How sleeping with your readers will improve your copy

July 3, 2012 | By | 3 Replies More

Coming up with a headline that will grab your reader’s attention is hard.

You might spend weeks writing and testing different ideas for nothing.

Even if the product or service you’re selling is amazing, it doesn’t necessarily make writing a captivating headline any easier…

But there is an exercise you can do that will help you come up with headlines that have a much greater chance of success.

And strangely, it involves spending some time in your reader’s bed!

Of course, I don’t literally mean you should get in bed with the person you’re selling to…

Thinking about what keeps your reader up at night will help you write better copy

Thinking about what keeps your reader up at night will help you write better copy

Instead, you should spend some time considering what your reader is thinking about when they’re in bed.

In fact, the key thing to consider is what keeps that person up at night?

You see, that’s how you really captivate someone: you speak directly to the worries they carry with them – and we all carry many worries – so that you can provide them with a possible solution.

Now, because it’s the product or service you’re selling that must ultimately provide the solution, the worry you’re looking to tap into should be related in some way.

For example, if you’re selling a forex strategy, rather than tapping into a concern your reader has about their health… you need to confront their fears of losing money through trading.

That said, it’s not impossible to direct your headline towards a less associated fear, as you’ll see in a moment.

First though, you should start this exercise by thinking about the most direct concern…

So, say you’re selling a book on back pain. The most direct concern and the thing that most keeps a person up at night in this case would perhaps be the worry that the pain will never relent.

Having established this, you can now aim your headline to address this concern in some way.

Don’t be too obvious, though.

I mean, you might think a solution headline is the natural choice here (How to put a permanent stop to your pain), but a statement (Back pain doesn’t need to be forever) or a question (Did you think that back pain had to last forever too?) could potentially work just as well.

In each case, the key is that your headline directly targets the thing that keeps your reader up at night… and therefore gives you the best chance of capturing his or her attention.

This is the most direct route, but as I say, it is possible to try something a little more indirect…

In the case of the book on back pain, you might decide that rather than targeting the readers concern of ongoing pain, you could target a worry they have about being able to work properly and therefore get by financially (e.g. Overcome the secret financial fear you’re keeping from your family).

This is more abstract and relies on the reader naturally associating their problem with this potentially ‘deeper’ problem. To help them make such a connection, it’s worth following a headline like this with a subhead that makes the connection for them.

Alternatively, you could wait until much further into the promotion before you make the connection. This will probably mean you have a wider audience to begin with, but it could work against you if you’ve got too many people reading who don’t have back pain. The time they’ve spent reading will go unrewarded.

Still, it’s an approach worth thinking about.

What’s ultimately important here, though, is the fact that your headline is in some way directed at the thing that keeps your reader up at night.

If you can immediately speak to one of those concerns, you WILL grab the reader’s attention and it will put you in a good position to continue captivating the reader with the rest of your promotion.


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Category: Emotionals

About the Author ()

Glenn Fisher was born in Grimsby in 1981. After a number of years working in the local council, he left to become a copywriter and founded, a free online resource for direct response copywriters and marketers. For over a decade he worked with The Agora, a multi-million pound international financial publisher and in 2018, having helped launch and grow Agora Financial in the UK, he left to write copy on a freelance basis, focus on coaching aspiring copywriters and publish his first book, The Art of the Click. He now lives happily with his partner Ruth and dog Pablo on the east coast of England.

Comments (3)

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  1. CathCopy says:

    This is a good way to think about it that I haven’t thought of before. Thanks.

  2. John Edwards says:

    Agree 100%. The only thing that matters is what your prospects are worrying about.

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