More on presuppositions

Kenrick Cleveland recently posted on presuppositions.

[Quick quiz: how many presuppositions can you find in the title and that first sentence? I count 5 different ones off the top of my head. I put my answer at the bottom.]

His article is worth checking out at http://blog.maxpersuasion.com/i-presuppose-so/

I’d add something to his first example. Go read it first and then come back.

He uses the example of, "We need to fight the terrorists over there so we don’t have to fight them over here."

I was snookered into believing that before so that one hits home.

He’s right about there being a presupposition on needing to fight terrorists. What I’d add is that fighting them here if we don’t fight them over there isn’t a presupposition. That’s explicitly stated.

Additional presuppositions are that there are some group of people that we can identify and demonize by classifying them as terrorists. Another is that there is some place we all agree is "here" and "there." That one is even more insidious because it goes completely unnoticed. "There" can be anywhere that’s reasonably not "here." That becomes Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, etc. Where does it stop? If you’re in the US, is Mexico or Canada here or there?

Don’t be fooled into thinking that presuppositions are simply innocuous linguistic tricks. Language shapes our thoughts and actions. That’s good news for you if you know how to use them and defend against them.

Here’s another good one if anyone wants to try their hand at dissecting:

"Since they want to die in Jihad so bad, I’d be happy to facilitate that arrangement."

[The presuppositions I caught earlier were that 1) there are such a thing as presuppositions, 2) that something has already been said about them (i.e. "more on…"), 3) there is such a person as Kenrick, 4) he knows something about presuppositions and 5) he has a blog he posts to.]

Harlan’s Use of NLP in a PS

Here’s a video that Harlan posted a little while back. It’s actually the same video twice so it’s only about 3 minutes. I think I mentioned it before if I recall correctly.

http://www.youtube.com/v/sBbO3y9P7DE

What he doesn’t tell you in the video (and I hadn’t mentioned) is why nominalization takes the power out of a word. When you change a verb into a noun (i.e. being skeptical to skepticism), you take the motion out of it. No motion, no energy. No energy, no power.

Conversely, if you want to add energy to a work, turn it into action. Richard Bandler uses this method to cure phobias. When you take the energy and make it smaller (visual), quieter (auditory), further away (kinesthetic), it looses power. Taking it and putting it far away by making it past tense does more of that. Bandler also cures it by taking that energy and spinning it the opposite direction.

Of course that’s much harder to do in writing. I’d say impossible but as soon as you say that, someone will figure it out.

Obvious uses of NLP in copywriting

One reader asked if I recommended a specific resource on NLP.

As far as I can tell, Harlan Kilstein is the only one teaching NLP copywriting well. There are a number of people who are practicing it covertly but not teaching. There are a number of NLP practitioners who are teaching the spoken variety thinking that the same rules apply to copywriting. They don’t. At least not without some adjustment.

As an example, I’m going to point out a few things I see in the sales letter at http://www.nlp-techniques.com. I’ll quote the relevant sections in case the owner decides to rewrite it later on. It wouldn’t be the first time that’s happened.

The headline: "NLP Language Patterns for Advertising: How adding clever twists to language is making some companies’ response rates climb. "

The main headline doesn’t promise any benefits. That’s copywriting 101. I think the author chose the title of the product to be the headline. It also scores 105 with Glyphius. Normally you’d want to be scoring at least 500. The subhead scores 202. The word "clever" negatively correlates to profitable copy. Switching "ordinary" for "clever" makes the score 295.

The subhead attempts a few things. It includes these major presuppositions: 1) there are clever twists that can be added to language, 2) these twists can be added intentionally, 3) you’d be in good company if you bought whatever is being sold because it’s working for others, and 4) adding these twists will make your response rates climb.

Where it could improve is that to a skeptical reader (i.e. no rapport built yet), "some companies" could mean that for some companies, these twists aren’t making their response rates climb and they may even be making them fall. For all the reader knows, it might be a shot in the dark.

