

Your visitor/reader has just stepped onto your giant field. They have iron shoes on, you turn on the magnet, and they go where you want them to.

Another TOY from long ago...the vibrating football field. The players had Scotch tape like feet and when the field vibrated, they moved.

You are in control of MANIPULATING your reader to follow the path to your goal line...and IF it is also their goal line...touchdown.

You can take control of someone's thoughts, be it for a few seconds, or in some cases, for a lifetime...if you start out to do so.

The copywriters using NLP technique are certainly manipulating their readers...they have taken contol, like a Rod Serling...and have caused the reader to enter their own Twilight Zone.

Then, at the end of the show, presumably, the control is returned to the viewer/reader/prospect.

Take control of the MAGNET and ask yourself what you want the iron filings to do...what do you want that bald headed guy to look like when YOU are finished with him.

This may (or may not) give a couple of you a lightbulb moment.

gjabiz

PS. Can't tell you why this metaphor popped into my head. I was just reading a Vin Montello post when, WHAMO...which is another toy to be discussed at a future time.
#copywriting #copywriters #metaphor
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  • Profile picture of the author Harlan
    Originally Posted by gjabiz View Post

    The copywriters using NLP technique are certainly manipulating their readers...they have taken contol, like a Rod Serling...and have caused the reader to enter their own Twilight Zone.
    I think you misunderstand NLP.

    NLP used for manipulation in copy comes off so un-elegantly it's like waving a flag at the reader and saying,

    "Look I'm manipulating you."

    I see it all the time.

    BUY NOW you are probably wondering how you can get your hands on my secrets. And BUY the time you do, you'll be amazed how quickly they worked, didn't you.

    People who use NLP to manipulate are costing themselves and their clients a lot of money.

    Some of the top A list copywriters use NLP and I assure you when they write for the big mailers, manipulating the reader is the last thing on their mind.

    The reader/potential client is to be treasured and protected and guided step by step to the logical conclusion.

    Are you ready to BUY NOW?

    I didn't think so.

    Peace
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    Harlan D. Kilstein Ed.D.
    Free NLP Communications Course at http://www.nlpcopywriting.com
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    • Profile picture of the author CopyMonster
      Harlan,

      Just curious... what part of "using NLP technique" specifically means the embedded command?

      Maybe Gordon's connection of the use of NLP with manipulation got you started in that direction. I don't know.

      Anyway, thinking about that for a second, isn't it an interesting example of a click-whirr in action? Person seemingly "attacks" belief. Another stands up to defend it.

      Ahhhh... the wonderful world of changing minds. And as copywriters, isn't that what the job is all about? Presenting a sequence of words and ideas that lead to some altered perspective, some desired action.

      On the subject of NLP techniques, I think promoters of NLP as a magic bullet have to wear much for the schtick about cheap tricks aka the embedded command. Anyone that dares to go deeper into the subject, will begin to see the real power and impact you can have with NLP. What's more, the more you use it, the more you'll enjoy the rewards of effective copy, and the more you begin to enjoy life.

      Sure, some very good copywriters don't know a presupposition from a frame, but nevertheless they use them. NLP is merely a modeling technology. It began as a therapeutic tool - getting people to change behavior. In the context of persuasion/influence, not all of it translates well to the written word.

      On the subject of manipulation, some see it as a dirty word, while others see it as opportunity. A copywriter's job if you really think about it is actually to MANIPULATE...In fact,

      great copywriters are master manipulators...

      They are highly skilled at manipulating WORDS that channel desire, establish belief, and ultimately lead to action.

      Nothing new there.

      Actually, that's a good example of the emotional anchor attached to the word manipulate. With tools and resources and even parts of people (back, neck), fine. With people, bad (go to jail, do not pass go, do not collect $200 - thanks Bernie M).

      Ultimately, copywriters, writers and all effective communicators have to recognise, understand, and leverage these patterns and anchors to achieve their goals. Simple as that.

      At the end of the day, I know some people have a strong dislike for NLP and anything related and that's fine. For me, I just like to find and leverage stuff that works... NLP, AIDA, metaphor, pink elephants... whatever, bring it.

      CM
      Signature
      Scary good...
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    • Profile picture of the author Don Schenk
      Originally Posted by Harlan View Post

      BUY NOW you are probably wondering how you can get your hands on my secrets. And BUY the time you do, you'll be amazed how quickly they worked, didn't you.
      How many didn't notice that?

      The first time through I thought Harlan made a spelling error followed by an incorrect use of tense, but it was all intentional.

      I wonder if people reading that in a sales page would think it was an error, or would miss it completely on a conscious level.

