The Simple Secret of… Complexity?

Usually, the writer’s mantra is “K.I.S.S.” (Keep It Simple Stupid.)

And most of the time, this rule works just fine.

Yet, we also know that writing – especially the kind of writing we do in sales letters and editorially – is more and more about building relationships. And aren’t relationships complex, built layer upon layer?

Well, maybe there’s a way to reconcile this insight with the rule about simplicity.

First, I’d say that yes, the relationship you build with your readers – from the first paragraph of your sales copy to the last, or through a series of articles or blog posts – does need to grow and evolve. And the process of growth and evolution is never simple.

Still, this doesn’t mean you can just jumble your ideas together. Even rich and layered relationships are united by a few very simple objectives. Maybe even one simple objective, depending on who you talk to. Even in a sales letter that drills home one distinct message, the copy also builds trust, nurtures a sense of urgency, intensifies desire, and so on.

Second, I’d say that you can never discount the power of the passion behind written ideas.

You can’t write well about something you don’t believe in. And you write better about things you believe in strongly. I say this because passion about ideas, it seems to me, is the glue between the “power of one” single-idea insight… and the context of complexity in which it can still be couched.

[Ed. Note: To get more of copywriting expert John Forde’s wisdom and insights into marketing (and much more), sign up for his free e-letter, Copywriter’s Roundtable, at and get a free report about 15 deadly copy mistakes and how to avoid them.]