Also, "response rates" are pretty vague. If you’ve been following my blog, you’ve seen me talk about how sometimes being vague can be effective because people will fill in the blanks. That only works if the words you use are anchored to something in the reader’s experience. If your reader doesn’t deal in "response rates" on a regular basis, they’ll be confused rather than interested. If the audience is online business owners looking for sales, the term is usually "conversion" rather than "response."

The writer then launches into a short therapeutic metaphor which tries to pace the frustration of not making sales and following the internet gurus. Whether the reader makes the effort to read through that or not will most likely depend on how interested the headline got them. I’m not sure the story is fleshed out enough to be effective. You want to be concise but not so brief that by the time the reader finishes wondering who Derrick Gossman is, the story is already over.

As you can see, there’s a lot to chew on here. I’ll point out a couple more obvious uses and wrap it up.

The use of embedded commands seems most obvious to me. You can scroll down the page and pick them out because they’re emphasized one way or another. See if you can scan quickly and find, "you buy," "you’re ecstatic," "order," "ACT," "ACT NOW," "get prospects [i.e. you] excited," and "immediately." Not very elegant. In case the page has been changed, those words are either highlighted, underlined, in bold, or in all caps. There’s probably more but that’s what I saw in a quick scan.

Here’s one thing I recommend you not do. Richard Bandler talks about being able to say anything to another person as long as it’s quoting someone else. I’m not certain exactly how it works but evidently your subconscious identifies with whatever is going on. That’s what makes therapeutic metaphors so powerful. I think the writer inadvertently does this while instead trying to pace the reader in this sentence:

You might have thought, "How can these people be so stupid? Can’t they see the benefits of what I’m offering? "

Instead of pacing the feeling of frustration, the writer has just told all the readers that they’re stupid for not seeing what he’s offering. Who knows though. Perhaps that’s not what just happened. I wouldn’t want to chance it if it were me. Get a multivariate tester like MuVar and find out what converts better.

Generally speaking, you want to avoid using questions anyway because they send the reader off into their own mind to find an answer. They may come back and continue reading or they may not. All us internet users are pretty ADD after all.

I couldn’t resist the irony of this last point. The owner has come up with some script writing software that will spit out bits of NLP gibberish to use in your copy. I wonder if that’s what he’s done in this sales letter as well. There’s one component of the software that generates presuppositions. The paragraph ends:

"These presuppositions will cause your readers to automatically believe what you want them to believe."

Hmm. What a claim. Somehow I’m not automatically believing it. And, I laughed out loud once I realized that a presupposition right here would have been perfect. Instead, the writer chose to bludgeon me over the head with an overt hard sell without even attempting to provide proof.

There are some uses of NLP type patterns scattered throughout the letter, no doubt about that. Hopefully you can see that if you’re obvious about it, it could backfire on you.

Stay tuned for more on NLP copywriting.

Evolution of a paragraph

Glyphius Paragraph Editing

These are two examples of how statistical analysis can turn mediocre paragraphs into winners. The same refining is completed for headlines.

The changed word is struck out. An inserted word is denoted by <<insertedword>>. The score for each paragraph is at the end of each entry.

Example 1:

Changing 4 words changed the score from a 180 to a 500 – a relative 278% increase in effectiveness.

Regardless of the industry you specialize in, you’ll find something for your tastes. There are professional services, credit cards, business software, nonprofit fundraising, nutritional supplements, health clinics and even a parrot training video. There are subscriptions to members only sites, newsletters, newspapers, and magazines of all shapes and sizes. – Score: 180

Regardless of the industry you specialize in, you’ll find something for your tastes. There are professional services, credit cards, business software, nonprofit fundraising, nutritional supplements, health clinics and even a parrot training <<movie>>. There are subscriptions to members only sites, newsletters, newspapers, and magazines of all shapes and sizes. – Score: 282

