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Great Copywriting in Action: The Big Bang Theory

As copywriters, our goal is to make an impression. The businesses enlisting our unique services depend on our skill and talent. And they depend on more than sheer technical knowledge; they cling to our gifted talent, that spark of passion that allows us to be great storytellers. You might say they expect us to make a big bang. So what better show to turn to for great copywriting in action than the successful television comedy called, The Big Bang Theory?

Chances are you’ve at least channel surfed past the show. You may have even watched an episode or two. Or you could be an addict because it’s just a fun show. Did you know it dominates the awards? The series debuted on CBS on September 24, 2007. As of September 22, 2014, the show premiered its eighth season, and it’s scheduled to run for at least two more. It’s been nominated and won its fair share of Emmy, TCA, American Film, and People’s Choice awards. In fact, you can see a hefty list of nominations and wins on Wikipedia. But outside of just plain dominating when it comes to awards, what can The Big Bang Theory teach copywriters?

If at First You Don’t Succeed…

Here’s a little known fact about the show: The original pilot was unaired. It was made for the 2006 to 2007 season, and the network didn’t pick it up. Johnny Galecki (Leonard) and Jim Parsons (Sheldon) were the only two actors from the pilot that made it to the highly successful and network grabbed 2008 premier.

You see, the initial pilot was a flop. Behind-the-scenes reels with today’s cast and crew identify several factors for the flop from the original actress cast as Penny to the script itself. There’s a blaring set of lessons for us copywriters in this example:

  1. Mistakes Happen: You can’t get it right all the time. Sometimes a great piece of copy just doesn’t work for a client. It doesn’t mean you suck, and it doesn’t mean you’re facing an impossible situation. It simply means mistakes happen. Sometimes we don’t knock it out of the park the first time. Sometimes it’s the feedback from the ‘oops’ that makes all the difference and turns a mistake into a masterpiece.
  2. Don’t Give Up: You know the old adage; if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. It’s good advice, but hard to follow. Sometimes that mistake kills our self-esteem. It can even make us question our professional abilities. Don’t let that happen. It’s the quickest path to giving up. If the minds behind The Big Bang Theory had called it quits after the original pilot flop, they wouldn’t be the recipients of seven Primetime Emmy Awards and numerous Golden Globe nominations.

A Couple to Learn From

One of the most unpredictable plot twists in the series came when the awkward, socially inept, and brilliant genius Sheldon Cooper ended up with a girlfriend. It was even more unpredictable to see how Amy Farrah Fowler fit his idiosyncrasies perfectly. In all their nerdy eccentricity, they’ve become one of television’s beloved coupled. It just so happens that a few of the elements contributing to their “perfect couple” status, according to the HuffingtonPost.com, are applicable to us.

#1: Accept the Unsolvable

big bang theory

Image Credit: HuffingtonPost.com

Some problems just don’t have solutions. You cannot realistically expect to solve every client or audience problem, but you can do your best to solve the ones within your power. You are a copywriter, which means you a copy expert. You know how to speak to an audience, and you’re skilled at calling them to action. Put those skills to use, but know that it is beyond your power to solve every problem. There’s a certain amount of responsibility that lies with both your client and the audience.

#2: Always Speak From the Heart

One of the quickest ways to alienate an audience is to be fake. People can spot fake a million miles away, and they know when they aren’t being treated fairly.

In the world of copywriting, it’s easy to get so caught up in the technical side that we forget about the essentials. Storytelling is one of our most powerful tools at our disposal. Speaking from the heart should never be underestimated.

Humanizing content is something no program can do, and it separates us from low quality copywriters. We have the unique talent for turning the dullest copy into a viral phenomenon. And our most powerful ally in this fight is our humanity.

Always strive to understand your client and their audience well enough to speak from the heart. It will set you apart from other writers, and it will make you an invaluable business asset.

