Mnemonics – How To Remember The Essentials of Copywriting

I am always looking for examples of how people use mnemonics and I have found a really good one from the internet marketing fraternity.

A mnemonic is an “artificial way” of remembering something.

When you remember something just because you remember it you are relying on natural memory and recall.  When you need to do a little mental trickery to put it into your memory then you are using a mnemonic.

The term mnemonic comes from the Mnemosyne, the Greek goddess of memory and refers to any artificial device that you use to assist your memory and help you remember anything.

When you park your car in a very large car park and you remember that you have parked it next to the lamp post with the big number 4 on it then technically that lamp post is a mnemonic.

All memory devices such as the journey technique, any of the peg systems and tools like Mind Mapping are all forms of mnemonics because they are artificial aides to memory.

However these days when someone refers to a mnemonic, they are generally referring to little tricks that are not quite memory techniques in their own right, but do go beyond just repeating something over and over again to remember it.

One of the most common examples is how to remember the order of the planets in our solar system.  Now that poor Pluto has been downgraded from a planet (so I am told) and that Sedna may be a new planet in our Solar system this following example is probably a bit out of date:

My Very Easy Method Just Speeds Up Naming Planets

This easy sentence helps us remember that the order of the planets from the sun is:

Mercury Venus Earth Mars Jupiter Saturn Uranus Neptune Pluto

And the way this works is that the first letter of each item we want to remember is then used as the first letter in each word of an easier to remember phrase.

Of course this relies on remembering that the “M” in “My” means Mercury so the main use for this particular mnemonic is to remember the order assuming that we know what the 9 planets are.

So that is the principle at work here?

Many people will probably remember that mnemonic (or one very similar) and may have considered them useful for stuff at school but have probably not re-visited the concept since their days sat in the classroom.

But today we still have to remember lots of stuff and lets make it easy for ourselves by using techniques like this.

I am always impressed by good teachers and the ones that stand out the most are those that not only put their topic across really well so that it is accessible and understandable but also that they do it in a way that helps their students remember.

Just recently I came across an example of such a teacher in the internet marketing industry.

This industry is all about helping business promote and sell their products and services more effectively on the Web.

One of the principles of good internet marketing is writing good “Copy” which means all of the sales literature that we read that persuades us (or not as the case may be) to buy a product or service.

It really is an art form and one of the best copywriters on the internet is a chap called Michel Fortin.  He has just written a post on his blog about how to remember the essentials of copywriting and he uses mnemonics to teach his students how to remember the key points.

I will share with you one of his mnemonics and recommend that you do read his entire post to see how he creates his to make it more memorable.

Like the example above, he takes the first letter of what he wants to put across to his readers, but he makes a word rather than another sentence.

For example:

Universal picture words or relatable, descriptive sentences.”  becomes UPWORDS where “Up words” are picture words, mental imagery, metaphors, analogies, examples, etc so that all people in a given target market can easily relate to and understand, in their minds, your message and its meaning.

It is a very simple approach but it does work.

Using other peoples mnemonics is powerful but the ones that have the greatest impact are those that you create yourself.

I still remember the categories of levers from my engineering apprenticeship 23 years ago because I created my own mnemonic for it.  I could give you a dynamic and engaging presentation on the three categories of levers if you want all from stuff I learnt 23 years ago and have not covered since.

It is not one of my most requested keynote speeches for some reason but at least I am prepared if ever my agent is asked for that topic