Solving Impossible Copywriting Mysteries
Anyone can use cheap knock-off, copy-cat headline. The top pro’s use only one universal solvent for each and every copywriting puzzle.
Eugene Schwartz laid out that solution, starting in his “Breakthrough Advertising” Introduction with the following points:
Every new market – every new product – every new advertisement is a fresh new problem that never existed before on the face of this earth.
The correct solution, the right headline, the perfect ad – all lie buried in the problem itself.
But that solution can be sprung to the surface by asking the right questions.
That solution comprises the first part of your ad – its headline.
The remainder of that ad is presented in the body copy, and is built out of your research notes from finding that solution.
One cannot do its work without the other. Both are vital.
Schwartz’ book lays out his general prescription for asking and resolving these copywriting problems.
And despite how great that book is, it’s just the tip of the iceberg.
So this field guide.
The mastery of Schwartz’ materials lies in understanding them thoroughly.
Because no one else in all of advertising has covered even half of his materials.
The underlying trick is in knowing what the “right questions” are.
Schwartz’ material is dense. And the “great” copywriters have spent a lifetime of trial-and-error to discover a personal version of them on their own.
That trick is stated within the goal of the the copywriter, where they only work to “take the hopes, dreams, fears and desires that already exist in the hearts of millions of people, and focus those already existing desires onto a particular product.”
First Action – Selecting A Mass Desire
What is a Mass Desire? It is the public spread of a private want.
The effectiveness of any ad copy doesn’t come from the words used – it comes from the single mass desire that is attached and honed to a thirsty demand through the headline and copy of that ad.
Where this becomes interesting and profitable to marketers and copywriters is the point where a significant number of people share a private desire – significant enough numbers to pay for development, promotion, and distribution of a product which fulfills that desire. That is when a market is born.
Again, separate the market from the marketplace – like the ancient bazaars and their modern equivalent. Every individual has private wants. When these coalesce into a common, public spread – only then we have a mass desire.
Since mass desires are shared by thousands to millions to tens of millions of people, they can take years to develop. Those desires are created by social, economic, and technological forces. Promoting and marketing can then tap and amplify every dollar spent into fifty or even five thousand.
Of course, that Amplification Effect can only take place when advertising exploits an already-existing mass desire.
What Creates Any Mass Desire?
Schwartz narrowed their creation to two forces: Permanent forces and forces of Change.
Permanent Forces are derived from
a) Mass Instinct – like health, attractiveness, virility. These desires are timeless, built-in to the human experience. The only changes you notice are in the various products made available and how they are tuned-in to those desires.
b) a Mass Technological Problem, which is resolution to the new problems that our evolving technologies work to resolve. People can have various gizmo’s and machines and foods and medicines in their lives, each by their own choice, in order to make their lives longer or easier.
These two forces are ever-present, and as old as the history of our species.
Forces of Change – essentially “Styles”.
a) These are Trends that start up, increase, stabilize, and gradually decline or restart. These are mercurial and have to be tracked with regular attention and study.
b) They are reinforced by Mass Education – schools, movies, radio, TV, and also the mass volumes and quality of advertising itself. Education is composed of forces that are beyond any available advertising budget to create on its own. Again, advertising can only effectively tap into already existing specific desires.
Those two forces are named or implied in the headline. Then the body copy narrows and tunes the approach.
To tap into mass desires, to make the most effective headlines and body copy, you have to analyze the specific product you are offering and discover its claims.
Three Dimensions of Any Mass Desire’s Power
Every mass desire has three dimensions:
Urgency, intensity, demand for satisfaction.
Staying power, degree of repetition, inability to be satiated.
Scope – the number of people who share this desire.
While any product will have several desires that it can be attached to, only the dominant one will produce the largest possible return for the advertising dollar.
And while you might at first only want to target a small subset of the possible prospects for this product – a “splinter market” – the steps of researching your product to extract the claims and then selecting your mass desire are needed in every case.