Halloween and Sneaky Tricks – Using Fallacies For Content Generation
If you haven’t noticed the endless political upheavals going on this year, then you haven’t been paying attention. You must have been living under a rock if you haven’t endured the endless stream of first Brexit and then the American General Election Circus. Logical fallacies and political rhetoric abound!
For the most part, I try and avoid that entire sort of nonsense. It’s not really helpful, and it’s divisive. (Imagine the hangover everyone is going to get come November 10th, too.) However, it’s pretty interesting to study from a detached perspective.
Moreover, the political flame-wars and yellow journalism are good for one thing; building an audience and making sweet revenue money.
In this article, I’m going to share with you another evil copywriting trick & treat from the copywriting tool box. You too can create inflammatory and divisive content for your website and bask in the amount of troll comments you have to delete. All with one simple trick!
48 Laws Of POWER In One Easy Sentence
Everyone raves about the 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene.
For what it’s worth, I think the book is cringeworthy. It’s the sort of keyboard jockey nonsense that a guy in middle-management uses to rationalise the fact that he hates his boss… and his employees.
Still, people are looking for Machiavellian fixes to their own lives, and so I’ll just break down the long-winded book into one sentence:
People aren’t logical in their decision making.
Sure, you can give fifty historical examples of different applications of this truth, but that’s what it all boils down to.
“But Jamie; if nobody is logical, how come we have the study of logic? Besides, I am pretty logical!”
I’m glad you mentioned that.
The Study Of Logic… And How To Use It On Human Beings
(Except You And I… We’d Never Fall For This Sort Of Thing)
Logic is a beautiful subject. It takes the human element out of our existence and the flaws out of our thinking.
Essentially, logic boils down to creating the truest of statements. Every sentence you write is either an argument or it’s supporting evidence.
Apples are really healthy for you. They contain essential sugars and other nutrients. They’re also complete foods that are natural and not created in a lab. That’s why people have been eating apples for thousands of years.
All of those statements are either argument-forming or evidence for the argument.
Behind logic, there are devices which are used to break down an argument and test both the argument itself and its supporting evidence. Take the following example:
People get wet when they stand in the rain. Therefore, if a person is wet, then it must have been raining.
Obviously, the argument is rubbish. The argument is created by supporting evidence which leads the person to an untrue conclusion.
In logic, a device which you can use to create an argument with untrue merit is called a fallacy.
Jamie, Get To The Point. Why Are We Talking About This And How Do I Get Traffic?
(Hint: It’s All In The Logical Fallacies)
Logical fallacies are a little trick you might want to use if you’re looking for viral traffic.
People love reading stuff that makes them outraged. People also love to have their opinions confirmed, whether the argument is well constructed or not.
Most importantly for the evil content writer, people love to share outrage, comment due to outrage and repeatedly check a webpage to see how many other idiots disagree with them and virtuous souls agree with them.
Essentially, if you want lots of traffic and you’re not particularly concerned about how you get it, then subtly build logical fallacies into your news story or blog post.
I could throw in a few examples, but let’s be honest, if you just read through the list, you’re going to have hundreds of examples fly into your head based on what you have to endure every time you read a news site. (Or possibly your favourite blogger.)
Bonus Points: Don’t Get Duped
Obviously, using logical fallacies deliberately to create compelling and controversial content is pretty evil, and you probably don’t want to base your brand around it. (Though people have done and continue to achieve massive success in doing so.)
The real strength in understanding logical fallacies lies in your ability to notice them and thus resist them. When you feel that pang of political outrage or you feel that a writer is leading you down the garden path with an argument, your knowledge of logical fallacies means that you’ll be able to recognise them, click that red X in the top bar of your browser screen and get into more important stuff.
If you’re one of those people who still read newspapers or watch TV, you can throw the paper out or switch the TV off instead.
Final Thoughts: Evil Halloween Special
In short, if you want to create viral content, you can do far worse than load up the page of logical fallacies that I linked before and write a few articles with those in mind.
Remember that with great power comes with responsibility though, and don’t overdo it. Eventually, you’ll be found out. (Or you’ll look like a 48 Laws of Power dork who’s trying to be outrageous for attention.)
At the very least, go and read the page above so that you can recognise logical fallacies for what they are and avoid getting sucked up into the melodrama that politics takes so many victim to.
Oh, and if you’re reading this on the day it’s published, have a Happy Halloween!