Regardless of the industry you specialize in, you’ll find something for your tastes. There are professional services, credit cards, business software, nonprofit fundraising, nutritional supplements, health clinics and even parrot training <<instruction>>. There are subscriptions to members only sites, newsletters, newspapers, and magazines of all shapes and sizes. – Score: 338

Regardless of the industry you specialize in, you’ll find something for your tastes. There are professional services, credit cards, business software, nonprofit fundraising, nutritional supplements, health clinics and parrot training instruction. There are subscriptions to members only sites, newsletters, newspapers, and magazines of all shapes and sizes. – Score: 356

Regardless of the industry you specialize in, you’ll find something for your tastes. There are professional services, credit cards, <<enterprise>> software, nonprofit fundraising, nutritional supplements, health clinics and parrot training instruction. There are subscriptions to members only sites, newsletters, newspapers, and magazines of all shapes and sizes. – Score: 414

Regardless of the <<market>> you specialize in, you’ll find something for your tastes. There are professional services, credit cards, enterprise software, nonprofit fundraising, nutritional supplements, health clinics and parrot training instruction. There are subscriptions to members only sites, newsletters, newspapers, and magazines of all shapes and sizes. – Score: 500

Example 2:

A negative score to 500 is an infinite improvement. Deleting all of the original paragraph would have resulted in a measurable increase in conversion.

“75 All-Star Secrets for Writing Winning Copy.” AWAI believes you can never have enough tips from the pros. Not that you have to use them all in every letter…but if just one inspires you to write a great letter, it’s worth reading. That’s why this report is such a great resource. t recaps the 75 most-important things you need to know as a copywriter — quickly and concisely – complete with real-life examples that drive the message home in an instant. – Score: -10

“75 All-Star Secrets for Writing Winning Copy.” AWAI believes you can <<always>> have <<more>> tips from the pros. Not that you have to use them all in every letter…but if just one inspires you to write a great letter, it’s worth reading. That’s why this report is such a great resource. It recaps the 75 most-important things you need to know as a copywriter — quickly and concisely – complete with real-life examples that drive the message home in an instant. – Score: 65

“75 All-Star Secrets for Writing Winning Copy.” AWAI believes you can always have more tips from the pros. Not that you have to use them all in every letter…but if just one inspires you to write a great letter, it’s worth reading. That’s why this report is such a great resource. It recaps the 75 most-important things you need to <<be aware of>> as a copywriter — quickly and concisely – complete <<including>> real-life examples that drive the message home in an instant. – Score: 212

“75 All-Star Secrets for Writing Winning Copy.” AWAI believes you can always <<profit from>> more tips from the pros. Not that you have to use them all in every letter…but if just one inspires you to write a great letter, it’s worth reading. That’s why this report is such a great resource. It recaps the 75 most-important things you need to be aware of as a copywriter — quickly and concisely – complete including real-life examples that drive the message home in an instant. – Score: 221

“75 All-Star Secrets for Writing Winning Copy.” AWAI believes you can always profit from more tips from the pros. Not that you have to use them all in every letter…but if just one inspires you to write a great letter, it’s worth reading. That’s why this report is such a great resource. It recaps the 75 most-important things you need to be aware of as a <<marketer>> — quickly and concisely – complete including real-life examples that drive the message home in an instant. – Score: 240

“75 All-Star Secrets for Writing Winning Copy.” AWAI believes you can always profit from more tips from the pros. Not that you have to use them all in every letter…but if just one inspires you to write a <<winning>> letter, it’s worth reading. That’s why this report is such <<an effective>> resource. It recaps the 75 most-important things you need to be aware of as a marketer — quickly and concisely – complete including
real-life examples that drive the message home in an instant. – Score: 282

“75 All-Star Secrets for Writing Winning Copy.” AWAI believes you can always profit from more tips from the pros. Not that you have to use them all in every letter…but if just one inspires you to write a <<control>>, it’s worth reading. That’s why this report is such an effective resource. It recaps the 75 most-important things you need to be aware of as a marketer — quickly and concisely – complete including real-life examples that drive the message home in an instant. – Score: 284

