To State The Obvious

There’s a lot of NLP that you can’t use in writing.

You’d think that would be obvious since much of NLP is dependent on sensory input you get from the person you’re working with/on. Even so, I still see more than a few examples of people writing things that only work in person.

For example, in NLP there are times when it’s appropriate to interrupt the current thought process of the person you’re speaking to. If you do that as strongly in writing, the reader can easily get distracted from your letter and even click away to do something else… not what you want to do.

If you interrupt someone in person, they’ll most likely stop what they’re doing and wait for whatever comes next which would probably be your next pattern. In writing, they may think of something else they need to be doing instead of reading your letter.

Another thing is the obvious use of embedded commands. This has been written about quite a bit as the poor (but most common) use of NLP. The thing about copy is that people can more easily notice what you’re doing. If you’ve just emphasized, BUY NOW …. gee that’s not obvious. You think? Someone might not notice if you slip that into a conversation but they will with it screaming off the page like that.

Marketers sometimes write as if they don’t realize that attention is different online versus in person. If you send someone inside to access something instead of continuing to read, they may not come back to your letter. In person, they have nowhere else to go unless they just stay inside. Eventually they’ll have to come back and there you are.

The upside is that for copy, you have all the time you need to plan your strategies. If you want to plan out and sequence your presuppositions, go right ahead.

If you can extrapolate this idea across all the patterns and foundations of NLP, you’ll have a good grasp of what will work in copy. If all else fails, test it and see.

2 Responses

  1. If stating the obvious is the way of finding out the differences between written and spoken commands so that they can give a major benefit, then please carry on stating the obvious 🙂

  2. I think there are ways of incorporating embedded commands into copy, you just have to be more subtle.

    First, don’t emphasize it. Most people are reading the copy in their heads anyway and so you when they read you saying “I want to click the link” they are putting that thought into their own mind and it just clicks.

    Now that’s how I use embedded commands, it goes below the conscious level.

    Paul Hancox

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