#3: An Ironclad Relationship Agreement Rocks

We’ve talked about the importance of research in our 7 Ways to Create Content Marketing for Buying Intent. We’re no strangers to the fundamental groundwork that goes into every project we undertake. But we rarely talk about the other groundwork that goes into working with a client. You know the kind I’m talking about—our terms and conditions.

In today’s professional world, it’s crucial to have fair and clearly stated terms and conditions. It’s also important to have a working relationship agreement. It ensures that both parties know what’s expected, and it can be the savior when something unexpected transpires.

If a potential client bucks your terms and conditions, don’t let it rattle you. As long as you’re offering fair and reasonable terms, a client who bucks them isn’t worth your professional time.

Great Copywriting Is Everywhere

Dare we say that there isn’t a book, script, play, film, or television show on the planet that is void of great copywriting advice? Unlike other professionals, we copywriters can learn how to improve our craft in limitless ways. The Big Bang Theory is a great example of how the staples that support our ability to be excellent copywriters are well within our control. How will you wield them?

Main photo credit: Fanpop.com

 

 

copywriting and the wizard of oz

Great Copywriting In Action: The Wizard Of Oz

The world of cinema didn’t start with the first Transformers film (thank goodness!), even though there have been about a hundred sequels to it (or is that just me?). You know that a film is truly great when it stands the test of time. And few classic films have stood the test of time as well as ‘The Wizard Of Oz’.

The film is now 75 years old, yet still regularly features in lists of the greatest films of all time, and the American Film Institute selected it as the greatest fantasy film ever made. There’s one word that sums up the reason for this. No, it’s not ‘courage’ (we’ll come to that later), it’s ‘quality’. The film has quality stamped all over it. Successful copywriting has to put quality first as well, particularly as Google are now making the quality of content its main criteria. Take a look at the film again, and there are plenty of lessons that a smart copywriter can learn. Now, tap the heels of your ruby slippers together, and follow me to a magical land full of incredible copywriting.

Look Magnificent

You could put a 5-year-old child who speaks no English in front of The Wizard Of Oz, and they would love it. Know why? No, there’s no subtitles, that would be cheating. You do know why, because I put it in bold up above. It looks magnificent. No expense has been spared when it comes to the overall appearance of the film.

Do you remember the moment when Dorothy gets transported away from Kansas to the world of Oz? If you’ve seen it, it’s impossible to forget. The screen changes from black and white to amazing color. And what color! It’s one of the most incredible moments in cinema history, and I have to say I always find it strangely moving too. A great copywriter needs to make their content just as exciting. This can involve selecting the right images, and it always involves selecting the right words.

Remember that your writing shouldn’t simply be functional, it should be fun and fabulous! Splash a little technicolor into your content.

Keep Your Copywriting Fresh

How can a movie that’s now three-quarters of a century old still feel so fresh? That’s because it deals with things that everyone can empathize with. Our world has changed a lot since 1939, but, believe it or not, people are still exactly the same. Cinema and television audiences today are just as uplifted and excited by the film as they were when it was first shown. Show it to a child for the first time, and watch the look of joy spread across their face.

The film doesn’t need 3D, it doesn’t need super high definition or CGI, because it has superb writing. Noel Langley. Florence Ryerson. Edgar Allan Woolf. These are the scriptwriters behind the film. Their names may be little known, but their work certainly isn’t. If they were copywriting today, they’d be naturals, because they knew the importance of keeping things simple, to the point, and, well, fresh.

Use The Best Sources

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? (The answer’s ‘the egg’ by the way, because reptiles laid eggs millions of years before birds evolved, so that’s that one cleared up). Which came first, the book or the film? Yes, it may surprise lovers of great films such as The Wizard Of Oz, The Lord Of The Rings, Schindler’s List and more, but before the film there was already a great book. That doesn’t make the achievements of the screenwriters, producers and actors, it simply means that they were smart enough to find a superb source.

