When I was but a wee young “copy cub,” my copywriting mentor Richard assigned me to write an email sequence.
I was pitching a 3-day “fix your business” summit for struggling independent tax advisors.
I started doing some research to find out what keeps your average tax advisor awake at night, and I stumbled onto this big controversy.
Seems that in the tax business, like many other industries, big national chains like H&R Block and Liberty Tax are muscling their way into smaller markets…
And stomping ALL OVER Mr. Small-Time Tax Advisor like Godzilla flattening a cardboard Tokyo skyline.
The independent tax guys are roiling with rage over how these “tax mill” chain stores offer terrible advice and poor customer service, yet still manage to steal all their clients.
(Aside: What's the Godzilla Invades Tokyo story in YOUR market?)
My research also uncovered a news angle:
Turns out that a couple of these big behemoths had just made a strategic move to carve off yet another piece of the business that the little guy depended on.
The email I wrote about this started with an imaginary battle scene, describing how H&B Block and Liberty Tax were storming the gates with a battering ram…
It all led up to a climactic and ominous warning:
“They're coming for you, John”
When I handed the copy in to my mentor he gave it a quick scan, and…
With one stroke of the delete key, he beheaded my poor email.
Lopped off the first 5 paragraphs that I'd labored over and polished.
“Start here,” he noted next to what WAS the “dramatic climax.”
And danged if he wasn't exactly right.
Now when you opened the email, the chilling warning socked you right in the face:
“They're coming for you, John.”
Copywriting guru John Carlton calls it “throat clearing.”
In the newspaper biz we used to call it “burying the lead.”
Different terms for the same problem:
Often the first few sentences you write are really just a warm up.
To give your writing more punch, try whacking the first few paragraphs.