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“How To”... 7 Rules for Leveraging the 2 Most Powerful Words

Aaron Orendorff

Is there a secret to writing copy that sells?

Some dark-magic formula that breaks through the barriers, barricades, and psychological bulwarks? Some universal formula that stretches across sales, traditional media, content marketing, social media, and and search engine optimization (SEO)?

Yes.

And I have proof.

The year was 1976 and Martin Edelston, founder of the now more than $50-million annually producing and direct-marketing powerhouse Boardroom Inc., was broke.

Well, not quite broke broke. More like down to the nubs.

42 years old and working out of his basement, Edelston had burned through half his start-up capital with nothing to show for it save an empty desk … furnace adjacent.

Enter Eugene Schwartz: the hero of our story and a man who knew what words were worth.

“He came to me,” Schwartz recalled, “with $3,500 in his pocket, and I told him I’d have to charge him $2,500 as a copy fee.”

$2,500 might not sound outlandish, but today that’d be a $10,497 price tag for a single piece of sales copy. Even more amazing is what that number represented for Edelson himself. Imagine it:

Yes, Marty, I will write you an ad … just one. And all it’ll cost is 70% of everything you have.

Such is the stuff of marketing legend.

Thankfully, Edelston agreed. The two met. And that night Schwartz wrote it … all of it.

Of course, when you finagle someone out of 70% of their operating capital, you can’t just deliver 24 hours later. “I put it away for two weeks,” recalled Schwartz. “And in two weeks, I sent it to him and he ran it.”

What happened?

With one ad Schwartz rescued Edelston from the brink of small-business bankruptcy and set Boardroom Inc. on a path to becoming a multinational marketing empire.

Not surprisingly, Schwartz’s success with Boardroom Inc. was anything but a fluke. Over his career, Schwartz’s direct mail, sales letters, catalogue copy, and ads were responsible for …

  • 1.98 million copies of a $25 book
  • 2 million orders for a fishing lure
  • Nearly $50M for a textbook on natural health
  • $150,000 for a volume on car repair in three days

Most legendary, Schwartz’s produced a single television campaign that resulted in purchases from 1 out of every 14 TV owners in America.

A month ago, I sat down with Schwartz’s 228-page classic Breakthrough Advertising. Sixty pages in I came across three lines that stopped me in my tracks:

A few weeks ago I gave my Intro to College Composition class a handout with the wildly ambitious and (albeit) slightly ambiguous title:

Process Analysis: The Most Important Handout You’ll EVER Get… Seriously.

The sheet’s opening lines weren’t exactly gangbusters (especially for folks outside the course), but—as hard-won audience analysis has taught me—when instructing on a college campus you either use the textbook or invariably face the righteous indignation of the more vocal students.

(I think has something to do with the price of textbooks. )

Anyway, the handout began:

Paul Eschholz and Alfred Rosa’s Subject & Strategy: A Writer’s Reader define the “strategy of process analysis” as involving three basic parts:

. . . [1] separating an event, an operation, or a cycle of development into distinct steps, [2] describing each step precisely, and [3] arranging the steps in their proper order (223).

I know what you’re thinking: “Wow. Way to back up that big, hairy title.”

Thanks. But hang in there, because here’s where things get good.

At its core, process analysis is about leveraging the two most lucrative, most compelling, and most powerful words in the English language: “How To.”

Want proof?

Head over to Copyblogger’s Free Membership page and just peruse the titles…

What’ll you find?

A pattern.

  • How to Craft Compelling Copy
  • How to Write Magnetic Headlines
  • How to Create Compelling Content that Ranks Well in Search Engines
  • How to Build an Audience that Builds Your Business
  • How to Create Content that Converts
  • How to Effectively Promote Your Content
  • How to Build Authority through Content and Google Authorship
  • How to Push Send and Grow Your Business

Now, before you jump ship and actually do head over to Copyblogger, let’s ask the obvious:

What is it that makes “how to” so damn lucrative, compelling, and powerful?

The answer: because “how to” makes a promise.

You don’t know.

I do.

But don’t worry…

I will show you.

Doesn’t matter what the topic is: copywriting, bass fishing, building better relationships, or building a better deck.

“How to” is powerful precisely because it’s practical. Because it’s need based.