Copywriters can learn from this too. Plagiarizing is a complete no-no of course, but we shouldn’t live in a vacuum. We can take inspiration from great writers, and great content, that’s come before us. By adding our own unique thoughts and interpretations we can make copy that’s more useful than a self driving car that tans you en route. The original author, L. Frank Baum, is well credited in the film and its promotional material, so this helped to gather the interest of his fans. Copywriters can achieve the same effect by citing their high authority sources.

Be Truly Memorable

What do you remember the most about The Wizard Of Oz? The dissolving witch (‘I’m melting, I’m melting’), the beautiful ending (‘There’s no place like home’), the flying monkeys, the munchkins, the cute dog, Dorothy’s gingham dress, or the incredible music? Both the American Film Institute and The Recording Industry Association of America named ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’ as the greatest song of the twentieth century.

You could ask a hundred people, and get a hundred different answers, but what’s indisputable is that once you’ve seen The Wizard Of Oz, you’ll never forget it. There’s even a mythology that’s sprung up around the film (watch it as much as you like, but you won’t see a munchkin hanging themselves in the background). Copywriters should strive to make their writing just as memorable. There’s a huge amount of data and content in the world today. Humdrum won’t cut it any more. You have to engage your audience, and teach them something that will stay with them. If your work isn’t memorable, then you may as well stop after the first word.

Send A Message That Matters

The Wizard Of Oz, although enjoyed by adults, is a film made for children. Does that mean it’s simple? Not a bit of it. There are more messages in The Wizard Of Oz than you’ll find in ten series of Grey’s Anatomy. It’s packed full of themes. Loneliness. The importance of friends. How to fit in when you’re in a new place. Standing up for what you believe in. Following the yellow brick road, er, I mean following your dream. At the center of the film is a theme that may go over the heads of most viewers. In essence it’s a story of how resilience helped America beat the great depression.

The film makers wanted to send a message that matters, and they succeeded. People from 4 to 104 can watch the film, and find answers to questions that they had in their hearts. That’s just what copywriting should do as well, find answers to real and everyday problems. When copywriting is as jam packed full of helpful content as The Wizard Of Oz film, then readers will love it, and Google will too.

Have A Heart

All the tin man wanted was a heart, but, of course, it turns out that he had one all along. And there’s a heart as big as a whale beating at the center of The Wizard Of Oz. You’d have to be stonier than the Sphinx not to find yourself touched while watching the film. It reaches right for the essence of what we are as human beings, and somehow makes us feel better about ourselves.

Great copywriting can have that effect too. It can make us feel more positive about a business, or a product, a film, or how we live. To achieve that result, copywriters have to accentuate the positive, and show how effective solutions to problems can be easy to enact.

Have A Brain

The scarecrow didn’t have a brain, so he thought, and yet his wise words made him the most loveable character of them all. He shows that something that is, on the surface, very simple can yet be meaningful and profound.

Copywriters will do well to become a bit more scarecrow themselves. Don’t worry, you won’t have to push straw down your pants. All you have to do is to edit your writing, to make it as simple as possible. It will become easier to understand, more direct, much more effective, and frankly more loveable.

Have Courage

You knew that was coming next, didn’t you? Everyone assumed the lion was a coward, but when his friends were in need, he was as brave as anyone. The film itself was incredibly courageous as well. At the time it was the most expensive production that Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer had ever made, and because it was so innovative, with its use of color and special effects, nobody knew if it would be a success. They displayed courage, took a chance, and the benefits of their speculation are there for all to see.

If you want to be a successful copywriter, you need to have courage too. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut, or to agree with what everyone else is saying, but by writing something that’s truly original, you can create an article that becomes both useful and important. Everybody loves creativity and innovation, that’s why writing truly unique copy can see it shoot up the SERPs. When it comes to copywriting, it’s better to stand out from the crowd than blend into the background.

Make Your Writing Fly

The writers and team behind The Wizard Of Oz couldn’t have dreamed of the world we live in today, or know how things such as blogs and websites could change the way that businesses operate forever. Somehow, however, they didn’t just create an incredible movie, they created a fantastic blueprint for copywriters in a very different century.

