4 Pillars Of Winning Copy

by | Jun 23, 2016 | Actionable SEO Tips, Email Marketing, PPC

by Catherine Flannery, AIM Baltimore.

PERSUASION winning copy As anyone who has worked for Agora for any length of time knows, copy is king. So in today’s article, we’re going to talk about how to create strong, persuasive copy. I’m borrowing from the playbook of one of the Agora greats – Dan Denning – and his ‘4 Pillars Of Persuasion’. Follow these, and you’re on the road to winning copy.

Pillar #1: Idea
We need big ideas — but not mainstream ideas. Think of the space where we (Agora) typically want to be — on the edges of the long-tail, out on the fringe, far away from the mainstream where everyone else is. These ideas are very hard to come by, which is why they’re so valuable.

This is how we create value for our readers – by providing information, opinions and perspective that they won’t find anywhere else. We’re looking to disrupt, grab attention, and hold it. And we do this using shock, fear, greed, intrigue, etc., as these winning, big idea headlines demonstrate:

  • The Plague of the Black Debt
  • Pee Like A Racehorse
  • The End Of America
  • Tomorrow’s Cancer Cures Today

Pillar #2: Benefits
What’s in it for me? It’s as simple as that. Our readers are trying to find out how to solve their problem, whatever that may be — how to save their money from the government, pay less taxes, earn greater returns, live a healthier life, start their own business, etc.

Whatever your franchise, the benefits of it should be ultra-clear and ultra-specific in your promotional copy. What exactly will you do to help readers achieve their goals? Give them specific steps, guidance, and manage their expectations. How quickly will it happen? It doesn’t have to be immediate; it could be a slow build, but it should be clear. How are you different from your competitors? What makes your product better? What is your value point? You don’t have to be the cheapest, but let people know if you are. If you’re expensive, explain why…what extra value and benefits will they get from your premium product? And don’t be afraid to charge more. These long-tail ideas are valuable and the price should reflect the inherent value.

Pillar #3: Credibility
Why should our readers believe us? We’re competing for attention among countless other voices out there. It’s critical to explain to readers why they should listen to us and not the mainstream media, or other experts or gurus. What makes us special? What authority do we have? What are our opinions based on? Credentials should be used early and often. This can be done in the form of industry leaders, gurus, advisory boards, educational degrees, board certifications (licensed investment advisor or medical doctor), years of experience in the industry, or some combination of these. For example, Dr. Glenn Rothfeld, M.D., was named “…a fellow at Harvard University’s prestigious Channing Laboratory, and developed one of America’s first courses on alternative health for world-class Tufts University.” Investment guru Doug Casey is a best-selling author and featured guest on hundreds of TV and radio shows.

And what’s the best technique to help bolster credentials? You guessed it…

Pillar #4: Track Record
It’s all well and good to talk about how many programs Doug Casey has appeared on, or how smart Dr. Rothfeld is. You need to show exactly how good, smart, successful – i.e. credible — your expert is by showcasing their track record. Dr. Rothfeld has been helping his patients overcome their illnesses for over 35 years. He operates the Rothfeld Center for Integrative Medicine where he helps patients conquer the true underlying causes of diabetes, cancer, etc. Doug Casey’s Premier Portfolio has outperformed all major market indices for the past 10 years, averaging annual returns of 187%. Now that will make people sit up and pay attention! (I’m making these numbers up, but you get the idea.) Not only are these people authorities, they’re really good at what they do.

These concepts apply not just to promotional copy, but to all copy – from search engine ad copy, to Facebook posts to website articles. Each of the 4 pillars builds on the next. And together, they add up to a winning promotional copy.

Need help with copy, or any other direct response tactics? Feel free to get in touch with me, and don’t forget to like the AIM Facebook page, for more direct response tips and techniques

Signature Catherine
Catherine Flannery,
Account Manager, AIM.
P.S. If you’d enjoyed this article, you’ll be interested in Scotti’s tips on becoming a better direct-response copywriter.