      :-Don
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      • Profile picture of the author Mark Andrews
        Banned
        Originally Posted by Don Schenk View Post

        How many didn't notice that?

        The first time through I thought Harlan made a spelling error followed by an incorrect use of tense, but it was all intentional.

        I wonder if people reading that in a sales page would think it was an error, or would miss it completely on a conscious level.

        :-Don
        This is common place.

        What the corporations are doing or attempting to do is to talk to the unconscious mind whilst switching off the conscious part of the mind to embed, implant the buy command (in this case by way of illustration) into the subconscious.

        For example, large companies do this very often only you don't notice it. It's designed precisely like this so you don't notice it. See what I mean?...

        ...do You Want Fries with that sir?
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  • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
    Originally Posted by gjabiz View Post

    You are in control of MANIPULATING your reader to follow the path to your goal line...and IF it is also their goal line...touchdown.

    You can take control of someone's thoughts, be it for a few seconds, or in some cases, for a lifetime...if you start out to do so.
    Gordon,

    Most people think of manipulation as: "to control or play upon by artful, unfair, or insidious means especially to one's own advantage" (www.merriam-webster.com).

    Is that the meaning you intended?

    Alex
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    • Profile picture of the author gjabiz
      Originally Posted by Alex Cohen View Post

      Gordon,

      Most people think of manipulation as: "to control or play upon by artful, unfair, or insidious means especially to one's own advantage" (Dictionary and Thesaurus - Merriam-Webster Online).

      Is that the meaning you intended?

      Alex
      Really? MOST people? HMM...I didn't know.


      manipulate (məˈnɪpjʊˌleɪt)
      — vb
      1.

      ( tr ) to handle or use, esp with some skill, in a process or action: to manipulate a pair of scissors

      2.

      to negotiate, control, or influence (something or someone) cleverly, skilfully, or deviously

      From the dictionary.reference.com site. There are many other definitions, but I think "to negotiate, CONTROL, OR INFLUENCE someone cleverly, SKILLFULLY"... is more what I had in mind...but there are some devious users too.

      HMM. Where do you locate where most people think? That is a site I'd like to visit and try to keep myself within the bell curve of the largest percentage.

      gjabiz
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      • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
        Originally Posted by gjabiz View Post

        From the dictionary.reference.com site. There are many other definitions, but I think "to negotiate, CONTROL, OR INFLUENCE someone cleverly, SKILLFULLY"... is more what I had in mind...but there are some devious users too.
        Thanks for the clarification... when a word has multiple meanings, it's good to be clear.

        Alex
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        • Profile picture of the author gjabiz
          Originally Posted by Alex Cohen View Post

          Thanks for the clarification... when a word has multiple meanings, it's good to be clear.

          Alex
          You are right. But clarity gets a little murky for me...

          Connotation vs Denotation.

          Implication vs Inference.

          When presenting to those schooled in advanced weapons of influence, like NLP, how best does one go about it...

          via CLARIFICATION?

          Or just push a few buttons? I wonder what MOST would do?

          gjabiz
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          • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
            Originally Posted by gjabiz View Post

            You are right. But clarity gets a little murky for me...

            Connotation vs Denotation.

            Implication vs Inference.

            When presenting to those schooled in advanced weapons of influence, like NLP, how best does one go about it...

            via CLARIFICATION?

            Or just push a few buttons? I wonder what MOST would do?

            gjabiz
            My observation? Every marketer/copywriter draws "the line" in a different place. Some could care less about the prospect and will do or say anything they can get away with to get the sale. Others care to a fault. MOST are in between somewhere.

            Alex
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          • Profile picture of the author Web Writer
            Originally Posted by Ken_Caudill View Post

            When presenting to those schooled in advanced weapons of influence, like NLP, I usually grin and say what I have to say.

            It usually works out pretty well.
            I love that!

            I've struggled a lot with the whole manipulation question. I don't like to manipulate people (using the word in the sense that you're convincing someone to do something in your best interests that is not also in their best interests.)

            I prefer transparent persuasion. If it's not a win-win when the prospect places an order, then it's not a good long-term deal.
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  • Originally Posted by Ken_Caudill View Post

    NLP is so 2010. I've gone into direct telepathic manipulation based upon secret Russian psi reports and recent info the CIA was forced to cough up via the Freedom of Information Act.

    No need to comment on this post. I already know what you're thinking.
    I was thinking NLP is so 1980's...:rolleyes:
    (but I'm wearing a tinfoil hat so you can't hear me...)
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    • Profile picture of the author CopyMonster
      Originally Posted by Ken_Caudill View Post

      Thanks - good laugh.

