Would you like to write better copy?

I went along to a DMA Copywriting Club, where Tim Tucker, former Senior Editor at Future Publishing, took us through some Neuro-linguistic Programming ideas and techniques that can help us to write more engaging copy.

Neuro-linguistic Programming, 'NLP' is an approach to communication, personal development, and psychotherapy, used to facilitate change.

Our individual 'programmes' influence the way we process and interpret things - we all interpret things differently based on our individual programming, which is worth considering when trying to communicate effectively.

Here are some useful snippets that I took away from the event:

1. Humans have 2 key Motivation Meta Programmes:

a) 'Towards' people: pleasure/advancement
b) 'Away from' people: avoidance of pain/discomfort

In copywriting practice: it’s good to mix up Towards and Away messaging to appeal to a greater number of people (especially useful for email subject lines).

2. Asking questions can act as a persuasive technique, don't you think?

Tagging a question onto the end of a sentence is a nifty technique to incorporate into your writing. Questions can make very powerful opening lines, that engage a person to continue reading the next line.

3. Curiosity headlines

'The real reason Apple made the Apple watch'...

Enticing, isnt it? (#tagquestion)

Humans are naturally curious creatures, so including words that make people curious will also encourage engagement. Think ‘mystery’, ‘secret’…

4. Metaphors

Metaphors, often stories, speak to the subconscious, deeper part of the brain.

And did you know that 90% of the time you decide on something, you use your emotional brain? If you want something to resonate more deeply with someone and prompt an action, you are more likely to achieve this through story-telling, which appeals to the emotional brain.

5. Framing to focus attention

Your frame of the world will frame your experience.

'Can't lose weight?' is a negative frame, making readers think immediately that they can’t.

'Eat freely, enjoy your food' is a more positive frame, focusing on a positive outcome, which is more likely to appeal.

When you're in a negative frame of mind, one way to change frames is to ask yourself 'what do you want to do instead?'.

I hope that some of these tips will be useful for your next fabulous piece of copy.