Skip to content
Home » Walter White teaches how to cook powerful and addictive copy

Walter White teaches how to cook powerful and addictive copy

  • by

Ever wondered what separates great actors from good ones?

It’s not so immediate. It’s easy to tell a poor actor from a good one, but from good to great, the difference is not as clearcut.

One of my favorite actors is Bryan Cranston, the Walter White from Breaking Bad.

Here’s how he thinks about it in his book, “A life in parts”:

“When I do the homework for such a delicate scene, I don’t make a plan. My goal when I prepare isn’t to plot out each action and reaction, but to think: What are the possible emotional levels my character could experience? I break the scene down into moments or beats. By doing that work ahead of time, I leave a number of possibilities available to me. I stay open to the moment, susceptible to whatever comes. The homework doesn’t guarantee anything; with luck, it gives you a shot at something real.

See, great actors don’t merely parrot every single line in a script.

They stay open with the goal of portraying reality as close as possible. Reality for them being both the outer and inner world their character lives in.

And if you pay attention the question he asks himself can be incredibly powerful for us marketers and copywriters, when it comes to writing copy that resonates.

It’s not “What are the words my character should say?” but “What are the possible emotional levels my character could experience? “. Because emotions lead behavior.

This is why, just like an actor preparing for a scene, we need to do our homework to understand the various emotional states our customers might be experiencing.

This allows us to stay open to their needs, making our copy more genuine, relatable, and impactful.

And keep in mind, it’s not about following a rigid plan or script. As we talked about last couple of weeks, formulas can work well but they shouldn’t be the primary way you approach writing copy.

Being open to understanding, accepting and being responsive to the ever-changing emotional landscape of our audience is what matters.

How do you do that?

My 3 step process looks something like this:

  1. Dive deep into customer research: Understand their pain points, desires, and emotional triggers. Listen to what they say and how they say it.
  2. Break down the emotional customer journey: Identify the key moments or beats where emotions might shift, and adapt your copy accordingly. A lot of people overlook this step. It’s not just about creating a user journey, but also about mapping out the emotional changes within it and how to address them.
  3. Be flexible and empathetic: Keep an open mind and be willing to adjust your copy to resonate with your customers on a deeper level.

This is a cheat code for life, too.

Having a tough conversation? What emotional levels is the other person experiencing? Try to see the situation from their point of view, practice addressing any possible emotional state.

You’ll be more empathetic and understanding.

P.S. I dropped the ball on my Youtube Channel last month but this week we’re kicking things off in full force again. I have some exciting videos in the pipeline.

Have any topic you’d like me to talk about or expand on? Just shoot me an email and let me know!

Quote and reflection of the day:

“Creativity is being able to see what everybody else has seen and think what nobody else has thought so that you can do what nobody else has done”

  • John C. Maxwell, How Successful People Think

Creating something impactful requires alignment with and acceptance of reality first. But it’s your unique mental models applied to that reality that change it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

brain dump?

Every week I write about what I’m learning at my copywriting/UX desk ,with fun, insightful and quirky stories.

Let’s nerd about decision making, persuasion, habits, and conversion optimization.