Well it’s time to go, I’ve got a melody stuck in my head, and a film that I just have to watch again. I’ll leave you with this question: if happy little bluebirds fly, beyond the rainbow, why, oh why, shouldn’t your words soar too?

 Image source: Oz.wikia.com

 

once upon a time

Great Copywriting In Action: Once Upon A Time

Repurposing content is one of the hottest topics in the world of copywriting. Why? It’s something almost every brand is finding valuable. Not only does it save time, but it’s a fantastic means of reusing existing, already-awesome copy.

Now, we’ve talked about content repurposing before. In fact, we’ve handed you a handy how to guide and backed our stand that repurposing helps you get the most content mileage possible. But as I sat at my desk, racking my brain for a worthwhile-copywriting-in-action topic, I thought to myself, “Hold the phone! We haven’t really shown you how valuable and worthwhile content repurposing is.”

So guess what we’re going to talk about? Repurposing one of the oldest types of content around: Fairytales!

Once Upon A Time

There probably isn’t a person on the planet who hasn’t heard at least one fairytale. In fact, the tales we grew up with know no cultural bounds. They’re worldwide stories that teach lessons, morals, principles, all kinds of good stuff. And on October 23, 2011, a television series based entirely on repurposing traditional fairytales premiered. Simply called Once Upon a Time, this series is an incredible example of content repurposing in action.

Modernization

Once Upon a Time is a fantastic example of repurposing content through modernization. Now, we’ve talked about this concept before, but this series really drives home how you can take something old and make it new.

The characters live in the seaside town of Storybrooke, Maine. They live in a modern setting in which the wicked Queen from Snow White’s fairytale is the town Mayor. In season one, her right-hand man (the Huntsman tasked with killing Snow White) is the town Sherriff. As we work our way down the list of fairytale characters, they each take on modernized roles that connect back to their traditional identity:

  • The Evil Queen is Regina Mills, Mayor of Storybrooke
  • Snow White is Mary Margaret Blanchard, a school teacher
  • Prince Charming is David Nolan, a coma patient who awakes in search of his true love
  • Jiminy Cricket is Dr. Archie Hopper, a therapist
  • The Huntsman is Sheriff Graham Humbert
  • Pinocchio is August Wayne Booth, a writer of sorts whose destructive path leaves life altering consequences
  • Red Riding Hood is Ruby, a waitress at the local diner, Granny’s which is run by the grandmother from her fairytale
  • Belle is Lacy, a confused young woman who falls for the biggest “beast” in town

Perhaps the most epic character in the entire series is Rumpelstiltskin. In Storybrooke, he is Mr. Gold, the one powerful man in town that everyone is terrified of. He doubles as the Beast Belle falls for and the crocodile Captain Hook seeks to destroy.

When it comes to repurposing content, one of the most important things we can do is modernize it. Once Upon a Time proves that no content is too old for modernization. And when it’s done right, it reminds the audience of the traditional content while mesmerizing them with a fresh perspective.

Compelling Twists

If I had to pick the most surprising and compelling twist of the series, it came in season three when we were introduced to the infamous Peter Pan. Yes, I said infamous. Although we’ve always known Peter as the boy who never grew up, and we saw his getaway island as fantastic and magical, Once Upon a Time chose to take a completing different approach.

In an epic and slightly terrifying twist, Peter Pan becomes a villain! His shadow steels children from their beds, dragging them to Neverland. But instead of being a land where little boys never grow up, it’s a terrifying place where Pan searches tirelessly for one boy. Even Captain Hook fears the place. Peter is depicted as a villain, capable of ripping shadows away like ripping the hearts from chests.

This compelling twist is a fantastic example of a technique we can use to repurpose content. We can insert new, compelling twists that shake things up. A reasonable twist can leave people in shock and awe. In the case of Once Upon a Time, it made season three irresistible. In the case of your copywriting, it can make people hunger for what comes next because all they can do for now is guess.

