With everything going on in the world these days, where would we be without comedy? Understanding and experiencing the power of laughter...and what evokes that response...is more than just therapeutic. It can give you some valuable copywriting insights that are like money in the bank. That's why I think you're going to love this week's issue. One of my current Fast Track to A-List copywriting mentees, David Lowenthal, is taking over the helm. David's pulled together six copy-boosting secrets from top comedians that you can apply to your own copy. By understanding these techniques--like the use of stories, demonstration, making what's "old" sound fresh and new, stoking controversy, and more, you can amp up the power of your copy, make it more engaging, and even find it's easier to write. Plus you can release some much-needed endorphins by tuning into Netflix and watching comedy shows like the one David talks about, and studying first-hand the techniques he's about to explain. Sounds like fun "homework" to me! So take it away, David...let's see what we can learn from top comedians like Jerry Seinfeld, Dave Chappelle, and others! ***** A-List Comedians Reveal Juicy Copywriting Techniques Written by David Lowenthal The other day I was watching Jerry Seinfeld’s Netflix show “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.” If you haven’t seen it, the title pretty much sums up the show’s premise.
Each episode follows Jerry as he drives around with another famous comedian friend (like Dave Chappelle, pictured below) in a classic car going for coffee and talking about life and comedy...
Anyway: While I was watching I got to thinking, “Man, there’s a TON of similarities between great comedy and great copywriting!” Below are 6 insights from comedians that can help you write better sales copy and put more money in the bank:
1. Collect & Tell Stories: Great comedians are full of hilarious and engaging stories that keep their audience on the edge of their seats in preparation for the big laugh line.
And those stories are usually about an annoying or bizarre person we all know or meet regularly in our own lives. As a copywriter, you should always be on the lookout for stories your prospect can identify with that relate to your product or service.
2. Creative Repetition: Another specialty of comedians is being able to always put fresh & new “spins” on everyday problems. Example: You’d think by now people would be sick of jokes about airplane travel, the differences between men and women, and the entire state of New Jersey, wouldn’t you? Nope. Those jokes are as fresh as ever thanks to clever comedians.
Reason is because there are some problems, situations, and issues that audiences will NEVER get tired of. So it is with comedy, so it is with copy! Your prospect is hungry (famished even!) to listen to someone talking about your prospect’s problems. So it’s up to you as a copywriter to put a fresh new spin on old problems; like, for example, being overweight or investing with shady stock brokers.
3. Building Anticipation Through Emotion: If you want to witness a masterclass in dramatic anticipation build-up, watch the comedy special “Equanimity & The Bird Revelation” from Dave Chappelle...the world’s greatest living comedian. In the special, Chappelle sets a random phrase as a punchline at the beginning and then tells the audience that he will use the punchline by the end of the show as a grand finale. Successful copy works much the same way. In the opening paragraph of a sales letter, you make your prospect a big promise they’ll get by reading your letter. Then you pivot to building up anticipation to your big promise throughout your letter...typically through agitating your prospect’s problem and “future-pacing” how wonderful their life will be with your product.
4. Dramatically Demonstrate Your USP: There’s a scene in Jerry’s show where he’s in a coffee shop, sitting across from comedian Bill Maher which demonstrates this point perfectly. The two are arguing whether or not you should refer to waiters by name.
Jerry says “yes” because that way, if you know the waiter’s name, you can ask him/her to do little favors for you without coming off as rude. And sure enough: when they get up to leave, Jerry hands the waiter his napkin and the guy takes it–no questions asked. Bill Maher is stunned and can’t understand why the guy complied. But Jerry just replies: “THAT’s why I got his name at the beginning. I told you, I was going to be needing him to do certain things!” It’s a funny scene, and it gets Bill believing him by the end of it. Lesson: Perform the “dramatic demonstration” of your product successfully in your copy and you will have ramped up your credibility 1000 percent with your prospect... ...And will have made a sale that much more likely!
5. Strike a chord through strategic controversy: Nobody likes a “yes man” or “people pleaser” who refuses to take any firm positions on anything. Comedians gain loyal fans in part by stoking controversy and calling out stupidity. Naturally, this makes the morality police quite upset. But who cares?
As the late great A-list copywriter Gary Halbert (creator of the world’s most mailed sales letter in history) used to say: Don’t worry about offending the “dogs.” Focus on selling to the “foxes”! Which perfectly tees up the final copywriting lesson from comedians:
6. Positioning yourself in your ideal market: Different types of comedy hold different “market share.” And with each year comes more and more differentiated comedy for more and more segmented markets. There’s black comedy, Jewish comedy, redneck comedy, hipster comedy, political comedy, offensive comedy, angry comedy, prop comedy, observational comedy, impression comedy, nerdy comedy, clean comedy, etc. etc. etc. Great comedians know early on they’re not everybody’s “cup of tea.” Instead, they focus on building audiences and fan bases around their type of comedy so they can be a “big fish in a small pond.”
I’m sure there are many more juicy lessons that can be learned from comedians, but those are the biggest ones that shot out at me. In other news: If you’d like to receive more creative, out-of-the-box daily marketing & copywriting tips like these, simply click this link to sign up for my free email newsletter. By signing up today, you’ll receive 3 bonus gifts revealing the hidden marketing secrets of some of history’s greatest direct marketers...straight to your inbox instantly! ***** Thank you, David...those are some great takeaways...all gleaned from and demonstrated by watching some of my favorite comedians. As you can see, copywriting isn't much different from comedy or screenwriting or political speeches or any kind of writing or discourse that seeks to engage others and evoke an emotional response. It's one reason why you should always keep your eyes open for creative inspiration and golden "nuggets" in your day-to-day life. I love lessons like the one David shared today that pull out these "nuggets" and helps us see ways to apply them to what we do. If you want to hear more great insights like the ones David shared today, I encourage you to get on his email list here. Yours for smarter marketing, Kim P.S. If you're interested in joining my next group of "Fast Track to A-List" mentees, you can find out more details here. This 10-month program starts in January, and more than 25% of the spots have already been filled. You can get in at the current 2020 rates if you sign up by November 1st, so be sure to check it out soon. Here's what David has to say about his training and mentoring with me... "From "newbie to 60 mph" in just a few quick months!" “Kim’s private and group coaching helped take me from a ‘raw newbie’ to writing a successful sales email and completing my first direct mail package for one of the biggest marketing agencies in the U.S. And we’re barely halfway through her program! If Kim can help someone like me who had never written copy for a client make these kinds of big gains so quickly, I’m sure she can help you, too. Signing up for her Fast Track to A-List copy mentoring program is turning out to be one of the best investments in my career I’ve ever made!” —David Lowenthal, Copywriter