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How to craft cash-creating climactic copy

Have you ever picked up a book off the shelf at a local bookstore, read the cover, opened it up and, after reading a few pages... Couldn't put it down?

Do you remember how you flipped each page with an almost excruciating curiosity because the story was so tantalizing, you became increasingly riveted to the book with each subsequent chapter?

Copy is, or should be, the same.

Good copy makes a good case. But great copy tells a good story. A great copywriter is also a great salesperson. But all great copywriters AND all great salespeople also have one thing in common...

... They are also great storytellers.

The closer your copy reads like a compelling story — keeping the reader interested and engaged, hanging on to every word — the greater your chances she will read your copy until the end and, of course, buy.

Your "story" should tickle the reader's curiosity and pull her into the copy. Each new idea introduced should build on the other, pulling the reader further and deeper into the salesletter. The copy should almost mesmerize the reader to the point she's in a trance-like state.

Each header, each paragraph and each word crescendos and prepares you, step-by-step, for the climactic "twist" in the story's plot.

The climax, of course, is the offer.

And the plot, in copywriting, is called the "platform."

Your platform is the major concept or "storyline." It's possibly a core benefit, result or key topic that creates the foundation upon which your entire "story" is built. It's one powerful idea with which your entire copy will hinge.

The platform you choose to present your offer is critical to the offer's success — hopefully the offer is good, but getting there is the job of the platform.

The concept of the "greased chute" is one in which you keep the reader hanging on to every word you write — up until they buy. They simply can't leave. They're glued to your copy. They're compelled to keep reading.

Copy is telling a good story that involves the reader so they can see in their mind's eye the benefits of your offer, as if they owned your product already. The platform is the "pivot," if you will, you choose to build your story on.

It could (and often should be) be your USP. It could be what copywriter John Carlton calls your "hook." It could be some major advantage or benefit.

Ray McNally, a programmer and friend, offers a neat software program that complements an affiliate marketer's efforts by helping them capture the names and email addresses of traffic they generate to an affiliate link.

This program sets up a doorway page (not the search engine kind) that, before the affiliate's generated traffic is sent to the site being promoted, it capture's their name and email addresses for future follow-up.

Why? Because once they click on an affiliate link, they're gone. But that affiliate has worked hard or spent money on generating that traffic. They own that traffic. So why not capture it in the process?

If they DIDN'T end up buying that affiliate product, no problem. That list can now be followed-up with, or even monetized in other ways!

What has that got to do with copy? Here's my point.

Originally, Ray had one of those hackneyed headlines: "Discover how to explode your income... Blah, blah, blah." Bland. Hypey. Boring.

After talking with Ray, I said, "Ray, this is your USP! Your hook. Why not capitalize on it?" So the platform I told him to use was this ability affiliates will gain with this software to make far more money with the traffic they generate.

The result is here: http://AffiliatePageCreator.com/. Check the headline out and you'll understand what I mean. Also, you'll notice another strategy I used.

Before I explain it to you, let me backup a little to "set the story."

A great way to learn how to write mouth-watering copy is to read fiction. Take a popular book and read it through once. Then go back, read it again and take notes. List the nuances, twists and storylines that grabbed you. And why.

In other words, try to look beyond the story.

Pinpoint where certain characters, ideas and phrases were introduced in specific locations of the book — and see how they relate to the whole plot.

Look at the flow of ideas. Is there a crescendo? Are there small "valleys" along the way (until you reach the "summit," i.e., the climax)?

What do I mean by "small valleys?" Copy should build on the reader's intrinsic curiosity. But it needs to do so multiple times throughout. In fact, incorporate what copywriter David Garfinkel once told me are called "nested loops."

A nested loop is when you begin on an idea but, before you complete it, you introduce another idea. And guess what? People will read every single word more intently and intensely, and remember more what is being said in the process, until you close the loop and finish the idea.

In between the nested loop is therefore a great place to insert a key idea or critical point you want to drive home.

Why are "nested loops" so powerful?

In 1927, Bluma Zeigarnik, one of the early contributors to Gestalt Psychology, found that people have an intrinsic need for closure. Often called the "Zeigarnik Effect," he discovered that we remember interrupted tasks best.

We either passionately attempt to complete something that's incomplete, or feel a certain discomfort, uneasiness or disconcertedness, until it is. The tension created by such an unfinished task helps us to concentrate more.

For example, have you ever watched the news on TV or one of those tabloid shows, where they begin with the following introduction:

"Tonight, Hollywood superstar escapes blazing fire while filming her new mega-budget movie. More on that later. But first..."

That story aroused your curiosity. So you remain glued to your TV set until... They air that particular story at the end of the show! Now, do you think they did this intentionally? Of course. They did so to force you to watch the entire show. (And of course, all of the commercials in between.)

Look at all the TV shows that keep you hanging with each show to the next. (Look at the hit show "24" as a perfect example.) Even commercials use this strategy brilliantly. (Remember the "Taster's Choice" soap-opera-like series?)

Once you close the loop, their concentration level goes down somewhat, which is why you want to use multiple nested loops, or "valleys," throughout the copy. Once they finally "climax," there's no more "Zeigarnik Effect." And you stand a great chance to lose your reader.

(Take, for instance, the show "Dallas" in the 80's with the famous "Who Shot J.R.?" plot. After the show's culmination when they finally revealed who did it, ratings dropped dramatically.)

In copy, include nested loops to not only keep the reader reading but also to build on the reader's level of concentration until the very end. And use them to introduce new or critical ideas in between them.

Look at soap operas and cliffhangers as an example. As an aside, even a few Internet marketers are doing exactly that. For example, check out the "Joe And Mable Show" at http://www.joeandmable.com/.

About the author
Michel Fortin is a direct response copywriter and consultant dedicated to turning sales messages into powerful magnets. Get a free copy of his book, "The 10 Commandments of Power Positioning," when you subscribe to his free monthly ezine, "The Profit Pill." See http://SuccessDoctor.com/ now!

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