Every copywriter wants their ideas to resonate with the intended audience. But what makes some ideas resonate and leave a lasting impression? And what makes other ideas completely ineffective?
As brothers Chip and Dan Heath say in Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, “you want to invent new ideas, not new rules.” So, they’ve created a playbook that offers a framework for creating ideas that are more likely to, well, stick.
Chip, a professor of organizational behavior at Stanford University, and Dan, a former researcher at Harvard, shaped the framework around six key areas: simple, unexpected, concrete, credible, emotional, and stories.
As a copywriter, all of these sections are highly relevant to writing effective copy.
But the first, simple, is a critical one that many would-be copywriters overlook. Keeping things “simple” doesn’t mean talking down to someone. It means getting to the core of an idea.
That is a crucial first step for any copywriting project. It’s easy to look at a brief and feel like you need to pack in a ton of information into an email, a landing page, or any other deliverable. But without identifying the core message? You’re going to have a hodgepodge of copy that your target audience may not give a first glance, never mind a second.
You’ll also want to pay close attention to the “Emotional” section. In this part of the book, Chip and Dan show you how to get to the benefit of the benefit for a deeper emotional connection (e.g. someone may not care about a 1/4″ drill bit, but they need the 1/4″ drill bit to hang their children’s photos on their walls).
Chip and Dan take you through examples that bring the concepts to life, like filmmakers who want to make their project seem viable, so they pitch the storyline to the execs using successful films the execs already know. (As in, “This movie is like Jaws meets When Harry Met Sally.” That is not an actual example in the book, but it gives you a good visual, right?)
No matter where you are in your copywriting journey, Made to Stick will give you inspiration for taking a fresh approach to your copywriting projects.
And, it may just help you write copy that’s extra sticky.
Your Turn! What are your tips and tactics for creating ideas that resonate with your target audience? Share in the comments below!