Incredibly Human Characters

It could be said that the most successful content is also the most human. Let’s face it; we don’t like trying to connect with anything that is less than human. Once Upon a Time, although comprised of fictional fairytale creatures and characters, never shank away from the task of making the modernized and classic characters incredibly human. For example:

  • Emma Swan: Arguably the main character of the series, she is a completely new addition the storybook world. Daughter to Prince Charming and Snow White, she’s a character a lot of us can relate to because she is so human. She’s had her fair share of trouble. She’s made bad decisions that have come back to haunt her, and she’s bent on doing the right thing, no matter the cost. There’s hardly anything fictional about her, except for her roots.
  • Henry: As Emma’s son, he is a highly human character. He spent a good part of his life wondering why his birth mother gave him up for adoption. When given the opportunity, he takes off to find Emma. He finds her to convince her that she is the savoir of Storybrooke, but at the same time he just wants his mother—his real mother. As the series progresses, we connect with a kid from a broken home with one pretty crazy family. Sound familiar? A lot of us can relate personally!
  • Rumpelstiltskin: My favorite character in the series! Unlike his traditional fairytale, he takes on a whole new level of sheer darkness as “The Dark One.” As one of the most multifaceted characters in the entire series, he offers so much to relate to from feelings of numbing fear to overwhelming rage.

What’s the point? The point is that the most human we make our content, the more readily people will connect to it. I spit out the three above character profiles because these three characters left a strong impression on me. Your content has the ability to do the same.

Now, this is not to say that your content needs fictional characters. But there’s nothing wrong with a little storytelling. More to the point, there’s nothing wrong with telling your story. People love to connect with things they can relate to, and your story is one they will want to hear.

As your business continues to grow and change, take the time to tell stories. Let people in on the battles and challenges faced behind the scenes. Show them that running a business isn’t all glamour. It’s hard work, work you put in so that they can benefit from your business.

What Storytelling and Copywriting Need: Strong Emotional Connection

The key to great storytelling is emotion. The ingredient to shareworthy content is strong emotion. When you repurpose content, find new and exciting ways to make an emotional connection with your audience.

In Once Upon a Time, there are strong emotional connections ranging from unbreakable love to uncontainable anger. For example, in season three, two of the major villains (the Evil Queen and Captain Hook) are caught in a scene talking about happy endings. Despite their shown evilness and all of the reasons you’ve been given to hate them, you can’t help but feel sympathy when Captain Hook and the Queen contemplate whether or not they can ever have a happy ending.

New Idea Creation

Repurposing classic fairytales into modernized versions with unique twists and turns based on the new life breathed into the characters was a smashing success. So smashing, in fact, that Once Upon a Time birthed a spin-off series called Once Upon a Time in Wonderland. Although the new series followed in the same tone, it approaches its fairytale revamp in slightly different manner, allowing a certain amount of uniqueness. The writers have even woven in cross over episodes that return the audience to the parent series.

Repurposing content can very easily lead to new, improved ideas. With a little creativity, planning, and organization, you can incorporate new ideas in a unique way while still linking back to your original content.

Try It!

Derek Halpern, the man behind (and in front) of Social Triggers says it best, “You don’t have to create content, day in, and day out. You just have to work on getting the content you already have…in the hands of more people.” You can thoroughly accomplish this by repurposing your content and sharing it.

Are you ready for the hard-hitting question? Here it comes; brace yourself!

Have you repurposed any of your content yet? If yes, awesome job and keep it up. If not, what are you waiting for? The highly successful Once Upon a Time series is a shining example of just how repurposing can result in the most mileage and untold content success!

