The following came out of working with a copywriter to improve her copy…
Fundamentally, she’s a good writer.
But she was falling into the same trap many copywriters fall into.
In fact, she was falling into the same trap I fell into many times early in my copywriting career.
She was trying to sell ALL the benefits of the product. Instead of focusing 100% on the core selling message.
“It slices, it dices… It’ll even pick your kids up from school, and fold your laundry!”
Okay, I jest.
But that’s about what was happening.
Now, I don’t want to make this essay about her. So I’m not going to even mention the product category it was in.
Rather, I want to focus on an epiphany I had when giving her feedback.
An analogy that I thought perfectly illustrated the point…
You’ll never have a Hollywood blockbuster with the entire cast playing leading roles.
What do I mean?
Well, think about your favorite movies.
How many leading parts are there?
In nearly every case, there’s only ONE leading role. Very occasionally, when the story demands it, there’s a duo or a romantic couple. Never more than that.
If there’s a central cast of characters, there’s still one standout.
(In fact, in many duos and romantic couples, the story still centers around one character.)
Despite the importance of Ron and Hermoine, Harry Potter is still about Harry.
Even with the importance of Samwise Gamgee and those who joined him on the quest, The Lord of the Rings was still the story of Frodo Baggins.
The latest Star Wars trilogy? As much of a role as the old cast of heroes plays, and as important as Kylo Ren and Finn are, it’s really Rey’s story.
Toy Story was about Buzz and Woody. But it was really Woody’s story.
And so on, and so on.
Imagine a movie where EVERYONE is competing to be the star.
It’d be too much. It would be hard to stick with. You wouldn’t know who to root for.
The reason movies focus on ONE hero’s story is that our mind likes to do that, too.
The hero’s journey isn’t called the heroes’ journey. It’s about ONE hero.
It’s natural to have a single point of focus. Splitting your focus creates confusion. It doesn’t work.
Think of your product’s #1 benefit as the star…
Any good story has a whole host of supporting roles.
Your product’s other benefits and uses? Give them a supporting role. Or even just a bit part.
But don’t try to make them ALL the star, because then, none of them will be.
Supporting roles can still be played to perfection. Supporting roles can still earn you an acceptance speech at the Oscars.
But nobody will win when the supporting cast tries to hog the spotlight.
There is only one leading role.
There’s only one star.
Use this in creating your selling messages…
What’s the single-most compelling benefit or result your prospects will get from your product or service?
What’s the #1 challenge you can help them overcome?
Where is the point of biggest impact that can be triggered to transform their lives completely?
Find that one thing.
Focus on it.
Use it as the centerpiece of your message.
Give it the starring role.
Everything else your product or service does, every other outcome it creates, is there to support the star.
And if their presence keeps the star off the screen for too long — or takes away too much of the star’s unique appeal — they’re fired.
Hire the right star, and your movie (aka your selling message) will be a hit…
“But what about ____________? I mean, this part of what the product does is so great. Shouldn’t I make sure to also feature…”
I’m afraid to start naming celebrities with all the scandals in Hollywood today.
But let’s just say you get Star #1 to be the lead in your film. Their contract says that they’ll only be in films where they have a leading role. And because they’re a reliable pull at the box office, they’re worth it.
Then, you decide you also want Star #2 in your film. But there’s a problem. Their contract also says they’ll only be in films where they have a leading role. And they’re also a great pull at the box office.
But what happens if you try to put both in your film? The whole thing blows up.
First off, you know you shouldn’t have done it in the first place — at least, it was right there in their contracts.
But second, because they both are “leading role” stars, they’re constantly jockeying for the top spot. So instead of letting one of them really have the spotlight and do what they do best, there’s incessant fighting and backstabbing of each star’s star power.
If you even make it through production, the problems will be apparent to moviegoers everywhere. They simply won’t like your film. And you’ll have a flop on your hands.
The same thing happens when you try to have too many stars in your selling message…
It just doesn’t work. It doesn’t pan out. No matter how hard you try, if you don’t give one benefit the leading role, you’ll end up with a jumbled mess.
Even if you manage to capture prospects’ attention out of the gate, it’ll be too hard to follow. And too hard to care.
They won’t stick with your pitch.
And again, you’ll have a flop on your hands.
Don’t do that.
Instead, find the ONE big idea, tied to ONE big benefit or core promise, and make that your star.
When I finally figured out how to do that, the results I was able to create with my copywriting and selling messages skyrocketed.
My latest thinking on this is encompassed in High-Velocity Copywriting (and the supplemental templates training) available right now through the BTMSinsiders training library.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,