It’s hardly an advanced copywriting secret. Good news sells. For most copywriters, leading with the good news is second nature — a reflex. You’ll be thinner. Richer. Happier.

You get the drift.

In my writing, it’s second nature. In my speaking life, it apparently isn’t. Last weekend I served as Ride Director for the Shasta Summit Century — an organized, fund-raising bike ride whose crown jewel is the 135 mile Mount Shasta Super Century.

The course is extremely hilly. This year, a rider crashed on a downhill, and needed an ambulance. Back at ride headquarters, we heard the news over the ham radio. We all held our breath.

The news was largely good. He’s still in the hospital, but doing OK, and they’ll release him soon. An hour after the crash, we managed to locate his wife (she was several hours away), and called her.

I took a deep breath. I started speaking. Good news first, right? (Wrong. Scheez.)

Me: “Your husband crashed on a downhill. An ambulance is on the way.”

Her: Drops phone

Me: “No wait — he’s talking, he’s conscious, and everything’s moving. There’s even a doctor right there with him. The ambulance is a precaution.”

Her: More dead air…

Brilliant, eh? Note to self: next time, lead with the “Your husband is doing well, but he had a crash…”

Today’s moral: “Applying general copywriting principles can make your everyday life easier.”

[tags]writing, copywriting, shasta summit century[/tags]