I often talk about the advantages you get by joining the ICA, but why would you want to enrol? What’s in it for you?
Before I answer those questions, note that they are examples of rhetoric and are also a lesson in themselves. They’re designed to open the reader’s mind to something new.
But they only work because they’re a pair (it needs two questions for this example to work).
They use part of a rhetorical tool called enthymeme as a way to move an audience forward.
Instead of thinking “I have no interest in this”, the mind is subconsciously thinking “yes, what exactly IS in this for me?”
(it doesn’t mean the reader is not skeptical, it’s just designed to hold any skepticism back for a second or two to let the reader go a bit further through the copy)
We know a question is meant rhetorically when its intent is to solicit a specific answer (rather than any old answer).
Now, what do I mean by enthymeme?
Here are two sentences:
1. Our best lives are lived when we live them with intention.
2. But our best lives are only lived when that intention brings satisfaction.
They are examples of a premise.
A premise is something we assume to be true (if we can get our audience to agree with each premise we make, they will follow us further into the journey).
But there’s still one thing missing. We have two premises but no conclusion.
So having expressed two premises, we now have a choice about that conclusion.
We can either spell it out, or we can leave our audience to come up with one themselves.
The problem is: how do we get our audience to come up with the right conclusion (that is, a conclusion that brings them closer to where we want them to go?)
The answer is to ensure we ask the right questions and make the right assertions (premises).
When we do this correctly, our audience will make the right decision. And they will have come to that decision on their own.
So our choice becomes obvious: write our rhetorical questions and premises in such a way that they come to the ‘right’ conclusion.
That gives them ownership, and in a commercial world, ownership wins (it’s why car dealers encourage us to test drive their cars as though we already owned them).
And that’s how we use an enthymeme – we give the audience certain information so they feel part of whatever it is we’re helping them with, and let them come up with the missing part themselves.
So how do we come up with that certain information?
One way is being economical with the truth (which is itself a rhetorical tool called euphemism).
Another way is to use a series of rhetorical logic gates by taking someone along a journey of facts.
The most common way to employ a logic gate is to aim at getting a series of ‘yesses’, training the prospect to say yes so many times, they also say YES to the shopping cart.
Although this may sound complicated at first, it really isn’t. The more you use each tool, the more they stick – and you only need a few to get started.
Remember that becoming a copywriter is not about speed, it’s about quality.
As long as your time is spent doing the right thing in the right way, you will always be doing better than those who do things randomly.
And that is done by being intentional (as you read in premise #2 above).
When we’re intentional because we know what we want, we get satisfaction (the ultimate happiness), and it’s simply because we know we’re doing the right thing.
With that in place, over time, we are also able to command premium pricing for our services.
Next up: Let’s get rhetorical part 3