“How to” saddles up beside you and calmly assures, “I know where you’re at. I’ve been there… it’s a cold, dark, lonely place. You feel confused, uncertain, and (above all) inadequate. But there’s good news. You don’t have to stay there. Sure, the door’s lock and the windows are barred, but I can give you the key. All you have to do is pay attention and I will show you exactly what to do.”

Also, “how to” promises steps: an actionable list of “1, 2, 3” that you can actually follow.

Lastly, “how to” promises results: if you do what I did, you’ll get what I got.

This principle of promise is illustrated in literally every copywriting book on the market, both implicitly in the titles as well as explicitly in each and every chapter on the most holy of Holy (copywriting) Grails: the headline.

A perfect example of this is what CopyHacker Joanna Wiebe calls “Formula 3: The How-To”:

FORMULA: “How to” + verb + noun + benefit

How to Support Customers 7x Faster with GizmoJo

How to Transform Your iPad into a Money-Making Machine

You get the idea.

The question I want to focus on is simple:

How do you “how to”?

2 words. 7 rules. Let’s get started:

1. Never start with “how.” Always start with “why.”

The first question in every audience’s mind is always: “Why should I care?”

Until you tell your audience “why,” there’s no point in telling them “how.”

Why?

Because if they don’t care, they won’t listen… nor will they read… nor will they BUY.

This is precisely why every good (read: every profitable) piece of copy from time immemorial starts with the benefits (particularly the emotional, save-you-from-this-hell-and-get-you-into-this-heaven benefits) instead of the features.

Check out Robert W. Bly’s chapter on “Writing to Sell” from The Copywriter’s Handbook for some great tips on (not to be cheeky) how to do this well.

2. Put last things first. And first things second.

Give your audience a clear picture of the final project or end result right from the beginning.

In structural (or rhetorical) terms, this means leading with your thesis.

In copywriting terms, this means majoring on the “After” in the old “Before and After” formula.

Marketing Experiments does a phenomenal job of putting last things first with titles like “Long Copy vs. Short Copy: How
discovering the optimal length of a webpage produced a 220% increase in conversion” and “When Should You Reveal Price?
The 3 principles of presenting price and how they helped one company generate a 97% increase in conversion.”

Bottom line: tell your audience the destination—where you’re going—before you tell them the directions—how you’re going to get there.

3. Use (ridiculously) obvious transitions.

Don’t over think it. Everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) loves a good list.

“First . . . Second . . . Third . . .”

“A . . . B . . . C . . .”

“1 . . . 2 . . . 3 . . .”

“At the start . . . In the middle . . . At
the end . . .”

(or even)

“What? . . . Why? . . . How? . . .”

Create and stick to a clear structure. Your English teachers and customers will thank you.

4. Be consistent.

I hate to say it but (when it comes to communication) creativity is overrated.

Way overrated.

Get your innovation on when it comes to products and content. But on the structural, linguistic, talking-like-a-real-human-being side: do not get fancy.

No where is this more true than when it comes to maximizing a how to.

Clarity. Clarity. Clarity.

How? The easiest way is to select and then USE the same keywords throughout your entire analysis, especially in your main points and subheadings.

If you tell me, “There’re 5 steps to this process,” don’t tell me in the next paragraph, “The first rule is…”

If there’re “5 steps to this process,” then tell me, “The first step is…”

If you’re writing about how comprehensive your product is, then (1) tell me your going to tell me it’s comprehensive, (2) tell
me it’s comprehensive, and then (3) tell me about how you told me it’s comprehensive.

And, above all (for the love of Godin) if you say, “5 Tips to a Better Body,” then make sure there’re 5 tips (period).

5. Be precise.

Avoid abstractions, generalizations, estimations, and vagaries.

A good how-to is like a recipe. I don’t want to know that there’re eggs in the cake. I want to know exactly how many eggs, when to put ‘em in, and how long they should be whipped.

Moreover, I don’t want to know I should bake it. I want to know what temperature, for how long… and at what elevation.

Follow Natalie Goldberg’s timeless advice:

Be specific.

Don’t say “fruit.” Tell what kind of fruit—“It’s a pomegranate.”

Give things the dignity of their names.

Remember, the promise of how-to isn’t just that you know how to do what I don’t.

The promise is, you’ll show me.

An ongoing example of this is Copyblogger’s “Here’s How [So-and-So] Writers” series. Without precision, how else would you get gems like this from their post on Austin Kleon?

Who or what is your “Muse” at the moment (i.e. specific creative inspirations)?

