“You calling my visitor a DOG, Grok?” Hey, bear with me on this.
In his incredible Wizard Academy, Roy
Williams talks about Pavlov. You remember him, right? The dude who got the
dog to salivate to the sound of a bell? Roy uses Pavlov’s experiment to illustrate branding and the value of
You see, Pavlov didn’t put an artfully arranged plate of vegetables in front
of the dog. What self-respecting carnivore (aside from my neighbor’s goofy hound
who’ll beg for broccoli) gets juiced about vegetables? He put down something the
dog seriously cared about, something that would get those salivary glands
working overtime: meat.
To the heart of the dog, meat reigns supreme. It matters. It’s the
bottom-line food-truth in the canine world-view. It doesn’t matter how fresh
those vegetables are or how fancy you dress ‘em up. They’ll never get the dog
salivating in the first place.
That’s what you gotta do - identify the “bottom-line food-truth” stuff about
your business that’s going to perform the equivalent of getting your visitor to
salivate. What’s in the heart of your dogs? What really matters most to
Then you can decide how you’re going to serve it up. Only when you’ve figured
out what really matters to your dogs can you effectively persuade them, speaking
to them in their language.
You can write screens full of gorgeous copy. You can pay through the nose to
have a first-class copywriter perform verbal magic. But understand this: even
mediocre writing that captures the essence of what matters to the dog will
out-perform stellar writing that completely misses the mark.
No, I am not giving you license to slack off on the writing! Make it
compelling and appealing. Infuse it with all the goodies we’ve been discussing.
Ring the best and most brilliant bell you can! Just keep in mind - if it ain’t
the meat, the only thing you’re really serving up is a plate of
A couple of dozen people attended the
Wizards of Web workshop. What did our attendees
have to say:
R. Long. said: "3 days at WOW
crystallized 7 years of marketing online. I thought
I knew how to convert a visitor – but I didn’t –
with WOW under my belt, I intend to conquer my
little parts of the web world."
E. Giffin said: "All I can
say is one word: WOW! I just got back from the
Wizards of Web Academy in Austin -- which was 3 days
of in-depth information on how to make your web site
really sell. Up to this point I had been to many
events, but had never walked away really satisfied."
We'll be offering another 3-day
Wizards of Web workshop 7/31/02-8/2/02. Just a
couple of seats are left!
Let us know if you want to be included on our
advanced notice list for events
CIO, Future Now, Inc.
P.S. Do you have questions you would like to see
Before and After Copy Spotlight: NewsBios
You gotta love examples. They’re the things that show principles in
action, make ideas tangible. I can tell you how critical it is to write to
the dog in the language of the dog about what matters to the heart of the
dog, but it’s so much cooler when I can show you a before and after.
I’m leaning on a new friend of mine, Laurie Kuntz. She happens to be in
charge of a journalist profiling service called
She also happens to be among those who graduated from the first
Wizards of Web Academy
Laurie survived those three intensive days, subjected herself to a grueling
uncovery, got major inspired and took a crack at revamping her home page copy.
Let’s look at what she did and why she did it.
Laurie’s customers, generally speaking, want to get media exposure for their
businesses. But how do you get a journalist to take an interest in what you are
doing; how do you decide which journalist could do the most for you? Well,
that’s where Laurie’s service comes in.
NewsBios has big-font text that pretty effectively grabs your visual
attention when you land on the home page. The old version read:
We know more, about more journalists, than anyone else in the
Yeah? So what! The first thing you want to do to engage your customers is
brag about yourself? I don’t think so. If you even want a chance to speak to the
dog, you’d better give it meat. Laurie’s revised version reads:
Empowering you to know more, about more journalists, than
anyone else in the World.
Way cool! “We” is gone, replaced with “Empowering you to” and the entire
sense of the headline has changed. If I’m a PR type, I’m all for being
empowered. And I absolutely want to know more about it than anyone else in the
world, ‘cause I’m all for having the inside edge in my business! This headline
speaks to me about what matters to me, and I’m far more likely to keep reading.
