LESSON #3 of 7:
"The 7 Copy Formulas Behind Almost All Of AF's Multi-Million-Dollar Campaigns..." 
PLUS: The new copywriting secret of the "Grotesque Head"!
From: Todd Brown
West Palm Beach, Florida

(Missed any of the prior Lessons? Go here for Lesson #1 and Lesson #2.)

Now, upstairs on the third floor of the AF building, we pick-up inside of Joe's office, which... as a side-note... was smaller than I expected.

Of course, before getting down to business, a little goofing-off ensues while Joe shares a bit about a couple of their most recent projects...
"Alright, so... your copywriters are reading and following the AF research process. And that's where they find or develop a Big Marketing Idea", I say. "Then what happens?"

"Well," Joe begins, "every idea, first, gets pitched and must be approved. We hold idea submission sessions, or what we call Green-Light Meetings, every week. Once an idea gets approved, the copywriter then has twenty-four hours to write a lead."

Sheesh, twenty-fours to write a lead, I think to myself. That's it? I see marketers and copywriters struggle for weeks to write the copy for a single campaign. I certainly have, myself, on occasion. 


Now, for context:

What's a lead?

Well, it's a term that originated in the world of journalism

In our world... the world of direct response marketing... the lead is the first 350 - 800 words of the marketing campaign. 

The goal of the lead is to get the prospect intrigued and excited emotionally, and make them want to continue going thru your marketing campaign -- reading, listening, or watching -- with a high level of anticipation.

How important and valuable is nailing the lead when writing the copy for your marketing campaign? 

Listen to how Mark Ford, the marketing wizard behind all of Agora, and John Forde (no relation), a long-time Agora copywriter, sum it up:  
"When it comes to writing breakthrough copy, the lead is, by far, the most important part.

This strategy is already responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars in sales for the businesses we consult with. 

Learn this strategy and you will never have to worry about writing a dud. All your promotions will perform extremely well." 
Enough said.

Back to Joe's office...


"So how do you teach your new copywriters to write the lead? And write it in just twenty-four hours," I ask.

"That's where the 6-7 common templates or copy formulas come in," said Joe. "Our copywriters, even the new ones, are able to bang-out multi-million-dollar promotions because we show them how to use one of these proven structures..."

(Joe then listed out the following 7 lead types and gave examples of each from the legendary AF Swipe File talked about in Lesson #2:)

1. Secret Lead
2. Story Lead
3. Problem-Solution Lead
4. Prediction Lead
5. Big Promise Lead
6. Offer Lead
7. System Lead
A Secret Lead...
A Story Lead...
A Problem-Solution Lead...
A Prediction Lead...
A Big Promise Lead...
An Offer Lead...
System Lead...
"Once we show our marketers and copywriters how to identify which of these 7 lead types is right for their Big Marketing Idea," said Joe, "writing the lead is super easy and quick for them. Because it's then formulaic. We have our folks simply follow the proven template."

"And that's what they're using the Swipe File for," I ask. "To see how their type of Big Marketing Idea has been successfully done in the past?"

"Exactly", said Joe. 


"It seems absurdly simple to me," I respond, wanting to push Joe a little. "Almost too simple. Like, there has to be more to it than that."

"Well, of course there are some nuances," Joe fights back.

"Like what? Let's hear 'em," I respond.

"Well, as you already know dude, some lead types are Direct Leads and some are Indirect Leads," says Joe. "And which you choose is dependent on who you're talking to. In other words, how aware are your prospects of their problem, the solutions out there, you, and your solution." 

Now let's stop our story for a second for a quick explanation...


What Joe means when he says Direct or Indirect is how early in your marketing campaign do you talk about the product and the offer.

* A Direct Lead talks about the product and the offer early.

* An Indirect Lead does not talk about or introduce the product or the offer early. 

And, when Joe says, "how aware are your prospects", what he's referring to is something commonly referred to as the Prospect Awareness Level.  

It was first popularized many moons ago by legendary direct response copywriter, Eugene Schwartz

We've since expanded on it as part of the E5 CAMP Method with the Prospect Awareness Pyramid -- the thing you saw hanging on Joe's office wall.
Here's the simple way to understand this:

The less your prospects know about their problem, the different solutions out there, your solution, your company, etc... the more indirect you need to be in the lead.

The more your prospects know about their problem, the different solutions out there, your solution, your company, etc... the more direct you can be in the lead.

For example:

The Offer Lead is the most direct... hence, most appropriate for the prospects "most aware". 

And the Story Lead is the least direct (or most indirect)... hence, most appropriate for the prospects "least aware".

So, the seven lead types fall somewhere on a scale of Direct to Indirect based on how quickly they introduce the product and offer. 

Make sense?

If not, don't worry about it right now...

We're going way, way beyond what the new copywriters learn and need to know when just starting. More about this later. 

For now, let's get back to our story...


"Okay, so let me make sure I'm following you so far...," I say.

"Your copywriters are reading, researching, finding a Big Idea, pitching you the idea, getting it approved, identifying which lead type works with their type of idea, then writing the lead, in 24 hours, following the lead type template. Correct?"


"Okay, so, what next? How do they write the rest of the copy for the body of the campaign," I ask. 

Joe pauses for a moment. 

That's the easiest part of the whole thing. Because we have them use..."
Listen, as later in the day, one of the top AF copywriters explains how he's now using the secret of the "Grotesque Head" to come up with some of their most successful Indirect, Big Marketing Ideas.

It's absolutely PRICELESS! (You'll see me get all giddy as he spills the beans...)
Let's learn from each other...
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