Chapter 11 of “Hypnotic Writing” is about writing in your own voice. Joe notes that everyone has their own way of talking about things and encourages us to let that shine. He calls it writing with intimacy.
What copywriters typically call this is writing conversationally. It means writing the way you talk. The funny thing about that is that some people… well they’re hard to understand when they talk. Joe quotes Mark Twain saying that if people tried to talk the way most of us were taught to write, we’d all stutter.
So yes, write in a conversational voice. If you’re a copywriter, you’ll end up writing in other people’s conversational voices. That’s where modeling comes in. I was actually reading a Dan Kennedy promotion the other day and it was fairly clear to me that Dan Kennedy didn’t write it (not that I would have thought he would have anyway). I’d link to it but I just checked and they have a page saying the offer is expired.
Who wrote it? It doesn’t matter. The point is that whoever wrote it clearly wasn’t comfortable writing in Kennedy’s famous “No BS” style of speaking. It felt contrived. Not hypnotic, not intimate, not authenic and so no credible. If the copywriter could have modeled Kennedy first, the copy would have sounded conversational from Kennedy – instead of someone trying to pretend to be Kennedy.
Chapter 12 of “Hypnotic Writing” asks what’s more important than the copy. If you’ve been in direct marketing very long at all, you already know the answer: it’s the list, THEN the offer, THEN the copy. If you do so-so on the copy but nail the list and offer, you can still make money. If you have an exceptional offer and copy but you send it to the wrong list of people, it will flop.
Joe then tells a story about how he tried making an offer one time without any copy and they ended up with a buyer anyway. Truthfully, there actually was some copy – his email telling people to go look at this new traffic method that people were already desperate to see. So it did have copy after all. Just not very much or very good copy.
I’ve seen others online test not having a sales letter as well. I don’t know how well that works. Maybe if you have a hot enough list you can throw just about anything at it. I’d question what kind of message that sends your list if you care about your long term relationship with them.
The next chapter is on an actual case study with some actual numbers. Don’t miss it.