Reading obituaries. I find that thinking about death every morning makes me happy to be alive and guilty that I’m not up making something.

6. Keep it simple, stupid (KISS).

Never assume your audience knows… anything.

This is especially true of anything technical, meaning anything you didn’t know the first time around.

Two rules of thumb should help:

First, if you had to look it up… then you better define it.

Second, if the average high schooler would’t get it… neither will your average reader.

There’s nothing worse than getting to step 4 in a 6-step article on writing effective web copy and reading, “Optimize for SEO.” First, if I knew how to optimize for SEO, I wouldn’t be reading your article on writing effective web copy. Second, the “O” in SEO already stands for “Optimization.”

Of course, that one’s obvious, but it illustrates the point well.

7. Examples. Examples. Examples.

Lastly…

Tell a story.

Present an illustration.

Put flesh on it.

Draw a picture.

Chart a graph.

Above all, make it real.

The “how to” genre lives and dies by its connection to reality. The clearer that connection, the more life it has.

Reality is where “how-to” power comes from.

Make me see it. Make me hear it. Make me smell it. Make me taste it. Make me feel it.

How?

Well, I can’t give you all my secrets.

Naturally, Schwartz didn’t mean that good copy should ever exceed 10 words. What he meant was that the core of your ad and, in particular, its headline will always come down to 10 words or less.

Below, we’ll walk through exactly how to unearth and unleash the right “5 to 10 words” in your copy through three unbreakable laws.

We’ll also discover why — as Schwartz put it — “nothing” else you write matters without them.

1. The First Law of Writing Copy: ‘Mass Desire’

Drawing from Schwartz, let’s start with a simple definition.

Another word for “mass desire” is emotion: “the public spread of a private want.”

An ad’s ability to sell begins and ends with identifying a “private want” and  channeling that want into “public” words. Only when an audience and an ad share the same dominant emotion does that ad stand any chance of compelling, converting, and closing.

Put more simply, writing copy that sells lives or dies by the right “mass desire.”

A friend of mine calls this the “Puppy Principle.” If you’re trying to sell leashes or organic Alpo, forget about all the logistics of dog ownership.

Just show ‘em the puppy!

Why?

Because unless how you’re presenting your product makes your audience want to hold it, love it, and give it money … you’re not selling it right. And — chances are — you aren’t selling it at all.

Mass desire means majoring on dreams, fears, desires, needs, pains, and pleasures. And than means …

However, this means the real question isn’t “What?” or “How?” but “Where?”

Where does “mass desire” come from?

The answer might surprise you.

It doesn’t come from your product, your benefits, your USP, your value proposition, your copy, or even from you.

It comes from your market itself. Schwartz explained:

The power, the force, the overwhelming urge to own that makes advertising work, comes from the market itself, and not from the copy.

Copy cannot create desire for a product. It can only take the hopes, dreams, fears and desires that already exist in the hearts of millions of people, and focus those already existing desires onto a particular product.

This is the copy writer’s task: not to create this mass desire—but to channel and direct it (3).

Naturally, this assumes that you have a market — a narrow and clearly targeted group of people whose lives your product would be legitimately improved. But I realize, that’s kind of a big assumption.

Who is your target market?

Copywriters often obsess about what they should write: product features versus product benefits; using the right keywords; nailing the headline, subheadings, images, and first line of copy; banging out a rough draft, and then editing, editing, editing.

Wrong.

Your real obsession shouldn’t be what, but who.

Copy without a target market is worse than worthless. It’s costly.

Without a clearly defined target market — real people with real problems looking for real solutions — you inevitably end up writing for the one person you shouldn’t be: yourself. Self-centeredness is a plague, especially when writing copy.

Begin with the demographics of your ideal customer. Richard Lazazzera’s How To Build Buyer Personas For Better Marketing dives into the sea of personal characteristics and eventually this example of “Alex” for a fictitious company, Bold Socks, surfaces:

Demographics, however, aren’t enough. Not if what you’re really after are words that sell. You’ve got to go deeper than age, ethnicity, income, location, and familial status.

How?

Through personas. On this front, three brilliant (and, thankfully, free) resources stand out.

First is Jen Havice’s How To Create Customer Personas With Actual, Real Life Data over at ConversionXL. As Havice explains:

Patching together actionable information about your customers with gut feelings, good intentions and some duct tape is not a recipe for conversion success. [P]ersonas are fictional representations of segments of buyers based on real data reflecting their behaviors. Their purpose is to put the people behind company decision making in the shoes of the customer.

