Do any copywriters borrow from other fields?

5 replies
I understand that the main goal of a sales pitch (normally) is to sell the offer. But before that, you need to keep the person reading... Wouldn't it be more along the lines of story-telling?

I've been reading up on screen-writing, and they have ways of structuring the story so that the reader/watcher is glued. There's pacing as well, dialogue as well. They even write accordingly to a "big idea" - what they call a theme. They condense their whole story into a single logline, which is probably the story's hook. I especially how how subtle their foreshadowing is in good screenplays - and how it all unravels in the end in an unexpected way, taking the person off-guard. It's almost like NLP in action.

What do you think about borrowing from movies for copywriting? Just curious. Used for "opening" the sale rather than the closing part (revealing, guarantees, bonuses etc), of course. Any examples of copywriters doing something similar?

- James
#borrow #copywriters #fields
  • I write fiction. I've been published in several literary magazines (both "high brow" and genre), and I'll be attending an MFA program in the fall.

    I could write a dozen posts on how writing fiction helps with writing copy.

    A few things:
    • Conflict. It'll keep your audience reading every time.
    • Characters (including the narrator) your audience can relate to.
    • No extra words. Every word serves a purpose, whether it's creating emotion in the reader, or just moving the story along.
    • Play to the senses.
    • Be detailed! The more detailed, the stronger the reality invoked.

    That's what came to mind just now. Maybe I'll see what else I can put together later.
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  • Profile picture of the author Andrew Gould
    Joe's thread in the stickies is good resource for storytelling for copy:

    http://www.warriorforum.com/copywrit...marketers.html
    Signature

    Andrew Gould

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  • Profile picture of the author gjabiz
    For many here copywriting is the end game, however, for many other people copywriting was a stepping stone.

    There are many Hollywood types who got their start in advertising and were copy writers...probably the best known, because he's got some books about copywriting, is Herschell Gordon Lewis, the godfather of direct marketing and gore.

    HGL went the Vin Montello route, from Hollywood to copywritng. So there is a lot of cross over skills and talents, mainly, in my opinion, because they require good stories.

    I'm a lousy classroom student, so college was not my cup of tea (except for classes to get my GRI)...but I'm a fervent autodidact, especially when it comes to human behavior, motivation and influence.

    Playwrights to astrologers, high priced escorts to panhandlers, Oscar winning writers to platform speakers...all have offered valuable lessons in psychology and persuasion.

    In another post I offered up the first 6 days of a 30 day plan to study the weapons of influence BEFORE a noob tries to write copy.

    So, here are areas which I consider to have progressed my own education down the tracks of my life...

    Plato- especially Rhetoric. Lajos Egri, Art of Dramatic Writing. ALL Joseph Campbell but especially the Hero with 1000 Faces and Linda Goodman, Sun Signs.

    I encourage people to join Toastmasters and complete the first level.

    Some justification as to how this may help you with copywriting.

    Copywriting is salesmanship. Salesmanship is the understanding of human behavior. Persuasion is the manipulation of behavior to a specific end.

    Campbell and Goodman offer VOCABULARY. Their work provides sketches of the "types" of people.

    A study of human "types" can be a rabbit hole, some with 16, others with just 4. Astrology offers 12 basic types of people with their inherent desires.

    Rhetoric is salesmanship in speech. "Friends, Romans and countrymen, lend me your ear." Dramatic writing is captivating, attention grabbing and when effective, just keeps us reading (don't you want to achieve that with your copy?). "It was the best of times. It was the worst of time."

    Also POETRY can be a valuable asset to your copywriting skills. Images, simile, metaphor, meter, voice...

    rhythm, repetition, rhyme,

    alliteration, assonance and allegory. All tools to communicate.

    And copywriting is nothing if it isn't COMMUNICATION.

    Poetry communicates and connects by evoking emotions. Does your copy?
    Rhetoric communicates by resonating with the listener. Does your copy?
    Drama communicates on a visceral level. Does your copy?

    So borrow from all areas of life, all disciplines, all human endeavors.
    "No man is an island..."

    gjabiz

    PS. Don't forget songwriting and music composition. READ some Paul Simon, Billy Joel, Jim Steinnman.
    Get lost in Bach, Beethoven or Brahms.

    Learn about hooks, bridges and chorus. Perhaps, music is the universal communication, so a study of WHY and HOW it makes us feel would be well worth your while.

    Originally Posted by James Fame View Post

    I understand that the main goal of a sales pitch (normally) is to sell the offer. But before that, you need to keep the person reading... Wouldn't it be more along the lines of story-telling?

    I've been reading up on screen-writing, and they have ways of structuring the story so that the reader/watcher is glued. There's pacing as well, dialogue as well. They even write accordingly to a "big idea" - what they call a theme. They condense their whole story into a single logline, which is probably the story's hook. I especially how how subtle their foreshadowing is in good screenplays - and how it all unravels in the end in an unexpected way, taking the person off-guard. It's almost like NLP in action.

    What do you think about borrowing from movies for copywriting? Just curious. Used for "opening" the sale rather than the closing part (revealing, guarantees, bonuses etc), of course. Any examples of copywriters doing something similar?

    - James
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    • Profile picture of the author James Fame
      @Benjamin:

      Nicely put. I like Chris Soth's explanation - "Tension" aka unresolved conflict keeps people reading. It's the battle between hope and fear.

      Somewhat like operant conditioning... The release of tension is the reward, while placing the tension is punishment. They too have the saying that drama is essentially conflict.

      @Andrew:

      A great resource, thanks!

      @Ross:

      Thanks! Great to know someone's successfully used screenwriting.

      @gjabiz:

      Joseph Campbell has some really great stuff there in his Monomyth structure! Picked up some really great gems in his work. But I think many Hollywood screenwriters have resorted to more vague points - such as 3-act, 4-act or even mini-movie structures.

      Very interesting point about astrology... But wouldn't that be more along the lines of "cold reading"? Something along these lines...

      "Many people tend to put on a brave mask on the outside, but they always have an interior side that they do not show behind the mask." Where you'd simply give both sides of the argument and the person would have to agree no matter what.

      Loved the point on dramatic writing... Alliteration and all. Will try out Toastmasters and songwriting.


      Thanks to all who gave their input.

      -James
      Signature

      Fire me a pm if you have a question. I build businesses and provide consulting. I do not do finance/money/internet marketing niches. Fitness, self-improvement and various others are welcome.

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