I don’t watch TV.
Not because I don’t like it but because I love it. It sucks me in.
Particularly Trashy TV shows.
Trash TV is pure brilliance especially when it comes to persuading their audience to tune in, stay tuned in, tell their friends and come back again.
Because TV gives fans exactly what they want.
Now granted, watching Celebrity Apprentice or Jersey Shore or some other popular show, probably isn’t going to have a positive impact on someone’s life past the point of pure entertainment. But your product or business probably will.
So how can you learn lessons from trash TV to promote your business so that your customer’s life can be radically transformed for the better?
Give Them A Story
Watch any clip or trailer for a reality program and you’re going to see action. You’re going to see people on the move, people making arrangements, people getting ready for an event or a party.
What you’re not going to see is an hour of the pretty administrative assistant typing notes and filing her nails. People would get bored and tune out.
This is because we like stories and we like something to happen. When I was studying screenwriting, one of the measurements of a good story was how much things changed. Evolving characters, new scenery and thickening plots were all key to keeping your reader engaged.
So when you’re writing your content or your sales copy, what story is taking place? Is it a personal story of what you’ve achieved? The story of a client you helped? Or the story that might take place in your customer’s life should they choose to accept the adventure of working with you?
Whether you offer accounting, marketing, web design or coaching, you have a story that can capture your customer’s attention. Tell that story.
Give Them Emotions
Crying, bawling, screaming, yelling, hugs, tears of joy, sadness. You’re very likely to experience that in just one episode of The Hills.
And it gets people’s attention. We can’t believe people act like this, or perhaps we empathise. Either way, we are drawn in and hooked.
So do you have to use multiple exclamation marks and CAPS lock in your copy to get people’s attention? No (please don’t).
But you can get your customer’s attention by writing about the frustration they have in their life, the stress, the pain, the isolation, the worry, the sleepless nights, the tension, the aches, the discomfort…
And then you can talk about the joy of relief, of peace, of clarity, the focus, the calm, the new found vision, renewed energy and greater capacity to love and be at one with themselves.
Write about the emotions your customers experience before and after you do what you do and you’ll increase their interest in your company far more than if you just say what it is you do.
Make It Snappy
Scenes are short in these programs and that’s what makes it so easy to get sucked in. you promise yourself just 5 minutes, but then you’re onto the next scene, the next drama, the next big revelation. Soon it’s 3 hours gone and you’re surrounded by empty snack packets and covered in crumbs.
That’s not to say your copy should be short, it needs to be as long as it needs to be. But you will want to break it up. Subheadings, bullet points and short paragraphs basically say to your customer:
“Hey, I know you’re busy, just read this little snippet, it will only take a second”
And then POW! Before they know it, they’re on to the next great selling point and the next.
You know if you watch a trailer for a trashy TV show you’re not going to find out everything right? Of course not, you’re going to have questions like:
“And will Jason take Tiffany-Ann to the prom after he discovers what she did on Friday…”
“Finally, Tom speaks his mind to Sophie, but will it be what she wants to hear?”
You can do the same in your copy and your content marketing with phrase such as:
- Keep reading to discover how a work at home mom managed to run her business in just 2 hours a day
- Come back on Wednesday where you’ll find the next in our series of web marketing tips for lawyers
- Sign up to get the exclusive copywriting secrets you can put to work in your business in minutes…
Forget Quality (For A Second) Find Your Passion
By quality, I don’t mean that you shouldn’t have a quality product or service. Of course you should (and I’m certain you do). But I want you to stop getting hung up on being the best Whatchamacallit in the market today.
Trash TV programs have very little quality in terms of substance, but they know exactly what their market wants and they deliver it…with passion.
Look at X-factor. Are they the best singers? No. Do they give the audience the drama and fairy tale escapism that they want? You betcha.
So if you know you can help small businesses rock their accounts with minimum fuss, forget the fact that there are 2 other accountants in your village who are more experienced. Remember the transformation you have on your customer’s life and go out there and tell people what you do with passion.
Chances are, if you have a website and you use these copywriting techniques, it will set you apart from a lot of your competitors anyway.
So, don’t dismiss trash TV as trash. If it works by capturing people’s attention, keeping them engaged and keeping them coming back, there are certainly lessons you can learn!
P.S. My own little suspense trick? Come back Wednesday where I’ll be revealing the details of my next not-so-secret , secret project designed for your enjoyment!
Constantin Gabor says
And here I am sucked in by a copywriting master. 🙂 You did your job, Amy!
Some of your advice works for videos as well – I like doing short outdoor videos by which I tell stories (my own outdoor escapades) and I find your advice to apply pretty well to that as well.
Hi Stan, great to have you here!
Short snappy sentences are critical to strong copy. It keeps the momentum up and pushes people on to the next line to the next and the next. You don’t want them getting bogged down and taking a break 🙂
Stan Faryna says
What’s really cool is you write with style that’s quick reading.