Havice them shows how to shape personas through qualitative research.

The breakthrough insight — especially for anyone without a budget for focus groups — comes from her review mining work, which she’s consolidated into a recent book: Finding the Right Message. By all means, buy it. In the meantime, work through the above article as well as How to Boost Conversions with Voice of Customer Research [Case Study] that includes this free template:

Writing Copy Through Review Mining
Writing copy through review mining

Review mining to craft copy is one of my own copywriting hallmarks, especially when it comes to landing pages. You can see how I created this simplified copywriting cheat sheet directly from “feedback and comments on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Amazon, Reddit, app stores, and blogs,” along with what the landing page itself ultimately looked like over at KlientBoost.

Writing Copy from User-Generated Content
Writing copy directly from user-generated content

Second, Demian Farnworth’s Empathy Maps: A Complete Guide to Crawling Inside Your Customer’s Head (via Copyblogger). Empathy consists of two parts:

1. The intellectual identification with the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another.

2. The vicarious experiencing of those feelings, thoughts, or attitudes.

After a brilliant overview of empathy in marketing — old school and new — Farnworth drops the gold (which you can download as a PDF simply by clicking the image).

Empathy Map
The Empathy Map Lets You Dissect Your Target Market into Four Quadrants on a Person-by-Person Basis

Third, my own The Only Copywriting Formula You’ll Ever Need.

That’s a post all about fear: hands-down the “most primal” human motivator. At the end are thirteen questions to help you haunt your target market (in the best sense possible).

Here’s a quick sampling:

  • What does your audience hate… about their life, about their job, or about your particular type of product or service?
  • What are the real-world consequences of these problems? In other words, how can you quantify, in real numbers, their hates and headaches?
  • What’s the most awkward, confusing, or inconvenient thing about your type of business?
  • What are the two to three biggest barriers to becoming a customer?
  • What nightmare or hell (be as vivid and emotive as possible) does your business save its customers from?

In all those resources, the point is to define your target market as concretely and viscerally as possible.

What are your target market’s mass desires?

Once that group is fixed, the next step is to make a list of all the possible emotions — the raw emotions — that might inspire someone in that specific market to act.

On the negative side, it might be:

  • Fear
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Anger
  • Rage
  • Uncertainty
  • Embarrassment
  • Envy
  • Resentment

On the positive side, it might be:

  • Joy
  • Happiness
  • Accomplishment
  • Satisfaction
  • Elation
  • Desire
  • Lust
  • Pride
  • Comfort

After you’ve selected two or three dominant, raw emotions, get specific.

For example, the most dominant human emotion is fear. But nobody (despite FDR’s sound advice) fears fear. What we fear are people, places, things, and events. We fear the future. Or we fear situations that may arise in the future. We fear loss. We fear uncertainty. We fear failure.

On top of that, every market — just like every person — has its own unique list.

Take the real estate market for instance. What do new homebuyers fear most?

Some of the obvious boogiemen are …

  • The fear of being overwhelmed by the process.
  • The fear of being turned down for a loan.
  • The fear of picking the wrong neighborhood.
  • The fear of not having enough money for a down payment.
  • The fear of something better coming along and missing out.

Whatever it is, by selecting one of those fears and placing it front and center in your copy, you “enter the conversation already taking place in the customer’s mind” (Robert Collier).

Actually, what you enter is the conversation already taking place in the customer’s heart.

Either way, the keyword is “customer’s.” Their mind. Their heart.

Mass Desire in Action

To put a little more flesh on this idea, here are some classic examples of wildly successful headlines from Schwartz’s era that tapped into their market’s mass desires:

  • “Hair Coloring So Natural Only Her Hairdresser Knows For Sure”
  • “At 60 miles an hour, the loudest noise in a Rolls Royce is the electric clock.”
  • “The Skin YOU Love to Touch”
  • “How to Win Friends and Influence People”
  • “Stops Maddening Itch”
  • “Do YOU make these mistakes in English?”
  • “How a bald-headed barber helped save my hair.”

Today, with advertising exposure rising exponentially, you may think that such straightforward appeals no longer work.

