I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently…
It’s inspired by a private webinar I attended with Henry Bingaman and Marcella Allison. In it, they broke down the creative process behind a promo Marcella wrote and Henry copy-chiefed.
One of the ideas they threw out there was that they wanted to build this promo around the idea that they were offering a new way to make money from a certain segment of the stock market.
It was a nice reminder.
The rational part of our brain might want a better, or safer, or more proven way to make money.
But there’s something our emotional brain really loves about the NEW.
And so the better you can position your product or service as offering something new, the more likely you will be to generate response.
NEW isn’t new — but it still works…
Tested Advertising Methods by John Caples was one of the first books I bought on copywriting.
If you haven’t read it, you should. And it’s not just me who thinks that. Gary Bencivenga — who worked in the same agency as Caples early in his career — says that you shouldn’t be a copywriter without being able to cite the specific test results Caples uses to teach.
Chapter 5 of Tested Advertising Methods is titled “Thirty-five Proven Formulas for Writing Headlines and Direct Mail Teasers.”
And nearly 25% of his headline formulas are meant to give the impression of something being new or news.
— Begin Your Headline with the Word “Introducing”
— Begin Your Headline with the Word “Announcing”
— Use Words that Have an Announcement Quality (Finally, Presenting, Just Released, etc)
— Begin Your Headline With the Word “New”
— Begin Your Headline With the Word “Now”
— Begin Your Headlines With the Words “At Last”
— Put a Date Into Your Headline
— Write Your Headline In News Style
How about this?
“A brand-new way to make money…”
Now, I’ve written before and I’ll write again that I’m NOT a fan of formulas.
Who else wants to make their copy sound like everybody else’s?
But I am a fan of studying the principles and psychology behind the formulas. Internalizing them. Making them a part of how I think.
And then, from there, writing whatever headline comes to mind. Inspired by the formula, not copying it.
Not only that, understanding the psychology and principles allows you to do something even more powerful. It allows you to build your whole message around the idea. Rather than simply copying a headline formula and not knowing what to do next.
So, using the example from above, you could write the headline “A brand-new way to make money…” And then you could write a promo that’s only tangentially related. And it might do okay because the headline did a great job of getting attention and framing the rest of the message.
Or, you could go deeper.
You could go much, much deeper. You could do what Marcella did, and NOT write anything like that in the headline. Instead of making “A new way to” into the headline, you could actually make the headline shine the spotlight on this new thing.
Show, don’t tell.
That’s what the news actually does. The news doesn’t use 8 different headline formulas to make the news feel like news. The news knows they are the news, and so they share the news.
You can do that, too.
And then you incorporate this feeling of sharing something new — the news — with your readers (or listeners, or viewers) all throughout. Sure, at some point you may actually say, “This is actually a brand-new way to…” and be that direct. But in treating the whole thing like news, you are tapping into a powerful communication methodology.
Everything old is new again…
And here I will remind you that your product or service itself does not necessarily have to be brand-new to treat it like something new. In most cases, what you’re offering is new to your engaged prospects. If it didn’t feel new, they wouldn’t be engaged.
So find a way to make your product or service look or feel like a new opportunity.
Find a way to repackage and productize it, to justify presenting it as novel.
Or, perhaps, offer a bonus of some sorts that is new, as an enticement to buy the same old product or service.
This is part of what the highest-paid financial direct response writers do.
For the most part, we’re never selling anything new. You’re investing in stocks or bonds, ETFs, mutual funds, or options — with a few other trading vehicles thrown in.
And it’s rare there’s truly a new market — crypto and cannabis being the two recent exceptions, with notably huge bull markets hitting in both as they entered the market.
But there are a thousand ways to neologize your product — using the term Mark Ford (aka Michael Masterson) favors.
That is, give a new name to an old opportunity or phenomenon, in order to create something new from it.
This is what Marcella did. This is what happens in so many great financial promos — especially those that hinge on a secret or system approach.
They offer a new way to make money. If not new, somehow hidden before but new to the public. And because it’s new, you can get it nowhere else besides responding to that promo.
The USP is built-in. Competition is irrelevant. If you’re interested, you have to buy. And you probably are interested, because your emotions are going haywire over this new opportunity.
So, you want a brand-new way to make money? Use NEW more to drive your marketing messages. Breakthroughs will commence.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,