Here it is – “The Ancient Chinese Copywriting Secret”

I can’t be sure. But I think this will be my most popular post this year. Because of that headline:

The Ancient Chinese Copywriting Secret!

I’ll explain why in a mo. But first, a bit of a story…

A while back, I wrote some copy for a company selling medical devices. At the time, their top-end product was the best in the world, bar none. Any expert would agree.

But would people believe it? Nah.

(Anyone can say they’re the best – even Les Denis. The claim won’t make it so!)

So I dug into it. And found out, their technology came from a research lab in Denmark. I put that into their copy…and whaddyaknow?

Instant uplift.

Why? Because the “best in the world” claim is empty on its own. But show that you’ve scanned the world looking for the answer, and that’s more believable.


Don’t get me wrong. People still want proof, like stats and glowing words from happy customers. But once you show you’ve looked far and wide, there’s reason to take the claim seriously. Reason to feel it’s the real thing.

That’s a big part of the battle, won.

And it’s not just distance. You can do the same with time.

Develop a brand spanking new idea, and folks’ll shrug it off – “Whatevs”. But resurrect an old idea…that’s a different kettle of fish.

A Roman engineering secret. The dating playbook of Charles II. Beauty tips from the days of the Pharaohs. And so on.

The long-forgotten stuff that worked years ago. It’s more believable. It tells the customer “This works – it’s stood the test of time – but there’s a reason you’ve never heard of it”.

Neat, huh?

So there it is, in all its glory. The Ancient Chinese Copywriting Secret!

It’s not specifically linked to China’s bygone dynasties. It’s just a useful name for a “law” that says:

Your copy is more believable when you back it up with distance, time or both.

And that’s why I think this post will get more readers than usual. The idea has built-in fascination. So copy junkies, marketers, business owners…all will want to dive in, to see what it’s all about.

Just to be clear, though – I’m not saying you should make this up!

Hell, no. I don’t want to live in a world where IFAs are lying about “The Aztec’s Investment Secret”. Or fitness trainers claim “Alfred The Great got killer abs with this simple 2-minute workout!”

Lying is lying. Don’t do that, pretty please.

No, I’m saying, look into your business. At your method, or ingredients, or ideas, or whatever. If anything comes from bygone days, or from distant shores, use it. To show you’ve got a time-worn solution. And / or that you look for answers, and won’t stop till you find them.

In itself, this won’t get you a single sale. Not one. But it will get some readers over a first hurdle…

Summat to chew on, as you dive into your next bit of copy…

Meet the Author

James Daniel

You might not know who James is...but you've probably read his copy. Through high street clients like Hidden Hearing, or big gun marketers like Jonathan Jay and Chris Cardell. His words are out there, pulling in new business every month. What else? Well his books, Do You Talk Like That at Home? and Direct Mail 101 will help you squeeze out more sales. Oh yeah - and his new book Before You JFDI will help you plan your next campaign. Grab a free copy here.

0 comments… add one

Leave a Comment