Just to prove they do, here is a handful of my favorite mass desire headlines from the web:

Unbounce: Speed

Sweat Block: Embarrassment

Basecamp: Stress

Mint: Relief

Memit: Simplicity

eHarmony: Winning (and, of course, love)

Blue Apron: Authenticity

Weight Watchers: Release

Designed to Move: Justice

Shopify Plus: Easy

Dapulse: Vanity

Apple Watch: Flexibility

MacBook Pro: Creativity

AirPods: Intrigue

What each of these headlines (classic and contemporary) does beautifully is identify and channel one desire: love, greed, entertainment, the fear of inability, or the fear of difficulty. They use emotive language to capture their audience’s hearts and minds. Emotive language that already exists in the market they’re trying to reach.

To breakthrough, your ads must do the same.

One more law about the word “one”

Having generated a powerhouse list of market-inspired mass desires, your greatest temptation will be to employ them all, like a sort of emotional machine gun.

Don’t.

You only get one.

(Well, you may get to split-test more than one. But each ad only gets one!)

Why?

Because in Schwartz’s words:

Every product appeals to two, three or four of these mass desires.

But only one can predominate; only one can reach out through your headline to your customer. Only one is the key that unlocks the maximum economic power at the particular time your advertisement is published.

Your choice among these alternate desires is the most important step you will take in writing your ad.

If it is wrong, nothing else that you do in the ad will matter.

So remember: Just. One.

2. The Second Law of Writing Copy: State of Awareness

We all know how vital headlines are.

As Brian Clark puts it, “On average, 8 out of 10 people will read your headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest.” That means your headline isn’t just your audience’s first impression … it’s more than likely their only impression.

So here’s the question:

Where do “breakthrough” headlines come from?

You know what I’m talking about. The kind of headlines that pop up, stop your market in their tracks, and compel them to read every word after it.

Now sure, there’re a ton of great cheat sheets out there to get the creative ball rolling. Jon Morrow’s “52 Headline Hacks” is among the best.

The problem is most of us start out wrong because we start with us: our idea, our product, our service, our copy.

But …

What if there was a way to systematically craft breakthrough headlines based entirely on your market?

What if there was a proven formula to pull your prospects into your copy because it actually started with your prospects themselves?

On this front, three brilliant (and, thankfully, free) resources stand out.

First is Jen Havice’s How To Create Customer Personas With Actual, Real Life Data over at ConversionXL. As Havice explains:

Patching together actionable information about your customers with gut feelings, good intentions and some duct tape is not a recipe for conversion success. [P]ersonas are fictional representations of segments of buyers based on real data reflecting their behaviors. Their purpose is to put the people behind company decision making in the shoes of the customer.

Havice them shows how to shape personas through qualitative research.

The breakthrough insight — especially for anyone without a budget for focus groups — comes from her review mining work, which she’s consolidated into a recent book: Finding the Right Message. By all means, buy it. In the meantime, work through the above article as well as How to Boost Conversions with Voice of Customer Research [Case Study] that includes this free template:

Message Mining by Jen Havice via CXL

Review mining to craft copy is one of my own copywriting hallmarks, especially when it comes to landing pages.

You can see how I created this simplified copywriting cheat sheet directly from “feedback and comments on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Amazon, Reddit, app stores, and blogs,” along with what the landing page itself ultimately looked like over at KlientBoost.

Writing Copy from User-Generated Content
Writing copy directly from user-generated content

Second, Demian Farnworth’s Empathy Maps: A Complete Guide to Crawling Inside Your Customer’s Head (via Copyblogger). Empathy consists of two parts:

1. The intellectual identification with the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another.

2. The vicarious experiencing of those feelings, thoughts, or attitudes.

After a brilliant overview of empathy in marketing — old school and new — Farnworth drops the gold (which you can download as a PDF simply by clicking the image).

Empathy Map
The Empathy Map Lets You Dissect Your Target Market into Four Quadrants on a Person-by-Person Basis

Third, my own The Only Copywriting Formula You’ll Ever Need.

That’s a post all about fear: hands-down the “most primal” human motivator. At the end are thirteen questions to help you haunt your target market (in the best sense possible).

Here’s a quick sampling:

  • What does your audience hate… about their life, about their job, or about your particular type of product or service?
  • What are the real-world consequences of these problems? In other words, how can you quantify, in real numbers, their hates and headaches?
  • What’s the most awkward, confusing, or inconvenient thing about your type of business?
  • What are the two to three biggest barriers to becoming a customer?
  • What nightmare or hell (be as vivid and emotive as possible) does your business save its customers from?

In all those resources, the point is to define your target market as concretely and viscerally as possible.

