Don’t worry, Superstar: in part two we’ll reintroduce the ego. While it’s often viewed negatively, we’ve developed it for a reason: self-awareness.
From an evolutionary perspective, our ego developed as a way to assert our individuality apart from the tribe. Freud stated that the ego’s function was to satisfy the Id (the primal and impulsive part of our consciousness); act as liaison between the darkness of the unconscious and our moral compass, the superego; and adhere to the reality principle.
In simple terms: it’s what makes realistic decisions based on our needs and desires.
This makes it incredibly helpful when we need to draw energy from it.
Many people believe the blind confidence they harness to take on new endeavors is some kind of sub-confidence.
A boxer who already sees himself as the champion, even though he’s early in his career, is borrowing confidence from the ego.
Don’t believe me? See the UFC fighter Conor McGregor.
Our ego also protects us. It makes decisions believed to be logical based on our unique experiences.
For some, this can be debilitating.
If you rely on ego alone, you lack stronger psychological makeups for which you’re compensating, which is still a form of the ego protecting you from being exposed. It is an innate part of our psyche.
But again, it can stand in the way of forming human bonds.
The second point we discussed was removing ego when listening to those we seek to help. This is so you can gain insight into the hearts and minds of others, without their words being distorted by your own perceptions.
In other words, listen fully to what people are saying, without forming judgment, and hastily diagnosing, explaining, or attempting to inspire. The words they share are your golden ticket, as I said, and to cash that in we will now speak with ego suspended.
When you communicate with your market, people you want to help, or qualified prospects ready for change, it’s easy to slip back into the ego, and rattle on about what dreams or transformations you can help them achieve.
Because of course, logically, you know you’re right. But as a wise man on Twitter once said: that ain’t it, chief.
The goal of great personal development copywriting is to ensure the person you’re speaking to feels understood.
This means you will suspend your ego further, carry on a dialogue with your market, and reflect back their own language.
What I have heard consistently from every great copywriter throughout history is that your best copy and messaging will have come directly from the mouths of people in your market.
Your benefit statements, your headlines, your ad copy, your social posts, your media outreach—all of the copy you use to communicate with your market in hopes of driving action and sales must be written in terms they can understand.
Our ego hates this. Mine specifically. As a creative person, I want my grand invention of wildly inventive, yet simplistic enough for people to understand, prose to be the savior; not even sex satifies me more than being recognized for any success that comes from my genius wordplay.
And while there are a handful of those experiences throughout a life, a much more common one is when you’re out-geniused by the simple, obvious option right under your nose.
Fight the urge to let your ego win, Superstar.
To use myself as an example again, one of my most debilitating biases is my desire to be original, and not rehash something that’s been done. This is good artistry, but bad marketing if you want to generate results.
A well-known expert in the marketing industry ran a very successful promotional campaign, which we’ll nickname “The Marketing Masterclass.” One of the agencies I was under contract with had generated some results from a campaign idea I’d come up with, which was to do live sales copy reviews, then invite the attendees to purchase event tickets.
Eventually these reviews began to convert less as our list grew accustomed to our attempts at running them every quarter. The suggested fix was to run our very own Marketing Masterclass.
After all, the original promotion from the well-known expert had generated millions of dollars.
I scoffed silently to myself. They simply wanted to copy someone else. How unoriginal. Where’s the innovative prowess in that?
But no one cared about my ego, and the promotion was very successful, more so than mine. The agency’s Marketing Masterclass generated results for close to two years before it began to decline. And I was not involved.
Speak with your ego suspended, Superstar; you will reap the rewards.
I once wrote a campaign for a commercial cleaning franchise company who, in essence, helped people start tiny cleaning empires in their area.
The market was made up of blue collar folks who wanted to work for themselves, but didn’t know a ton about business.
One of the great things about this company was they actually helped their franchisees get their first accounts. Someone from the team would fly to wherever the new biz owner was located and show them how to approach property owners, sell the service, and deliver an excellent customer experience.
However, the company framed the feature this way:
“We’ll show you how to market, sell, and operate your cleaning service, with procedures that work.”
Remember, the people they wanted to connect with weren’t business savvy; terms like market, sell, operate, and procedures would either not get the benefit across to them, or scare them away because they sound unfamiliar and out of reach.
So we went back to the research and looked at what their prospective customers were actually saying:
“I want to start a business but I don’t know what to do; I don’t know where to start.”
At no point were people saying they wanted to learn how to market, sell, and operate a business.
But the fact that the company did all this for their franchisees was a feature we had to highlight, so we framed it this way:
You can start generating business right away. Even if you don’t know where to start, we’ll guide you through every step of the process (once you understand just a few basic principles, you’ll be good to go—we’ll even help you get your first few customers; no matter where you are, we’ll fly to you).
What people really want when they follow claims like this down into the depths of YouTube is flow or focus.
The way to achieve this without drugs is through optimization: either optimize your time for flow, or optimize your habits to better consume information.
But no one wants to rearrange their life for more focus and flow—they just want the ability to:
There’s a reason why Brendon Burchard provides you with a “high performance GPS, to help you navigate life’s biggest challenges, like fights with your spouse, problems at work, or other major setbacks.”
Because people aren’t looking for training on interpersonal relationship skills and emotional regulation.
Copywriting & Messaging Principle #10: Provoke The Child
The Freudian inner-child has seen a resurgence. This provides opportunity twofold: your market willingly engages with you about concepts they believe they understand, and you move them further into transformation.