First I got hooked on “24. " Then I got addicted to “Lost. " Now I can’t wait until Monday night to watch “Heroes. "
Do you know what all three of these TV shows have in common? Cliffhangers.
Not only do these shows have characters in peril or confronted with a puzzle at the end of each episode, Cliffhangers abound throughout the show. Just before commercial breaks or just before the story switches to another character, the writers find ways to leave the viewer hanging.
And people like me are left to wonder what will happen to Jack Bauer all week until the next episode of “24. "
The lesson for freelance copywriters here is that you can greatly improve your ad copy, web content or sales letters by writing your own cliffhangers.
One copywriter I know writes long sales letters, which often run 10 or more pages in length. In order to keep readers flipping the pages, he will put little cliffhangers at the bottom of each page. They will say things like:
"Beware, there are 3 common pitfalls that can be fatal to your small business, and will cost you tens of thousands of dollars unless you know how to avoid them. See the next page for more information. "
Honestly, you don’t have to make your cliffhangers that overt (although at times you should). Just remember:
- When you raise an issue, don’t resolve it on the same page,
- As soon as you resolve an issue, raise another.
As you write, just think of Jack Bauer. In less than 20 minutes, nerve gas is going to be released in some public place in the city. Hundreds of innocent people will die unless he can find the villains before they strike. In the meantime, Jack’s daughter is missing and presumed to be in the hands of a deranged killer.
Jack has only one choice. He must …
COPYRIGHT(C)2006, Charles Brown. All rights reserved.
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