When you say the word “data” few people perk up their ears. It’s a cold word that brings to mind row after row of zeros and ones.
Yet you and I need data to help us make sound business decisions, uncover lost opportunities, and perfect our current efforts.
So how do you talk about software that sorts through massive amounts of complicated data? What’s the benefit? How about curing cancer?
See, if you want people to care about your copy, then something has to be at risk. And the higher the stakes, the more compelling the copy.
To show you what I mean let’s look at the copy behind the explainer video by Ayasdi Iris.
In this episode I discuss:
- The mistake people make with data scientists (and mathematicians)
- Advice about copywriting from zero-sum sports games
- Death as the ultimate ramification
The Show Notes
The Two Things That Make a Dull Product Irresistible
Voiceover: Rainmaker.FM is brought to you by The Showrunner Podcasting Course, your step-by-step guide to developing, launching, and running a remarkable show. Registration for the course is open August 3rd through the 14th, 2015. Go to ShowrunnerCourse.com to learn more. That’s ShowrunnerCourse.com.
Demian Farnworth: Howdy, and welcome back to another episode of Rough Draft, your daily dose of essential web writing advice. I am Demian Farnworth, your host, your muse, your digital recluse, and the Chief Content Writer for Copyblogger Media.
And thank you for sharing the next few minutes of your life with me.
Why We Need Data
When you say “data” few people perk up their ears. It’s a cold word that brings to mind row after row of zeros and ones. Yet you and I need data to help us make sound business decisions, uncover lost opportunities, and perfect our current efforts.
Data, however, can be overwhelming. Where to start? Who looks at it? What are you trying to accomplish? How much time do you have?
Compound this with the notion that you could be leaving money or valuable ideas on the table simply because you can’t or don’t have the resources necessary to mine that data, and the tension builds.
Ayasdi Iris’ Query-Free Insight Discovery Tool
This is exactly the kind of problem that Ayasdi Iris claims to remedy.
Ayasdi Iris says it’s a query-free insight discovery tool. In fact, it claims to be the world’s first “Insight Discovery Solution.”
In other words, software that will explore your data and find patterns and anomalies that can lead to insights.
Got it. But something just doesn’t quite feel right here. Have you picked up on it?
The problem is that at this point in their presentation we are still in the realm of the head. We are still in the abstract, non-concrete world of numbers, data, and software.
Who really gets excited about numbers, data, and software? I mean excited enough to drop several thousand of dollars?
So, we need to get to the heart if we want people to care. If we want our copy to compel. If we want people to read every word we write.
Some might argue that because Ayasdi’s target audience is made up of scientists and business users — people who are stereotypically categorized as bent on logic and pragmatism — that heart issues won’t work on them.
That’s baloney. All humans use their emotions to make decisions.
Explore Ayasdi’s website and you see they make a classic mistake when it comes to writing web copy: focusing on the features and not the benefits. You see what the product does, and you even get a sense that something big could happen with Ayasdi.
Death as the Ultimate Ramification
However, this is where they nail it with their explainer video. It opens with the problem, then agitates that problem, and finally slides into emotional territory: cancer and death.
This does two things.
- Raises the stakes – If you want people to care about your copy, then something has to be at risk. This is why we care so much about sports where there is a clear winner and loser. The higher the stakes the more engagement you will get. This is why some books are ferocious page turners. A relationship is about to dissolve. A child is lost. A village is threatened.
- Hit close to home – You can’t go very far before running into someone who has either survived breast cancer, knows a breast cancer survivor or knows someone who has lost a battle with breast cancer. Nobody is immune to the effects of cancer.
This is real stuff with huge ramifications. Any worthwhile product should have these components. If they don’t, then you have a product that solves nothing meaningful.
So, to help you raise the stakes in what you write, I’ve got a nice little treat for you in tomorrow’s episode.
Until then, take care.