Lessons Copywriters Can Learn from the World’s Highest-Paid TV Star


Who doesn’t know Oprah Winfrey? A multi-awarded journalist, one of the most formidable talk show hosts, and as of 2019, the world’s highest-paid TV star. For decades, Oprah has captured the hearts not only of her live audiences but of viewers from across the globe. She has served an inspiration to many, from budding media communicators to fellow talk show hosts, to writers and even ordinary people who want to make the most out of their lives.

Oprah’s life and career history also teach lessons in persuasive copywriting. Have you ever wondered why she has a continuously growing fanbase spanning different generations? Why do brands love to do business partnerships with her? Most of all, why do people subscribe and follow her every move?

The attitude of people towards Oprah is something businesses would want to experience from their target customers. People keep tuning in to her show. They are more than willing to buy her merchandise, or whatever product she promotes. Celebrities and ordinary folk go to her for advice. So how does Oprah do it? More importantly, how can copywriters follow her footsteps?

Oprah offers three valuable lessons in persuasive copywriting: empathy, pacing, and leading.

  1. Empathy

Empathy is about being sensitive and sensible to your audience’s feelings. It is usually mistaken for sympathy, but it is an entirely different attribute.

Empathy is essential in copywriting. It is because when you write copy, you open a discussion about issues that matter to your reader. However, rather than eventually throwing a pity party, you have to make your reader see and feel that you are in this situation together.

You may be promoting a solution via your product or service, but you don’t have to rub it on your audience’s faces. Instead, you talk about the issue like you and your reader are working through it, hand in hand.

Oprah makes sure that she engages with the issues her audiences face. While she introduces possible solutions, she doesn’t shove it into their faces. She just lets them sink these in.

  1. Pacing

Another copywriting lesson courtesy of Oprah is pacing. You cannot rush people to subscribe to your page or buy your product; you have to condition them first. Take advantage of it the moment they visit your landing page.

Your copy should not only be empathic. It should also serve as a guide for your readers to follow. Through pacing, you make them realise not only the vulnerability of their situation but also their capacities in overcoming it.

By pacing, you empower your readers. They learn a sense of building and ownership. They love to feel these things because they think that they are in control of what’s happening, even if you are feeding them these through your copy.

  1. Leading

Lastly, Oprah treats her audiences like they are heading towards a destination. She lays down a direction to a place they want to be in. Her viewers, on the other hand, rely on her not just for support, but leadership.

It’s because Oprah leads the way.

You may want to project your brand as the leader of the pack on your sales copy. While your readers feel empowered, they need the arsenal to win and survive, which they can only get from you. You don’t have to feed it to them directly; instead, you may want to make them see that your offer is the best there is, and they cannot settle for anything less.

Once you have made your readers feel these values on your copy, the more compelled they are to obey your call-to-action.



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