What are your target market’s mass desires?

Once that group is fixed, the next step is to make a list of all the possible emotions — the raw emotions — that might inspire someone in that specific market to act.

On the negative side, it might be:

  • Fear
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Anger
  • Rage
  • Uncertainty
  • Embarrassment
  • Envy
  • Resentment

On the positive side, it might be:

  • Joy
  • Happiness
  • Accomplishment
  • Satisfaction
  • Elation
  • Desire
  • Lust
  • Pride
  • Comfort

After you’ve selected two or three dominant, raw emotions, get specific.

For example, the most dominant human emotion is fear. But nobody (despite FDR’s sound advice) fears fear. What we fear are people, places, things, and events. We fear the future. Or we fear situations that may arise in the future. We fear loss. We fear uncertainty. We fear failure.

On top of that, every market — just like every person — has its own unique list.

Take the real estate market for instance. What do new homebuyers fear most?

Some of the obvious boogiemen are …

  • The fear of being overwhelmed by the process.
  • The fear of being turned down for a loan.
  • The fear of picking the wrong neighborhood.
  • The fear of not having enough money for a down payment.
  • The fear of something better coming along and missing out.

Whatever it is, by selecting one of those fears and placing it front and center in your copy, you “enter the conversation already taking place in the customer’s mind” (Robert Collier).

Actually, what you enter is the conversation already taking place in the customer’s heart.

Either way, the keyword is “customer’s.” Their mind. Their heart.

Mass Desire in Action

To put a little more flesh on this idea, here are some classic examples of wildly successful headlines from Schwartz’s era that tapped into their market’s mass desires:

  • “Hair Coloring So Natural Only Her Hairdresser Knows For Sure”
  • “At 60 miles an hour, the loudest noise in a Rolls Royce is the electric clock.”
  • “The Skin YOU Love to Touch”
  • “How to Win Friends and Influence People”
  • “Stops Maddening Itch”
  • “Do YOU make these mistakes in English?”
  • “How a bald-headed barber helped save my hair.”

Today, with advertising exposure rising exponentially, you may think that such straightforward appeals no longer work.

Just to prove they do, here is a handful of my favorite mass desire headlines from the web:

Unbounce: Speed

Sweat Block: Embarrassment

Basecamp: Stress

Mint: Relief

Memit: Simplicity

eHarmony: Winning (and, of course, love)

Blue Apron: Authenticity

Weight Watchers: Release

Designed to Move: Justice

Shopify Plus: Easy

Dapulse: Vanity

Apple Watch: Flexibility

MacBook Pro: Creativity

AirPods: Intrigue

What each of these headlines (classic and contemporary) does beautifully is identify and channel one desire: love, greed, entertainment, the fear of inability, or the fear of difficulty. They use emotive language to capture their audience’s hearts and minds. Emotive language that already exists in the market they’re trying to reach.

To breakthrough, your ads must do the same.

One more law about the word “one”

Having generated a powerhouse list of market-inspired mass desires, your greatest temptation will be to employ them all, like a sort of emotional machine gun.

Don’t.

You only get one.

(Well, you may get to split-test more than one. But each ad only gets one!)

Why?

Because in Schwartz’s words:

Every product appeals to two, three or four of these mass desires.

But only one can predominate; only one can reach out through your headline to your customer. Only one is the key that unlocks the maximum economic power at the particular time your advertisement is published.

Your choice among these alternate desires is the most important step you will take in writing your ad.

If it is wrong, nothing else that you do in the ad will matter.

So remember: Just. One.

2. The Second Law of Writing Copy: State of Awareness

We all know how vital headlines are.

As Brian Clark puts it, “On average, 8 out of 10 people will read your headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest.” That means your headline isn’t just your audience’s first impression … it’s more than likely their only impression.

So here’s the question:

Where do “breakthrough” headlines come from?

You know what I’m talking about. The kind of headlines that pop up, stop your market in their tracks, and compel them to read every word after it.

Now sure, there’re a ton of great cheat sheets out there to get the creative ball rolling. Jon Morrow’s “52 Headline Hacks” is among the best.

The problem is most of us start out wrong because we start with us: our idea, our product, our service, our copy.

But …

What if there was a way to systematically craft breakthrough headlines based entirely on your market?

What if there was a proven formula to pull your prospects into your copy because it actually started with your prospects themselves?

Let’s save the world from bad content