 Image source: Once Upon A Time on Twitter

 

star wars copywriting

Great Copywriting in Action: Star Wars Isn’t Just For Geeks

Image source: scifinow.co.uk

According to Filmsite.com, Star Wars (specifically The Empire Strikes Back film) is ranked #1 in the 100 Greatest Films of All Time list. The series really is iconic. Regardless of whether you’re a sci-fi geek, a science fiction nerd, or a not-so-big fan of intergalactic fiction, you know exactly what we’re talking about when you see the title Star Wars. Immediately, you think of Luke Skywalker and the never to be forgotten line, “Luke, I am your father!” But Star Wars isn’t just for geeks. It can teach us a few equally memorable lessons about great copywriting in action.

Script Writing in the World of Copywriting

We don’t often chat about script writing in the copywriting world, and I’ve often wondered why. Script writing is one of the biggest and fastest growing niches of content marketing, but people in need of scripts don’t initially think of hiring a copywriter for the job.

In today’s fast-paced world, people don’t always have time to read. Let’s be honest, just between us writers, even we run out of time to read to replenish our creativity. There is a huge market for copywriters who can write short video and podcast scripts. And the lessons gleaned from The Empire Strikes Back movie script can serve as a compass for script and general copywriting:

  • Taglines are important. The little things mean the most. The Empire Strikes Back drives this point home with the simple fact that everybody and their Uncle knows one epic line from the movie, “Luke, I am your father!” Even if you’ve never seen the film, you know that line. You know it’s famous. It’s impressionable. It’s sharable. It’s the definition of jaw dropping. When it comes to copywriting, even the little things—like taglines and social media shout outs—are important. These seemingly tiny aspects of copy can pack a punch, generating an impression and connotation that can span any distance of time or space.
  • People aren’t dumb. I remember watching an interview conducted with Richard Dean Anderson, back when he was actively portraying Colonel Jack O’Neill on the insanely popular Stargate SG-1 television series. He made a comment that stuck with me as a writer, and applies to our Star Wars discussion. To paraphrase, he thought that to “dumb it down” for the audience was absurd and insulting; people are smarter than they’re given credit for. According to FilmSite, The Empire Strikes Back had one of the most complex plotlines of the entire Star Wars saga. This proves an important point that we can carry over to copywriting: people aren’t dumb. They can’t handle complex. In fact, they’ll likely eat it up. Audiences crave sophisticated, meaty material. Don’t be afraid to create it!
  • Shock and awe are powerful tools. It’s easy for copy to grow dry. When we set off to write creative fiction, we weave a plot with calculated shock and awe factors because that’s fiction. But this same approach is viable in the copy and script writing venue. Storytelling that shocks and awes the audience demands attention. It’s also the stuff shares and re-shares are made of. Don’t feel like the tools of shock and awe are limited to video, films, and television. On the contrary, we can build these aspects of writing into every piece of copy. The result will be a gripping sensation, a “must read more” tug that will keep the reader firmly planted on the landing page, blog, press release, or video display.
  • Cliffhangers aren’t just for the big screen. One of the most appealing aspects of The Empire Strikes Back was the unresolved cliffhanger ending. Han Solo has been captured by a bounty hunter, and the uncertain nature of Luke Skywalker’s heritage left unanswered and ominous questions. By the end of the film, the audience sat on the edge of their seats, hungrily waiting to see what happened next. When the film ended on a cliffhanger, the immediate thought was, “When is the next episode?” Cliffhangers are viable in the copywriting world, but they’re slightly different. The idea of a cliffhanger is to make the audience hunger, even crave, what comes next. Copy, whether it be in script or website copy form, can leverage a cliffhanger ending to keep the audience poised on your website, waiting for that next “installment.” Try ending on a question or hinting at what might be coming next. Give the audience something juicy to anticipate and look forward to—this is the stuff bookmarks and subscriptions are made of!

One of the most commonly made copywriting mistakes is the neglecting of audience appeal. If there’s one thing we can take away from the Star Wars saga, it’s that audience appeal is very real and rather simple to tackle IF we focus on what the audience wants.

