Big Lead Mistake #1: “Clearing Your Throat”

Have you ever heard the expression “don’t bury the lead”?

It comes from journalism…

And it’s a term used to describe a news story that starts with secondary details…

Rather than the most attention grabbing “hook.”

In journalism, burying the lead is considered a cardinal sin…

And the same can be said about sales copy too.

I see it all of the time…

I get to review hundreds of pieces of sales copy through my mastermind…

And I’ve found that even some of the best copywriters on the planet…

Still sometimes struggle mightily with their leads.

That’s why over the next several emails…

I’m going to share some of the biggest mistakes that copywriters make when it comes to their leads…

And I’d urge you to pay close attention to these emails…

Because dialing in your lead is one of the fastest and easiest ways to increase conversions and engagement.

Okay so here we go…

Lead Mistake #1 – “Throat Clearing”…

Throat Clearing is when you waste several lines before you get to your big idea or hook.

It’s related to burying the lead…

And here’s an example of what Throat Clearing can look like:

[V1]

“Hey, I’m John, and I’ve got an important message for you today.

This is something I only recently discovered...

But I think you’re going to be pretty blown away by what I have to say.

Why?

Well what I’m about to share is unlike anything you’ve ever heard of before…

It has to do with a freak horse-riding accident that nearly killed me…

But that ultimately led me to discover a controversial, yet medically backed pain-relieving ‘super-grass’…

Something that the world’s best trainers have given to their thoroughbred horses for centuries…

And that new science is now showing to help with pain in humans too.”

I just made that up on the spot…

But can you see how we “buried the lead” there?

Instead of how it’s written above…

It would be much better of the lead just started by talking about the accident and strange discovery.

In other words, it should look more like this:

[V2]

“In 2014 a freak horse-riding accident nearly killed me after I shattered virtually every bone in my body”…

Or we could even start right in the action, a la Chris Haddad, and go like this:

[V3]

“The last thing I remember is the horse rearing onto his back legs…

Then the sickening sound of my bones cracking as I hit the dirt with a thud.

It sounded like shattering glass the way my bones snapped…

And when I woke up in the hospital four hours later, completely paralyzed…

I thought I’d never be able to walk again.

Hi my name is John…

And while that day, September 24th 2014, was the scariest and most horrifying of my life…

It also ended up being the luckiest.

Why?

Because while I didn’t know it as I was lying in that hospital bed with tears running down my cheeks…

My accident would ultimately lead to the discovery of what is probably the most important pain-relieving breakthrough of the past twenty years.

It has to do with a controversial, yet medically backed super-grass…

Something that the world’s best trainers give to their thoroughbred horses as they’re preparing for races like the Kentucky Derby, so they don’t get sore…

And that new medical research has now found to help mute soreness in humans as well…

Especially those who are over the age of 50…

And who suffer from a stiff back…creaking bones…or joints that howl each time they bend over to pick up the newspaper.”

Go back and look at the first version of the lead…

Then look the last one.

Can you see what a massive difference there is?

And let’s be blunt here:

There’s practically zero chance that a reader is going to be more into V1 than they are V3, right?

So that’s why we don’t clear our throats.

Now as I mentioned at the beginning…

I’m going to need to do a whole series of emails about common lead mistakes…

Because otherwise…

This email would be like 5,000 words long.

So make sure to keep an eye out for my next few emails if you’re into this kind of stuff…

And hopefully you are into it…

Because dialing in your lead has very wide-ranging applications…

This isn’t just about long-form sales copy…

The same concepts can be applied to two-minute eComm videos… Facebook Ads… presentations… an on-air-interviews… discovery calls with prospective client… and so much more.

K enough about leads.

We're celebrating Eden’s official birthday party!

She’s been 2 years old for a few weeks already…

But today a ton of friends and family are coming to my mom’s house in San Diego…

And we’ve got all kinds of toys and machines that will be pumping out bubbles in the backyard…

Which should be heaven for my little girl.

I’m super excited…

And I’m sure you’ll see lots of pictures on FB and Insta later today…

So get ready 🙂

 

– SPG

P.S. I think Todd Brown was one of the first to use the expression “throat clearing” in relation to the copy mistake I describe in this email. I'm not positive, but figured I'd rather err on the side of attribution than risk ticking someone off.

P.P.S. This post originally came from an email I sent to my private list. If you want to see more stuff like this from me, you can apply to join my list using this link.

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