Da Vinci's spine-tingling copywriting method
What does it take to write truly great copy?
What can Leonardo Da Vinci teach you about the exacting art and science of superb copywriting?
In graduate school, I learned what it takes to become a great orchestra conductor.
It reminds me of one of Da Vinci's strategies. More about that in a minute...
Most people think conducting an orchestra is all about waving your arms.
Sure, conductors spend a lot of time learning how to communicate with silent gestures. That's a crucial skill set. But they spend a lot more time studying the music.
Take a Beethoven symphony, for example. We spend hours, days, even weeks, studying one movement of a 4-movement symphony.
(WARNING: Music nerd alert!)
The amount of detail is mind-boggling. You have to know every person's part in the whole orchestra. The flute, the oboe, the tuba, the cellos, the percussion. You have to know their individual parts perfectly. You have to be able to catch a single wrong note while 60 to 80, or even 100+ people play together.
Then, you have to know how each of these parts fit together. Why did Beethoven have the flutes play the same thing as the violins here, but not over there? Why did he use the french horns on this melody instead of the cellos? How does he balance the sound of a single chord? After all, chords have only 3 or 4 notes. But if 80 people are playing a 3 note chord, how and why does he divide up the 3 notes among everyone? How do these decisions support the main theme? How do they keep the audience engaged? What about tempo, articulation, phrasing, dynamics, hypermeter, orchestral layering, etc.?
This may seem like a lot, but trust me... it's just the tip of the iceberg.
Renaissance master, Leonardo Da Vinci went to similar, but more gruesome lengths. He wanted to learn how to paint people more accurately. To do this, he decided he had to know how the body is put together under the surface. So he dug up graves, but open corpses, and studied their anatomy.
Hopefully, nobody will cut up great copywriters to figure out how they worked. Yet, dissecting their copy is fair game. And more than that, it's a fascinating practice!
This week on David Garfinkel's podcast, he interviewed Parris Lampropoulos. Parris is an incredible A-list copywriter. He has no website or social media presence at all. He's so backed up with clients and project's he doesn't need to advertise his services. The best direct response companies come begging for him to write for them.
Parris spent an hour going over one of his best sales letters with a fine-toothed comb. But in an hour, he barely got through 2 of the 16 pages. And they spent most of the time on page 1.
(If you're interested, here's a link where you can tune in... http://copywriterspodcast.com/index.php?podcast=823)
What does it take to write great copy? There are many answers. But one of them is studying the masters. But it's not just studying. It's devouring, dissecting, cutting it open... getting your hands on the joints and muscles and bones of it. Understanding how it all fits together and why the writer used this technique, or that word, or this turn of phrase.
Are you like me? Do you find this detailed work exhilarating?
Or do you see the value in it, but would rather someone else figured out how to write your copy with such precision?
If that's the case, let's talk. We can help each other. I'll be your copy composer. Let's make your message sing!
Click the link below or reply to this message and let's set up a call. I can't wait to 'dig in' (too much...? maybe...).
And may your copy every be melodic and harmonious!