Copy is King. Building & selling the real pro-argument

Articles to help you counter hoplophobic arguments.

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Copy is King. Building & selling the real pro-argument

Postby Martin_tu » Thu, 2006-05-25 14:33

'Copy is King'. Adapted by Martin L Hedington.

Many budding online gunrights activists approach the design of a marketing concept such as the pro-gun argument with the same mindset as they would for what they observe in "offline" advertising, (emulating posters, TV ads, magazine spreads, etc). For web-readers, (blogs, forums etc) or below-the-line media (newspaper letters), this approach is fundamentally flawed, just like the FCA itself!

The thing is, that offline advertising is inherently intrusive - in other words, the advertiser must try to intrude while you are doing something else: like watching TV, listening to the radio, driving or reading the paper. They have to "steal" your attention by using colours, sounds, half naked ladies or anything that will grab your attention. All commercial sales pitches go through five stages, Attention, Interest, Desire, Conviction and finally Closure.

On the web, you don’t have to interrupt your visitor - in fact, you want to go out of your way not to distract. Just the fact that your prospect is on your ‘piece’ means that you have his or her attention already. All you have to do now is keep it. Your job is therefore to organize your argument in such a way that a quick scan of the first few lines will tell the reader what it is about - and you only have about three to seven seconds to do just that. It's a technique known as 'Ball-grabbing', perfected by General Patton who once said "Grab them by their balls and their hearts and minds will follow".

Now is not the time to try and impress your reader with worn-out clichés, in-house words, mind-numbing data or worse, interminable stats.

The crux of the copy

Making or breaking your argument will be your "copy", i.e. the text that makes up your proposal - not design elements like pictures, colours, etc. Your thrust can be literally 'dog-ass ugly' yet still be effective. Building an effective closing argument, (where -in sales-parlance- you get the cheque, or ‘sell’ the idea), has more to do with crafting it than it has to do with art.

Your pitch does not have to be unique in the 6 billion page universe of the web. In fact, if your ‘page’ looks like an accepted standard (header, left margin and footer) your visitor will feel instantly at home. Hammer and nails, keyboard and dictionary, not canvas and paint are the tools of this ‘trade’. (I heard that! Who said they are not a friggin’ Shakespeare?)

When I say "copy" I don’t mean haiku’s, sonatas or novels. I mean the words and sentences you use when you speak to your ‘clients’. Just the everyday language you use, (excluding any four-letter expletives of course). Here is a practical tip if you struggle to write copy: make a list of questions you've normally been asked about your ‘product, service or philosphy’ and simply answer them one by one - like you would if you were speaking to an ordinary (uninformed) person-, (for example, “But guns are baaad aren’t they, don’t they kill people?).

Remember that in any given sales environment, (are you selling, or ‘lecturing’? read some of 'Crimefree's' articles on propaganda 1 0 1), the person that asks the questions controls the argument/ conversation. So, we can agree that building an argument is a skill (craft) that can be learnt by anyone - all you have to do is show your reader why he or she should ‘do business’ with people that think our way. Note I say "show" and not "tell".

Show and Tell.

People generally don’t like to be told what to think. It’s only in the SAPS, Military, or government where 'they' can tell you what your opinion is. Out here in the free world people reach their own conclusions. For example, if I’m selling shoes online I could describe my product as follows:"The shoes we make are the toughest in the world, and it will last a long time." That’s telling.

Let’s try to show instead:"A patented process reinforce natural leather to reject stains and resist aging. Water or oil cannot penetrate or stain the shoe - even after years of heavy use." To a large extent it comes down to detail: if you sincerely believe your product, service or argument is better (or more believable) than most, then you must be able to explain why.

Provide your prospect with brief detail - SHOW him why your product or service is better: because you use better materials, better-researched facts, independent studies funded by pragmatic, objective and unbiased research bodies. You will automatically write more copy this way because you won’t just say: "My product is the best", but you will show readers that your product is the best by providing factual information - allowing them to reach their own conclusion.

Give a little back

By writing more: perhaps explaining in detail how your own thought process worked, you not only provide people with information about your own ideology, (already shared by the way by 80% of your readers), you also give back to the web community where you found out how to bake a bread, smoke a pipe, arrange flowers or prepare more adequately for a potentially violent criminal attack.

By giving back, you earn good karma - but perhaps most importantly, search engines will now be able to rank you on more search phrases and you will get a LOT more visitors to your argument. Bear in mind that Search Engines scan pretty much all published copy, especially newspaper letters or opinion columns.

It’s beautiful - instant karma: The more you give, the more you get.
"I'd rather have a gun and not need it than vice versa."
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