 

 

sherlock holmes copywriting

Great Copywriting: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle & the Infamous Sherlock Holmes

What makes great copywriting? The answer varies widely depending on whom you ask. However, there is a constant string of qualities that embodies what the industry classifies as great: engagement, emotion, strong storytelling, and facts. But sometimes reading ‘how to’ material about creating great content for our website isn’t enough. Sometimes we learn a great deal more by example. That is why we are going to look to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his infamous detective, Sherlock Holmes, for some great copywriting advice.

Conan Doyle Creates an Icon

The great Sherlock Holmes, who appeared in publication for the first time in 1887, is more than an iconic character from a rather old series of books. His evolution from paper to screen is the ultimate display of great copy in action. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle managed to create a character that has stood the test of time and inspired numerous recreations—and even an inception into the modern world.

According to Wikipedia, Conan Doyle’s fictional stories about the quirky and brilliant detective are “generally considered milestones in the field of crime fiction.” He was a major hit in the late 1800s, and it speaks volumes to see the variety of venues and recreations inspired by his books.

Arthur_Conan_Doyle_by_EO_Hoppe,_1912
Image Source: wikimedia.org

The Most Recent Evolution of Sherlock Holmes

The Sherlock Holmes book series covers a period from around 1880 through 1914. In 2014, while the majority of the population have not once laid a finger on one of Conan Doyle’s books, they know exactly who detective Sherlock Holmes is. In fact, since 2009 he has become a bit of a poster boy.

The 2009 Sherlock Holmes movie starred none other than Robert Downy Jr. as the eccentric detective. It was succeeded by a popular sequel, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, in 2011.

Holmes evolved his way to the television screen in 2010 in the BBC’s Sherlock. Portrayed by actor Benedict Cumberbatch, the detective is dropped into 21st century London in a modern update to the iconic series. The series is still running, drawing in a massive fan base populated by a young generation who know little about the books the character originates from.

What We Can Learn From Mr. Holmes

Although the famous sleuth can teach us a great deal about seeing what’s right underneath our noses, he comes with a much greater lesson for those of us in the copywriting world. He is the ultimate icon for how a single, brilliant idea can be molded to fit many forms of content and never ever outdated. Here are just three few of the brilliant lessons business owners, webmasters, and copywriters can glean from the notorious Sherlock Holmes:

  1. Great storytelling isn’t always fictional. One of the little known facts about the Sherlock Holmes detective novels is that quite a bit of the technical information is based on fact. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wasn’t just a novelist; he was also a physician. The takeaway lesson for us is that you can mix great storytelling with hard facts. The content you produce can be 100 percent factual yet still grip the reader emotionally through the art of storytelling.
  2. Great copy is timeless. Did you know that Sherlock came from the late 1800s? If there’s one thing we can learn from Robert Downy Jr’s portrayal of Detective Holmes, it’s that this character is timeless. Audiences were glued to movie screens for the 2009 and 2011 movies, and they didn’t see a recreation of a novel from the 1880s or even 1914. No, they saw a timeless character that gripped their attention, drew out their emotions, and even taught them a thing or two about logic, the science of deduction, and loyalty. Great copy is timeless. Invest in creating copy that excels at engaging, compelling, and involving the audience. Provide facts. Mix with storytelling. Result: timeless content.
  3. Great copy can be repurposed. Holmes began his journey within the pages of a series of books. The books were so compelling that he sprang up as an engaging and thought provoking character on the big screen. Numerous movies and television shows have delved into recreating the science and storytelling contained within the pages of Conan Doyle’s books. Then, in 2010, the ultimate repurposing of content took place. Sherlock Holmes was modernized. The science and storytelling was brought into 21st century London to create one of the most compelling, engaging, and outright titillating renditions of the detective to date. What’s the lesson we can learn? It’s okay to repurpose content. In fact, modernizing and updating our content can be one of the smartest and most audience inspiring actions we ever take—if we take care in crafting it!

It’s elementary, my dear reader! Examples of great copywriting surround us. We need merely take the time to see and contemplate what is right under our noses to create brilliant copy.