Here’s the body of the old copy:
Have you or your clients gotten calls from journalists wanting to
interview them? Tried pitching stories to a journalist with no luck?
Let NewsBios give you the tools to educate you and your clients about
NewsBios is a comprehensive database of the world's most influential
journalists. Every in-depth profile is updated prior to its delivery to
ensure our clients are getting the latest and most up-to-date information.
We know more, about more journalists, than anyone in the World.
Journalists have two main complaints of the PR/IR industry today.
One, they do not know the beat.
If you are pitching the editor/managing editor, you do not know the beat.
In a survey conducted by our research staff, 8 times out of 10 you should
not pitch the editor. If you are, you do not know the beat and you do not
know the correct journalist to pitch. NewsBios can help.
Two, Communication professionals do not know the journalist.
A journalist is more than ink on the paper or the story they write. If a
journalist is knocking on your door to interview you or your client, do you
think that they have done their homework? You bet they have. Let NewsBios do
the homework for you. By learning in-depth information about what the
journalist does and who they are.
This priceless tool will save you and your clients' valuable time and
Each year NewsBios ranks the Top 100 Business Journalists of the Year,
the Business News Luminaries, the Top 30 journalists under the age of 30, as
well as additional publications and events. To find out more about one of
these events or advertising and sponsorship opportunities go to our
With NewsBios you get the "picture" on the press.
The opening two questions address potential reasons I - the PR dude - might
have come to this site, but these are quickly followed with copy that again
touts the wonderfulness of NewsBios. Not an effective value proposition, nor an
emotional hook by any stretch. It’s simply counterproductive to
all over yourself.
Then the copy proceeds to tell me I basically don’t know the difference
between my head and a hole in the ground. And that’s why journalists won’t talk
to me or write about my business. But NewsBios is the priceless tool that is
going to save me.
Wanna guess how a negative pitch affects the dog? Think whack on the snout
with a rolled up newspaper.
The revised copy reads as follows:
Are you getting frustrated from sending out press releases to no avail?
You have a great story to tell. Your product is unique. Why isn't anyone
writing about it? You are purchasing a list of journalists that cover your
target beat, but you still are not garnering the coverage your client needs.
Do you want to get more publicity? Are you or your clients getting calls
from journalists wanting an interview? This service will provide you with
in-depth profiles on journalists you want to reach, or journalists who have
contacted you. Know the journalists. Know what they write. It is not news
until a journalist says it is news. The journalist has already done their
homework on you, now do your homework.
Here is a tool that will educate you and your clients about journalists.
Relevant information to bridge the communication gap.
This comprehensive database of journalists profiles span a variety of
beats and media outlets. Every in-depth profile is updated prior to its
delivery to ensure our clients are getting the latest and most up-to-date
information. A professional team of research journalists is on staff to
develop profiles of journalists not currently existing in the proprietary
Take time to browse the Journalist Spotlight for a first-hand look at
this invaluable tool.
Now this delightfully and immediately treats me like a sentient being and
acknowledges the frustrations I might be having doing my job. Not only that, it
understands that I have a great story to tell and a unique product. Do I want
more publicity? Yeah, baby, bring it on! Do I want a “tool that will educate”
me? Darn tootin’! Do I want help with my homework? Make it easier for me!!
The copy is also shorter. And if you can achieve the goal more effectively in
fewer words, that’s a very good thing.
Laurie employed a few other tactics in her copy that will help keep her dogs
engaged in her persuasion process. The revision includes links embedded in the
text - each a call to action - that can help visitors move further into the site
based on the information they want next.
She also has employed text bolding so those cut-to-the-chase personality
types can get the entire sense of the home page by skimming. If you just read
the bolded bits, you get:
You have a great story to tell. Your product is unique. Get more
publicity from journalists? Tool that will educate you and your clients.
This comprehensive database is updated ensure our clients are getting the
Not a perfect read, but it gets the point across quickly and efficiently.
Benefit, service. Aimed at the heart of the dog.
See what I mean? Now, shed your egos, uncover the meat and have at your own
P.S. Mucho gracious, Laurie!!