Been ruminating on this one for a little while now but it’s probably one of the most profound discoveries of my life. It all began with a little book about music and it’s had such a deep influence on my copywriting and small business, indeed my whole outlook on life, I'd like to share it with you all now.
Here’s what happened…
About 8 years ago I bought the book “Man and Music In India” by Roshmi Goswami and was introduced to a staggering thought from within it’s pages… that every note sounded by a musician is actually a container for the spirit of the musician.
Now breaking that open further I began to see that (I’m a musician myself; drummer, guitar player) as the notes of a musician could be filled by the very soul or spirit of the musician himself or even God or demons (if you believe in them) so the notes were almost like little boats that each musician filled with their persona unique to them and by plucking, singing, striking the note they in essence ‘launched’ it out into the waves of the sea of sound where it eventually reaches the ‘port’ of it’s destination - the audiences hearing ear, who gladly receive and enjoy it (or otherwise if a bad musician).
In my mind’s eye I saw each musical piece therefore (stick with me here - it’s worth it I promise) as composed of thousands of little boats (the notes) sent out to sail across the sea of sound by vibration (the waves) to the audiences listening intently on the other side of that ’sound sea’.
For many years I thought about this and then realised (sorry I’m a bit slow on the uptake sometimes!) that this didn’t just apply to notes in music but more deeply and profoundly it actually applied to the very stuff of life itself - WORDS.
As such every single every single word you say or write is a container, a ‘little boat’ as it were… that actually contains YOU! The question is what fills your ‘little boat’ before you launch it out to sea?
If the light bulb has not gone on yet it will, just keep pondering the bigger picture above - perhaps of a lone master violinist or a sitar and tabla player deeply intwined in an intricate Indian raga and before long you’ll understand exactly what I’m driving at… and it’s deep, very profound.
When you apply the above metaphor to words you see the little boats not as notes just being “containers for the music and spirit of the musician” but rather words as little ships themselves that contain YOUR very essence, spirit, soul and persona.
Every time you speak or write a single line you release a little ‘Armada’ of these little boats out onto the sea of existence itself - if speaking, then out onto the splashing waves of the ’sea of sound’ - if writing, then even more deeply into the sea of ‘heart to heart direct communication’ itself… without a sound, directly to the target.
What’ s so profound about the written word is it’s ability (when the writing is good) to bypass all the defences humans erect against other human’s intrusion and drop directly into the emotional and decision making part of the heart to evoke powerful responses. That’s also good if you want to sell something to someone.
My wife didn’t even know I really had feelings for her in the first months of us knowing each other and she’d moved to another town 65 miles away - I wrote her a letter; it was pretty powerful (I was terrible at controlling my emotions then and splurged the clumsy letter full of poetry and undying declarations of love etc!) and she phoned me saying she was surprised at my feelings for her; within 8 weeks we were married and that was 17 years ago.
Prior to the letter I’d just been a fleeting aquaintance and if I’d tried face to face I’d probably have blown it being so nervous and all but; the words carrying my spirit, passion, persona bypassed all her natural resistance and… melted her heart!
So what’s this all got to do with copywriting? Well a massive amount really; the point I’m trying to uncover here is that you reveal your very personality through every single word you write… even if there are some aspects you’d rather not show to others, especially prospects or clients.
Each little copywriting ‘word boat’ is saturated with an invisible (to you but not your readers), almost DNA like substance which betrays who you really are to everyone who reads what you write.
Eek! Kinda scarey…
So putting your best food forward for business doesn’t mean covering up the nasty bits and hoping folks won’t find them. Their ’sixth sense’ tells them to avoid you or do business with you because the ’substance’ leaks out from the little boats to alert them to who the real you is, whether you like it or not.
Rather, you fix what’s wrong in your business, align who and what you are with an honest decent direction and let that saturate all your future messages as you roll out your campaigns to win the world. Then your transparency will win you friends and business… you become attractive.
Never forget when your words drop through someones letter box, email box or arrive through the ether on a telephone wire folks instantly know deep in their gut whether you’re the ‘real deal’ or not.
You can’t hide it - when you wrote your copy or launched into your sales pitch you filled your ‘little boat’ with who you really are, your own unique DNA … probably without even knowing it.
Think about your copywriting this way; yes you’ve got to grab attention, give the other person what they want, see things from their perspective, give them the benefits up front etc but when it comes to your USP and what makes YOU special, make sure your entire message is drenched in your unique, niche tailored, custom fitted, perfectly targeted USP… but it must be done with absolute honesty or they will know, they just will.
I remember years ago working for a photocopying company - I was the best in the whole company at getting appointments yet useless at selling them if I went on an appointment; why? Because although I’d admitted it to no one including myself at the time - I hated photocopiers (they are so boring) and the people could instantly tell that when I spoke about them.
On the other hand I loved getting appointments for the company (I secretly hoped the boss would send the other ‘good reps’ on the calls) and that’s why I did so well at setting them, people were instantly turned on by my words down the phone to them because I was passionate about lead generation.
My boats were full to to the top with unique ‘Dave Alston-ness!’ and people loved it so they set appointments with me.
You also need to be special, unique, different for someone to do business with you these days because folks can so easily go somewhere else at the click of a mouse - align your business with who you really should be.
Ensure every word you say, or write is filled to the brim with the right spirit and true integrity and allow the ’sea’ to carry each ‘little boat’ directly into every single heart you target. You’ll be amazed at what happens.
Make no mistake, in these increasingly impersonal and troubled times people value enriching business ‘partnerships’ they can rely on and will give them their business. But you’ll only get them by targeting the heart… and they’ll only let you in if they can instantly sense they can trust you.
People want to know you care - they’ll sense it instantly; good or bad, when your ‘word ship’ arrives whether you want them to or not. So why not examine all your words verbal and written from how your small business answers the phone, your voice mails, your sales letters, autoresponder messages, right through to your web site content? Replace defective words with heart to heart communication instead.
Check if your communications really are brimming with the good stuff you want others to see in your business when they get word from you. Don’t send them containers full of refuse with your good companies name on it without even realising it. The world’s got too much of it already… spam. Send out a little fleet of ‘word ships’ filled with gold to make peoples lives better instead.
That’s just one tiny copywriting secret I’ve gleaned so far from the Indian Mystics. Keep your eyes peeled for the next article it’s ‘The Indian Rope Trick’.
Dave Alston is the Author of ‘Revealed: The Hidden Truth About Web Design’ and owner of http://www.aceofwebs.com - small business web success driven by crystal clear copywriting. Subscribe to his ‘Ace Tips’ marketing RSS feed by copying and pasting http://www.aceofwebs.co.uk/rss/wp-rss2.php into your RSS Reader.