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Spy Secrets, TV Tricks, and Copywriting

Published by: David Garfinkel on 07-27-2020

Our guest today has lived the kind of life most of us only see on TV and movies. He worked as a specialized contractor in Iraq in PsyOps, which in a way is like the military version of persuasion or direct marketing. Of course, much of what he did is classified, but he’ll share some insights that don’t compromise sensitive information today.

He’s also worked at the heartbeat of world media, as an editor for CNN, NBC, Sky, CNBC and MTV.

Our guest is Christian Dixon, and these days, he’s pursuing copywriting with a ferocity I see only in the most obsessed practitioners of the craft, and I would include Nathan and myself in that group.

We invited Christian to come on the show to talk about what he learned in his other professions that would be interesting insights for copywriters.

And while this is NOT the most interesting insight, what I am about to say IS nonetheless important. And that is this:

Copy is powerful. You’re responsible for how you use what you hear on this podcast. Most of the time, common sense is all you need. But if you make extreme claims... and/or if you’re writing copy for offers in highly regulated industries like health, finance, and business opportunity... you may want to get a legal review after you write and before you start using your copy. My larger clients do this all the time.

Here’s what we covered:

PsyOps lessons:

1. In terms of the actions people will actually take in life, people will do more / give more / take bigger risks for a cause they believe in than they will do for themselves alone, or even for their families.

2. People being interviewed/interrogated will give up more information when the questioner uses sincere empathy and a gentle approach than they will when the questioner uses a tough and confrontative approach.

TV editing lessons

3. People tend to believe what they see more than the words they hear.

4. Sequence is more important than content in determining what meaning or conclusion a viewer will come away with (the magic of editing).

5. A single powerful idea or theme, well illustrated, communicates and convinces more than a complicated idea with a lot of data.

6. Finally, with all your skills, talents, and experience, what was it about copywriting that made you want to get really good at this craft?

Keywords: Copywriting propoganda

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