How to Improve Your Copy with the Zen of Elvis

First, thank you for joining me here at the relaunch of the pen to Zen. There is still much work to be done, so please, bear with me!  Tell me how you like the new site below, or contact me. Now on with the post…

In case you don’t know this outstanding Elvis song, which I’m going to use to teach you about key copywriting concepts today, let’s start with the lyrics:

A little less conversation, a little more action please
All this aggravation ain’t satisfactioning me
A little more bite and a little less bark
A little less fight and a little more spark
Close your mouth and open up your heart and baby satisfy me
Satisfy me baby

In case you don’t get why I’d use an Elvis analogy to talk about how you can improve the performance of your copy, take a quick look and listen here:

More Action, Please

I’m the first to admit, I like conversational writing. But keep in mind, this is a blog post. When I want to boost performance of marketing copy, I add action words. To make room, I cut fluff.

Example: If I wrote this post’s headline for a web page or sales brochure headline, I could cut the “How To.” Starting with “Improve” brings an actionable command to the reader’s attention right away. I make this a How To because there is instructional value.

My Bonus Magic Trick: I started with a positive action, “Improve.” Before it was “Use the Zen of Elvis…” which is also actionable, but tells the reader to do some work right away. That’s okay on my home page where no one understands the picture of Elvis. Here, though, improve is a result. Better than use, which is not.

All This Aggravation

So, commanding the reader to do some work right away is more aggravating than “satisfactioning.” But motivating them with suggestions of positive results, yum.

There’s plenty of evidence in the YouTube video up there. In his prime, Elvis defined the power of suggestion. Early on, they wouldn’t show him below the waist. That’s okay, he did the same things with his lip, his head and his guitar.

You can do that with your copy. Make it move. Smile when you write. Shake it up. Be sublte, even, depending on what you’re selling. I’m winking at you right now.

Less Bark, More Spark

The event that gave me the idea for this post was a PBS special I happened upon, which replayed a 1973 Elvis concert from Hawaii.

He still looked good, though he was in the bedazzled white suit era. I remembered how much my mom, and many other random family members, just loved that guy, always, when I was a girl.

Seeing him perform (all these years later) showed me why. It was his confident, honest energy. He knew who he was. And the way he related to his female fans, all closer to my age, in the audience then. Wow.

Close Mouth, Open Heart

He seemed to still care for them so much. He wasn’t bothered by all the interactions–and there were many. All the scarves and leis they were giving him, the pesky reaching in…and he was sweating like crazy in that suit.

Plus, he flirted, with everyone. Even with me! Dead going on 40 years now, and he’s STILL sexy. I felt sad watching him, knowing he was probably on his prescriptions already. We might have saved him with a healthier lifestyle of today. Gluten-free treadmill Elvis or something.

Okay that’s less sexy. but… Why was I so affected?

Because he had an undercurrent of peace about him, even when he was powerful, and hitting really big notes. He seemed accessible. Even though he was the king.

I thought: that’s the artist in him.

Satisfy Me

The Zen of Elvis was demonstrated with less conversation, more action.

This outstanding song lesson of the day begins with some bangin’ drums and gets your attention in a good way.

After that, you need to know who you are and be giving in your tone. Even if you are an authority (or the king). Write copy that satisfies me: my need, my intrigue, my wish… it’s bound to perform.

And learn how much is too much when it comes to fried foods and meds. (winking…)

You can make sure your marketing is on par with these principles by doing a 3-step “copy sweep” using my free 30-Minute Copymaster guide.


photo by: Max Penn

3 Responses to How to Improve Your Copy with the Zen of Elvis

  1. BJ Aguado January 29, 2014 at 6:30 pm #

    Hi Faith. Great redesign on your website! Congrats on your relaunch!

  2. Faith Watson January 30, 2014 at 4:32 pm #

    BJ thank you so much for stopping by. I appreciate it, and am glad you like the new site!


  1. I Want You to Want Me: Cheap Trick or Rockin’ Headline? | pen to Zen - August 15, 2014

    […] to me–not just the writer me, but the me that is Faith in Real Life. I’ve offered the Zen of Elvis and I’ve been Schooled by Dylan, why not jump to the year I graduated High School for a song […]

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