“75 All-Star Secrets for Writing Winning Copy.” AWAI believes you can always profit from more tips from the pros. <<There’s a limit to how much you can pack into a>> letter… but if one inspires you to write a control, it’s worth reading. That’s why this report is such an effective resource. It recaps the 75 most-important things you need to be aware of as a marketer — quickly and concisely – complete including real-life examples that drive the message home in an instant. – Score: 481

“75 All-Star Secrets for Writing Winning Copy.” AWAI believes you can always profit from more tips from the pros. There’s only so much you can pack into a letter… <<though>> if one <<tactic>> inspires you to write a control, it’s worth reading. That’s why this report is such an effective resource. It recaps the 75 most-important things you need to be aware of as a marketer — quickly and concisely – complete including real-life examples that drive the message home in an instant. – Score: 501

 

Back on track

I’m happy with the look of my blog again.

A couple of notable changes are that I took the pages off the sidebar. It seemed a bit cluttered to me.

Instead, I’m going to post the couple of pages that had to do with improving copy so they’ll be searchable as well. The new look also emphasizes that I’m going to be more product than service oriented in the future. That will be more evident once I have a product to offer.

Of course if the cure to cancer or a water powered car were developed, I’d probably jump at the chance to write the copy for those kinds of things.

In the meantime, I’m planning an entry level NLP copywriting product. The certification process I went through last year was 3 full days plus a written assignment. The cost was $1000 plus travel and accommodations. If you opted for the DVDs instead (I got those too), you paid the same amount.

Most of the material on the market regarding NLP and marketing is either fairly expensive ($1000+) or rather low in quality. Written and spoken NLP definitely have some significant differences that could backfire.

If there’s something you’d like to see in a product like this, feel free to comment or email me at writing at louisrburns dot com.

Almost there…

As you can see, I’ve transferred the hosting over for my site.

I’m still working out a few bugs including in my email. If you email me today, it probably won’t work.

The whole process was much easier than I was expecting. I exported my content, installed WordPress on a new domain directory, waited for the domain name servers to switch back, and then imported my content onto the new site. I’m still customizing a few things to clean it up.

Switching blog hosting over soon

I was trying to identify where some of my traffic comes from the other day.

I noticed that under some search engine terms, it finds my content but the title is something like:

Copywriting – Blogs, Pictures and more on WordPress

Yes, if they follow the link, they’ll find me but that’s not what I had in mind. I realized that I need to switch the hosting over to my own hosting service rather than let WordPress host it. I set this all up and figured it out as I went so I’m learning.

I was actually trying to model Bob Bly’s website. I think he’s more a corporate B2B kind of guy. Even he has gotten into the information product industry too. The result is that this blog looks a little schizophrenic.

I realize some of my pages aren’t what they could be. I’m planning to set up a new blog on this domain and restore all the blogs and comments. I imagine some of the permalinks will change so I apologize if that wrecks your business plan. And I’ll back and put the pages in as posts. Then I’ll set up a separate domain for products and services I’m offering.

Hopefully James Brausch won’t think I’m a retard after that. Not that he’s said that. That’s just what I would think of my site if I were him. He’s probably looking at my site wondering why I haven’t created any products. You’d think if I read his blog, I’d be following his valuable advice more closely. I guess I’m a little slow. I’ll get there eventually.

When you want more testimonials or endorsements

Most companies and individuals could benefit from bigger name endorsements.

Many of us are still working on building those connections. In the meantime, I recommend you check out today’s post on NLP Language Patterns for Advertising.

In "Expert Rub Off," Lou tells you how to make it look like you have anyone’s endorsement without actually getting it. To the casual observer, it feels like you’ve gotten the endorsement of a pretty big name.

Go see: http://nlplanguagepatterns.blogspot.com/2008/01/expert-rub-off-what-kind-of-guru-are.html

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