Now and then somebody spouts off and decides to reveal…
“The single most powerful word in copywriting.”
You can’t help but read these articles. No matter how long you’ve been at it, you wonder if you’re missing something.
After all, good copywriters are curious.
And the promise of “The single most powerful word in copywriting” is textbook fear of loss in full bloom.
But these proclamations typically turn out to be rehash or a flawed simplification of what we already know.
We run into the usual suspects… words like “You,” “Free,” and “Now.”
Copywriter Doug D’Anna takes a thoughtful approach to the topic when he suggests that the two most powerful words in copywriting are: “So what?”
Doug reminds us that these are the words that capture the thoughts of the prospect, thoughts we need to acknowledge and dismantle if we’re going to melt inertia and ignite response.
He’s absolutely right.
And the actual words we write to try and crack open this indifference?
Well, we all have our favorites.
“You” is tough to beat, but easy to overuse.
A good way around this problem is to shift the copy into the first person plural with “We.”
“We” binds. It cements an implied agreement. It tears down walls.
The trick is to use “You” before you use “We.” Properly ordered, carefully structured, “We” becomes an incredibly potent pronoun. As Robert Cialdini explains…
“When people see themselves as part of a larger group that has a shared identity, they are willing to take steps they wouldn’t take for their individual interests.”
That’s how you crack inertia. That’s how we melt away indifference.
The next time I see somebody promising to reveal the #1 word in copywriting, I’ll check it out.
I’ll probably read the piece with what Doug D’Anna reminds us is inescapable skepticism.
And I’ll probably keep leaning on my favorite words, borrowed with appreciation from my heroes Eugene Schwartz, John Caples, and Maxwell Sackheim.