3 Steps to Scare Your Audience Into Action (And Still Sleep at Night)

scary image of Underwood typewriter with scary-looking figurine next to it

If threatened, we move into action.

At one time your ancient ancestor jumped because an animal was about to eat him. Today, that motivation can be just as strong for someone with arachnophobia seeing a spider.

Great copywriting compels action, so it’s no surprise fear is used in marketing.

But to do it well (and still be able to sleep at night), you need to know a few things about scaring your reader into action.

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How to Use Persuasive Words

I’m glad you are here.

Because I’m excited to share a quick bit of free advice with you that will instantly make you a more persuasive writer.

It’s the new edition of The Lede.

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Timeless Marketing Advice from the Father of Advertising’s Favorite Book

david ogilvy eyes

Nobody should be allowed to have anything to do with advertising until he has read this book seven times. It changed the course of my life.
~ David Ogilvy

The moment I saw these words an immediate investigation began: who, what, where, why, and how could I acquire this book?

Because when the “father of advertising” gives that sort of praise, you better listen.

The work in question, Scientific Advertising, was written by none other than the legendary Claude C. Hopkins. Many a master copywriter has hailed it as one of the most important works on marketing ever written.

Truthfully, no blog post could replace the experience of reading the book in its entirety. If nothing else, I’d simply like to be a conduit for some of the fundamental lessons inside.

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Why You Can’t Resist Persuasive Techniques (Even When You Spot Them)

image of woman with an orange

I am such a sucker.

Every year around the same time, the catalog comes in the mail. And every year, I think “maybe I’ll skip ordering this year. Maybe I’ll take a break.”

And then, I make the fatal mistake. I decide to take a peek inside.

And before I know it, I’m placing an order for the most expensive oranges I’ll eat all year. I cannot resist.

Even though I understand full well all the persuasion techniques they employ to make their product irresistible, I cave.

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Why We Overestimate Technology and Underestimate the Power of Words

Image of Victorian Machine

Many experts assume that Amazon’s social recommender system is its killer feature. But what exactly about this feature makes it a killer?

What — in fact — is the magic sauce of Amazon?

Sure, there is some predictive value in keeping track of many different variables. There always is. It’s probably Amazon’s best kept secret. But I am guessing it’s not only a secret for people outside of Amazon.

If you would ask me what the most persuasive ingredient is of the sauce, I would say it’s copy.

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3 Ways to Get What You Want by Giving People What They Want

Image of Manhattan

We all long for something.

  • Love that will last.
  • The ability to influence people.
  • Scenic vacations.
  • Financial, political, or psychological independence.
  • Less anxiety.
  • Stunning creative achievements.
  • Organizational excellence.
  • Relief from the sting of rejection.
  • World-class athletic performance.
  • Retaliation for when we are wronged.
  • Invitations to the most popular parties.
  • A savings account that never runs out.
  • An impossibly broken family finally reunited.
  • Recognition for your hard work.
  • A Cosmopolitan body.

Marketing that actually works hinges on connecting your product to one of these mass desires.

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