But you must sustain and nurture that relationship
through the use of powerful words. You gotta know by now
that I believe a word is worth a thousand pictures!
Relationships are built through communication - your
website's copy, your automated email responses, your email
marketing campaigns. You won't woo your customers with
drabness; you'll woo them with skillful wordsmithing that
penetrates their souls, captures their attention and
speaks to them.
Roy Williams, editor of the profoundly enjoyable
provides valuable strategies for creating memorable copy.
Their purpose is to "surprise Broca" - to nudge that part
of the human brain (Broca's Area) that makes
comprehensible order of input (see
of Ears Beats a Pair of Eyes).
"[The reader] uses Broca to anticipate and discount the
predictable." In other words, if humans read exactly what
they expect to read, it doesn't impress them - it doesn't
capture their attention. "To gain Broca's smiling approval
and win the attention of the reader … you must electrify
Broca with the thrill of the unexpected."i
So how do you surprise Broca? Here are some of Roy's
“If you will illuminate the mind, win the heart,
inspire the public, and change the world, steal a few
moments each day to quietly walk the path of poetry.”ii
Roy suggests, when we seek to persuade effectively, we
should communicate a new perspective in an economy of
words… and who does this better than the poet? "Poetry …
is about unusual combinations of unpredictable words that
surprise Broca… gain the voluntary attention of the
[reader and persuade him to feel the way we want him to
feel]. It is about transferring a new perspective."iii
Frosting, after Robert Frost, is one of the
simplest techniques you can tackle to bring light and life
to otherwise dull writing. Take what you have written,
"and without changing the message structurally, replace
all the common, predictable phrases with unexpected,
interesting ones."iv Make word combinations that bring
very bright, vivid and unforgettable images to mind. Go on
… dare to be creative!
"All of us commoners" (a defrosted version of what
when you could say:
"We people on the pavement" (from "Richard Cory")
Franking, derived from the photographic style of
Robert Frank, requires you to select your details
sparingly and use them suggestively rather than blatantly.
The critical element in Franking is to choose an
unexpected perspective from which you reveal your message,
an angle that puts your reader directly in the scene. When
photographing an opera, Frank eschewed the conventional
"photo op" locations and took his pictures from the
orchestra pit! As the viewer, you are drawn into the thick
of the experience and presented with a far more compelling
interpretation of a predictable event that engages your
interest and excites your imagination. So what intriguing
vantage points can you come up with?
Seussing, named for the mischievous and whimsical
Dr. Seuss, surprises Broca by demanding first the
attention of the illogical, nonjudgmental right brain
before conquering the rational left hemisphere of the
brain. It emphasizes verbs over nouns and adjectives (see
Pump Up Your Verbs)
and uses unofficial, fanciful words - the reader
instinctively knows their meaning, even though he has
never heard them before. It's not to be over-used, "like
pepper sauce … a tiny bit adds zip to even the blandest of dishes."v But used judiciously, it can make your copy leap
off the page and settle delightfully in your prospect's
Are you actively utilizing Brainbench?
when you could say:
Are you Brainbenching yet?vi
Other structural suggestions for creating evocative
copy include crafting strong opening and closing mental
images, excising all the black words - those that
contribute nothing to the imagery - from your writing, and
never telling your reader something she already knows or
can figure out for herself. There's Frameline Magnetism
and Being Monet. But I'll let you learn about these from
Check it out … I promise you'll find it unlike any other
business book out there. Talk about surprising Broca!
i Accidental Magic. Roy Williams. Bard Press,
ii Secret Formulas of the Wizard of Ads. Roy
Williams. Bard Press, 1999.
iii Accidental Magic.
iv Accidental Magic.
v Accidental Magic.
vi An example of Seussing Future Now suggested for its