January 24, 2020

“Never use jargon words like re-conceptualize, demassification,

       attitudinally, judgmentally; they are hallmarks of a pretentious ass”

                                                                                            -David Ogilvy

There are times you can use words like the ones above…but you better be sure your audience uses them in their daily language too.

And the reverse is true: Find the sweet spot with the words you use with your tribe—which is usually at a “5th grade level”—and not because your online or offline family is dumb: They are just busy and looking for language they recognize, language they can relate to easily—and it partially comes down to using simpler (and smaller) words.

But what are the correct words that will make your audience vibrate?

No matter who your audience is, the words are easy to find if you are curious…and diligent.

I’ve used the example of Donald Trump in the past—with no political judgment– for classic examples of “copy to list.”

He rarely, if ever, says a word that is not part of the common speech of his followers.

And I don’t think he’s ever used the word “re-conceptualize” either. He knows his audience.

How can you find this out too?

First, find out where your audience hangs out.

For example, do you know of online forums they relate to and share their ideas? You can find out much about their language that way.

Or…what do they read?

You can troll Amazon reviews of books which are relevant to them and find language they use there too.

You can also spend time marketing by walking around. I love this from Gary Halbert:

Maybe he didn’t need forums or Amazon to come up with this one—but he did it by walking around on the outside, paying attention to everyone and everything related to his market.

Halbert, Eugene Schwartz (and many others) actually know the opposite is true (as Schwartz also described):

“This is the copywriter’s task: Not to create mass desire–but to channel and direct it.”

What does that really mean?

I think what Gene is saying is that it’s a lot easier to write and promote when you know your audience and their desires. The desire is already in the market.

Or maybe it’s as simple as “the list is the most important part of the campaign.”

And that the creative and copy is the least important part of any promotion…until it’s not.

Coming from one of the greatest copywriters ever this can’t be ignored.

Bottom line: Congruent marketing and copy, with an eye on always creating value first (which is a hallmark of online marketing today), is critical.

And choosing the right words is not magic…it can be learned and honed like anything else.

Forums, Amazon, “marketing by walking around”—along with surveys and asking folks what they really want—are all techniques to do that.

And I’ll tell you about a magical book in the P.S. that can help you as well.

Claude Hopkins, in his 1923 classic Scientific Advertising (available in an illustrated and annotated version as a free PDF at www.TheLegendsBook.com), said this:

“The best ads ask no one to buy…but they are based on the knowledge of human nature. The writers know how people are lead to buy. Here again is salesmanship”

Doesn’t that sound like what you would always like to do with your sales copy?

I would add that it is a combination of knowing about human nature (see Gene Schwartz’s classic Breakthrough Advertising) and also studying your particular market.

And don’t use a longer word when a smaller one will do.



P.S. I am at my Titans Mastermind this week in Austin with guest speakers Ryan Levesque, Jesse Cannone, Yanik Silver, Joel Erway, Joshua Lee and Tucker Max.

It was spectacular…and I will send “dispatches from the battlefield” in the coming weeks.

(And if you ever want to apply for a seat, you can do that here.) There is a waiting list right now but I am always interested in new applications.

At this meeting, and others in the past, the issue of speaking in the language of your audience, using smaller words, and choosing the right words, came up once again.

This is one of the most important considerations when you are assembling any kind of copy.

In that spirit, I will quote Gene Schwartz again…he not only is responsible for, “I don’t write copy I assemble it”–but this too:

            “There is your audience. There is their language. There are the words that they use”

He backed these statements up by writing The Brilliance Breakthrough, How To Talk And Write So That People Will Never Forget You.

It was a lost classic—even more lost than Breakthrough Advertising–but it is lost no more.

And Gene created exercises inside the book to teach you how to choose the right words when you write–and not just when you are writing sales copy either.

I also created a workbook because I was taught never to write inside classic books (or any other books for that matter!). That way you can do the exercises on the side.

Read more about the book here.

Even if you don’t buy it, I think you will find the story behind this valuable book (and how it became lost and then found) fascinating.

I found it—and I brought it back to life when I saw a copy for as much as $2,000 on Amazon.

And the cheapest price was $450 (without a workbook).

It was a no brainer to make it available again. Check it out.

About the author 

Brian Kurtz

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