Text manipulation, advice on being yourself (not as cheesy as it sounds), mind control, and feminism.
These are the themes making up the powerful copy collection for this month.
(Psst… #1 is a cool trick you’re going to love me forever for showing to you.)
So I’m not linking to this blog post for its literary brilliance (though Neville is a good copywriter).
Instead, I’m linking to it because it is absolutely the coolest thing ever… especially if you’re a designer, fellow copywriter, or anyone with any kind of marketing sense trying to convince your company’s big wigs that jargon is out and the cool, sexy copy you’ve learned to write from this blog is totally in.
For example, here’s my header:
And here’s my header after I’ve played with it using this trick:
Imagine the possibilities.
Ash Ambirge (the lady behind this lovely blog) has been one of my copywriting inspirations and icons for a long, long time.
Maybe because we’re both sassy and like the F word. Maybe for other reasons like we both hate crappy, generic copy.
Either way, this post is brilliant, and this was one of my favorite lines:
“The internet is basically like one giant Tinder app—people are swiping left and right through a Google full of websites trying to find a match. So if you say mechanical things like ‘Thank you for visiting my website,’ no one can make any judgments about whether or not you’re a good fit, because you sound about as unique as a cardboard box.”
Followed by this one:
“Dane Cook jokes aren’t the missing quality in your writing—simply sounding like a human is.”
So basically, yes, you need to get rid of the jargon. But no, you don’t have to go around making cuss-word-heavy or perverted jokes just to get attention. It is okay and encouraged to be yourself. But “yourself” sure as hell is the boring, jargony copy everyone else in your industry is using simply because they don’t know how to write any better and don’t care.
It is SO SO SO SO SOOOOO interesting.
In fact, I’m only halfway through it, but I can’t stop highlighting, underlining, and making notes in the margins.
Like, order this thing in a print copy, not for your Kindle.
It’s a book made up of 100 short chapters, approximately two pages each. Each chapter tells you a strategy for influencing people and backs it up with some of the most fascinating sciences and psychological studies I’ve ever heard.
Remember in my last post when I talked about how advertisers will use hot models with dilated pupils in their ads because even though you don’t realize it, your brain registers those pupils as a sign of arousal and makes you more impulsive?
That was from this book.
Another cool one I just read: if you’re meeting someone new, take them out for a warm drink, not a cold one. Why?
“Brain imaging studies show hot and cold stimuli light up an area of the brain related to trust and cooperation… According to Bargh, ‘Physical warmth can make us see others as warmer people, but also cause us to be wamer—more generous and trusting—as well.”
And of course they had the experiments to back it up.
But beyond the pure educational value of this book, it’s a wonderful lesson in packing truly valuable information into a small word count, without just listing off facts.
This is a Q&A style interview with a photographer who explored Icelandic culture for women (and men) through her camera lens while doing interviews with her subjects on the gender equality of the country.
To give you an idea: Iceland enforces gender equality quotas, and for crimes like prostitution, arrests the buyer instead of the sex worker. They’ve also got services like socialized child care so women can continue to go to school and have a career even when they have children.
Reading the interview isn’t a raging: “There’s so much wrong with our society! We should change everything today and be like Iceland instead!” like you might expect it to be.
Instead, throughout the interview, you kind of feel this bittersweet feeling where you want to have hope that total equality is possible, but even Iceland has its problems. You realize at the end of the day, humans are humans who react, live, and adapt into the structures around them.
Written by a woman who’s both been raped herself and dated women with the same experience, this piece is bold in a way that only audacious vulnerability can be.
She’s not complaining, she’s not saying “woe is me,” and she’s not bashing men in general.
She looks at the societal definition of anyone who’s ever been victimized for anything and challenges it. Since as a victim (of anything) we’re supposed to label ourselves as victims, or as being broken because of that victimization in some way, it’s almost as if we’re supposed to think less of ourselves.
But through dating women who’ve had similar victimizing experiences that she’s had and seeing how decidedly not broken they are despite what someone did to them, she comes back to reclaiming herself and realizing she doesn’t have to let defining life moments define her.
It’s sad, moving, and empowering.
And the writing lesson here is that when you’re willing to speak up and say who you are for the sake of yourself—you resonate with everyone else and their humanity too.