I have seen a couple variations of this exercise over the years. The one I am currently using is by the late Ted Nicholas an author featured in our How to Create Million Dollar Products program. His book, How to Form a Corporation Without a Lawyer for Under $50, was a best-seller in what is basically a pretty boring market, PLUS, he did it singlehandedly, through placing display advertisements in print publications.
Mr. Nicholas was an effective copywriter and here is his formula for appealing to people’s emotional triggers:
If I had unlimited God-like powers and could grant you any result or benefit from my product, what would it be?
The first thing to notice about his question is that it forces you to focus on the customer’s needs. Not your need for sales or money.
The second point is that it takes your thoughts away from the mechanical and harnesses your imagination.
So when you are performing this exercise you are in blue sky territory. You stop thinking about the rational aspects of your product and veer into pure emotion.
For example, if you have a weight loss program, the rational benefit is that you can lose 20 pounds in 30 days.
Using the headline exercise above, you might write something like, “Show up at your high school reunion looking even better than you did 20 years ago!”
Do you see the difference?
The rational benefit of your product is good by itself. But it doesn’t capture the customer’s imagination, never mind trigger their deep emotional need.
This exercise will do two things for you:
- You will come up with some catchy headlines! Wordplay comes to life when you sit down and commit to writing 100 headlines. And yes, I mean literally 100. Once you get flowing, I believe you will easily go further than that.
- You will discover your customer’s emotional triggers. You will likely discover several, though a couple will stick out as winner.
Just for fun, let me give you an example, since I am trying to sell you on the idea of sitting down and writing 100 headlines according to the formula above:
In just 15 minutes this simple exercise will unlock the creative genius that you know is inside of you!