      Reminds me of a story a friend shared a while back...

      Two young kids go to the same school. One little guy is always experimenting with ways to make life easier, like getting the teacher on side, getting other kids on side, ways of getting good grades. Sometimes it worked out, many times it didn't. Each and every time, the other little guy sees what he's doing and pokes fun at him. Always. It's HIS entertainment. The first kid catches the jibes, shrugs and laughs along.

      Fast forward 20 years. After not seeing each other for years, the two kids (now young adults) bump into each other again and realize who the other is. The first kid is still the same, experimenting with ways to make life easier, playing, learning, advancing. The second kid sees that and begins the jibes again. The first kid again catches it and laughs. Nothing new right? Not much except the first kid has already earned his first million and is listed in the top 10 people to watch under 25 in the country while the second kid works at the local coffee shop for minimum wage and lives at home with his parents.

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      Scary good...
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    • Profile picture of the author MLDerk
      Originally Posted by MoneyMagnetMagnate View Post

      I was thinking NLP is so 1980's...:rolleyes:
      (but I'm wearing a tinfoil hat so you can't hear me...)
      I was a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in the late 1980s and 1990s, and NLP was getting quite popular as a counseling approach for many counselors. The hope was that many psychological problems that usually took multiple sessions with other theoretical approaches would be solved in one session with NLP. Unfortunately it didn't pan out as hoped.

      I wonder if using it as a copywriting approach won't have the same end?

      (Forgive me for such a broad comment. I am not a copywriter, I just do research for copywriters, so you should probably take that into consideration when you look at my comment.)
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      • Originally Posted by MLDerk View Post

        I was a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in the late 1980s and 1990s, and NLP was getting quite popular as a counseling approach for many counselors. The hope was that many psychological problems that usually took multiple sessions with other theoretical approaches would be solved in one session with NLP. Unfortunately it didn't pan out as hoped.

        I wonder if using it as a copywriting approach won't have the same end?

        (Forgive me for such a broad comment. I am not a copywriter, I just do research for copywriters, so you should probably take that into consideration when you look at my comment.)
        I'm just a layman... I just wonder how NLP could be effectively applied to the written word. It would be a delicate craft of words, more than just putting some words in bold print. Though just simply doing that might work for some readers, it seems to me to be a better technique for hearing rather than reading. I guess I see NLP as a more aural than visual image tool.

        However, I can negate my own statements above when I know simply putting "buy now" and emotional triggers in the right copy context works - but is that NLP? Is that a blanket term now for anything persuasive? To me, the difference between persuasion and manipulation, is the same as the difference between assertive and aggressive, - it is the degree of subliminal finesse.

        I was doing a bit of left/right brain theory for marketing back in the 80's, so I did see some of those applications of NLP. It just seems some techniques have different impressions on different people. I used to see people like Tony Robbins utilize it - he still does, others just did similar without calling it NLP. Sales mentor Zig Ziglar always used to say points he wanted to get across twice to drive home the idea.
        I saw a video of Robbins in a seminar recently, break a woman's train of thought with an outrageously direct question...it took me by surprise (everyone in the audience too!) - but it worked. I have tried the same thing with some success before - though not that "direct" (glad I had that tinfoil hat!)

        I mean, you can write prose that can be immortalized...
        Or you can write... "Head On - Apply it Directly to Your Forehead!"
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  • Profile picture of the author HeySal
    "Manipulation" works only to the extent that it is obscure. As soon as a person sees what is being done, they are gone - for good.

    You don't need NLP to manipulate someone's thinking. NLP is a misnomer for Neuro-Linguistic REprograming and should be NLR instead. Your programming starts the day you are born.

    I got my degree in this subject. Most of what people think of as conscious thought is actually thought that takes a consciously noted idea, sticks it in a workstation where all sorts of linguistic memory coding is brought up, matched, used to give us a "conscious idea" that actually bears much of what is already pre-dispositioned in the subconscious mind.

    If you want to "manipulate" people's thinking - all you have to do is learn how to figure out the subconscious coding systems - which is possible on a social level. Your target audience will give all sorts of clues.

    I wrote a crash course on this stuff for people who have the idea that working on the "NLP" level is what it's all about. It's not -- you want to go to the natural instinctual level on which people are originally and instinctually programmed. NLP is just a device for reprogramming yourself after being sufficiently f**ked up from the orginal mindsets.
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  • Profile picture of the author HeySal
    Pete - everything anyone says has subconscious triggers coded into it.

    I use this example to show this - because it's a simple one to see what goes on:

    She's a working girl.
    She's a career woman.

