How to write killer copy like Quentin Tarantino writes killer movies
Here’s a strong-as-Jack-Daniels proclamation for your virgin ears:
The more marketing, sales, and fundraising copy you write, the more you should study the great novelists and screenwriters of the world.
It’s simple: Because they’re some of the best sales people who ever lived.
Think about it for just one cotton-pickin’ minute, would ya?
Whenever you pick up a novel, or sit down to watch a show or movie for the first time, you know that if this story doesn’t pique your interest and curiosity in the first minute, you’re outta there like a bat out of Hades!
So the writer knows they have to grab you by your sweaty lapel and pull you in, as if it’s taken over your mind and you can’t resist.
If they succeed, then they’ve got you to commit for long enough to get you invested in the characters and the story, which just makes it that much easier to keep you watching and page turning until the end
This, my friends, is selling. Nothing more, nothing less.
Take Quentin Tarantino, for example, who is the best man alive at this because I don’t think there’s a human being, living or dead, who’s ever walked out of a Tarantino movie.
Reason is even if you HATE his movies, there’s still that aching part of you that wants to know how the scene is going to unfold, how the character is going to get out of the jam, and how this whole crazy, cooky, bizarre, disturbing story is going to end!
And it was always a puzzle to me how he always managed to “sell” me on watching this next line of dialogue, the next scene, the next sequence of scenes, and the next act until the movie ends, only to be able to do the whole thing again with whatever his next movie happens to be.
Then one day I was watching a YouTube film critic break it down for me and suddenly it all made it sense!
The reason Tarantino is such a story-selling master (in addition to being a storytelling master) is that he is a genius at creating what this critic called “a pledge.”
Not a hook.
In the beginning of every scene, Tarantino’s characters, through the subtext of their dialogue and actions, make a small pledge the viewer that something big and important is going to happen that’s being built up to.
It’s usually not what you think it’s going to be. But it’s always worth it.
And that’s what I realized every great copywriter, entrepreneur, and salesperson does in their own way.
In fact, it’s an essential ingredient in writing breakthrough sales or fundraising copy that few talk ever talk about.
When it’s done perfectly, you never notice it.
But when it’s done wrong, you might as well take all your direct mail packages and use them for kindling because ain’t nobody going to read them.
That’s why it’s critically important have a direct response copywriter who not only knows your business/organization, your market, and the offer that’s being sold, but also these kind of story-selling principles that, if done right, has the potential to take your sales/donations so far into the stratosphere that it would make Elon Musk blush!
It’s one of the first thing things I decide on and determine before I even write a single letter of copy for myself and my clients.