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Archive for August, 2018

More bad marketing advice to steer clear of

August 3rd, 2018 by Bob Bly

A marketing seminar company sent me an email invitation to a
workshop on “brand journalism.”

The headline read: “Your old strategies aren’t cutting it
anymore. It’s time to trade in boring copy for sharp storytelling
and amazing visuals.”

This message can be taken two ways.

The surface message makes sense: (a) copy should not be boring,
(b) storytelling is an effective marketing technique and (c) so
are great visuals.

I don’t think anyone would argue with that.

But the way I read it, I see a subtle dig at traditional
marketing and a plug for bright shiny objects.

Specifically the message to me reads: (a) copywriting is old hat,
ineffective, and rapidly becoming obsolete; (b) telling stories
works, and old-fashioned copy that sells doesn’t; and (c) people
look at pictures but don’t read copy any more.

And if that’s indeed what they meant, then you can do yourself no
greater disservice by listening to them.

Why not? Let’s examine each claim:

A–“Copywriting is old hat, ineffective, and obsolete.”

My clients and others who are making millions of dollars from
long-copy sales letter, video sales letter, and multi-page direct
mail laugh at this — all the way to the bank.

Content, social media, infographics, and blogging all have their
place. But at the end of the day, nothing happens until the sale
is made. And it’s copy that makes the sale.

B–“Storytelling trumps copy.”

Storytelling is a great copywriting technique. Some of the most
famous advertising sold a ton based on a good story.

But if you think storytelling is the only way to write copy, you
are sadly mistaken.

C–“People don’t read and graphics are king.”

The old saw supporting in this is “One picture is worth a
thousand words.”

But a promotion combining those 1,000 words with great pictures
will likely outsell pictures alone by a country mile.

You may argue, “Well, video is pictures, and that works.”

But before you shoot your video, you write a script — which is
words and copy.

So the idea that video makes words irrelevant is patently

The bottom line?

Getting sucked in and overly smitten with bright shiny objects —
and abandoning the persuasion methods that have been proven for
decades — risks driving the sales curve way down.


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