    Same woman?
    It is the same woman, described first by someone who has, and is conveying a low opinion of her. She sounds uneducated, perhaps a little immature, not of a high stature.
    In the second sentence, the person describing her has, and is conveying, a higher opinion of her. She seems educated, independent, capable, mature.

    The person listening to each of these sentences will have a first opinion of that woman that is subconsciously shaped by the description given. Their opinion might change either way after meeting and talking to the woman, but the opinion will be shaped at least fundamentally by what they just heard about her.

    Language codes work at a very subconscious level and are tied to instincts. That is why there are connotations tied to words as well as denotations.
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    Sal
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    • Profile picture of the author Mark Andrews
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      You're talking to the already converted Heysal.

      I know what it is. At a fairly deep level.

      I've been involved in the business for some 30 years.

      Genuine question or two for you...

      If you understand it as you claim, why are you not a copywriter?

      Why do you write PLR only and offer only content?

      Best,


      Pete Walker
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  • Profile picture of the author HeySal
    Pete - it's real simple.

    I hate marketing.

    I write reports and if I don't get around to marketing them, I just stick them in the WSO forum to make it worth my time for having written them. That way I don't have to do a lot of sales pages and linking, advertising and all the crapola that makes my life absolutely miserable. I did write an honest to goodness salespage, though. Wanna see it?

    Sals Secrets Revealed

    Now - if someone wants me to write reports or an ebook on a subject that I really get a charge out of, I do that. Or if I write an ebook and someone wants to JV and market it for me, I will consider that if I know the person well enough. I just stick it on RAP and do a % on sales.

    If someone had a product in a genre (niche) that I actually give a **** about - I will actually write the copy. I just don't do IM. I don't like it, and I don't have to. So there. :p
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    • Profile picture of the author writeandreview
      Linguistics is a fantastic scientific field. The study of thoughts and the labels and symbols we use to represent and express those thoughts -- fabulous. (And that's just the tip of the iceberg.)

      All writers are linguistic technicians. When you write "Listen, ... " or "Frankly, ..." or any of the common phrases used to give pause or resonance to your words, you're using patterns that rely on a person's understanding of the world around him in the form of words (labels for thoughts and emotions).

      (You're swipe file is loaded with linguistic patterns that have worked in the past.)

      There's some interesting work in NLP. The patterns NLP practitioners use are real, however, it's not a one-size-fits-all solution precisely because each of us thinks about things differently based on education, emotional experience, environment, etc ...

      However, there are commonalities. If I write the phrase, "Debbie entered the barn.", if you've seen a barn at your grandfather's house or during a particularly memorable ride in the countryside, you'll likely think of that barn -- color, smell, etc ..

      But if I write,

      "Debbie caught the heel of her five inch stiletto on a broken board as she entered the old red barn."

      "Debbie ran into the big red barn and her nostrils flared as she sucked in the smell of fresh paint."

      "Debbie's giant, pig-like nostrils flared at the mixed smells of fresh green paint and sour manure."

      ... you'll think and "see" different barns.

      I'll admit to being a linguist dilettante. But the field of linguistics and its disciplines are fascinating. NLP is a single facet of a much, much larger field. HeySal explains it a bit more eloquently and eruditely than I.
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    • Profile picture of the author Mark Andrews
      Banned
      Originally Posted by HeySal View Post

      Pete - it's real simple.

      I hate marketing.
      Even simpler Heysal...

      If you hate marketing, you'll never make a copywriter. Copywriting and marketing go hand in hand. You cannot have one without the other.

      Which is why I'm surprised you felt the need to question my post above for blatantly by your own admission, you're not a copywriter.

      If you were, you'd be into marketing and would really know all about persuasion triggers and the rest of it. Obviously not. Hence my reply.

      Capiche?


      Mark Andrews
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  • Profile picture of the author HeySal
    Yeah Pete. I understand it. (both you and the field). Just explaining that I know how -- I just don't like it. Can't see spending a life doing something I don't enjoy.

    I can see your interest though. It can be like a game to string stuff together in a way that works. If you like marketing, it's probably a killer fun way to make a living.

    As far as copywriting goes - I don't mind editing, but it drives me completely nuts to sit down and actually write a salespage. I always want to be somewhere else doing something else, so I do my own pages if I need to and otherwise just write content or edit. I don't mind editing at all.

    Now - knowing how much you like copywriting.........do you get the same enjoyment out of writing a long report or an ebook, or do you just enjoy writing copy?
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    • Profile picture of the author Mark Andrews
      Banned
      I enjoy writing - period.

      Doesn't matter what is. Whether it's sales copy or my latest fiction work. I just love writing. Full stop.
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