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Copywriting

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Writing copy to grab your reader’s attention is hard. You might spend weeks testing different ideas for nothing. Even if the product or service you’re selling is great, it doesn’t necessarily make writing captivating copy any easier. But there is an exercise you can do to write copy with a much greater chance of success. And strangely, it involves spending time in your reader’s bed. Huh? Between the sheets Of course, I don’t literally mean…

“All my experience says that for a great many products, long copy sells more than short…” Those are the words of David Ogilvy, in Ogilvy on Advertising. He was a pretty experienced guy when it came to copywriting… Did a few good things, apparently. Interestingly, Ogilvy went on to suggest one of the reasons behind this idea is “advertisements with long copy convey the impression that you have something important to say, whether people read the copy…

At the end of the 80s there was really only one widely recognised skateboarding company: Powell Peralta. Started by two of the biggest names in skateboarding – particularly Stacey Peralta – the company was very successful. Indeed, it was pretty much the team to ride for. Its elite skating team – the Bones Brigade – included a young Tony Hawk. Nowadays, he’s perhaps the only universally recognised name in skateboarding. Another famous rider who you might…

Do people read long copy? On an almost daily basis someone suggests to me people don’t. The argument goes: In this modern world of failing attention spans no one gives anything any longer than a few seconds. What do you think? I think this whole question is piffle. I’ll tell you why in a minute… But to be fair, I should first lay down a disclaimer. I’m biased because I know long copy can make…

My mind is a mess. I mean, literally, a mess. There are too many ideas in there. Bits and bobs lying about all over the joint. Send help. Send a cleaner. Send a shrink. It’s like someone ran into a library with a barrel of explosives and let rip… There are pages everywhere. Ideas strewn across collapsed shelves. Quiet librarians shivering in corners, desperate to speak up but too shaken to speak clearly. I doubt…

When we talk about disruption, we usually think of that initial moment when we aim to grab someone’s attention. We think about an intriguing subject line… A bold and shocking headline. Or perhaps a controversial opening paragraph. We know by saying something weird or wonderful in that opening gambit – or even something strange and awful – we stand a good chance of being noticed. But as we work our way through the copy, we…

Before we get into this piece… A thank you. Thank you to all those readers who took part in my live webinar last Thursday (30th August). It was great to chat to you and from the feedback I’ve had, people found it really useful. That’s great. If you were unable to attend but you did pre-order the book, you should have received an email from me with the recording. Plus…you should have received a link…

Questions in copy can be dangerous… Do you agree? No. And there you go: my question is answered. Just like that, it’s all over. Sorry to waste your time. I’ll speak to you another day. … … … Wait. What happened there? Well, I asked a question. You had an answer. The transaction ended. Hell, I wouldn’t blame you if you couldn’t be bothered to find out why I was asking the question in the…

I think it was Kurt Vonnegut who said it… “If you can’t explain your story to a fourteen-year-old in one sentence, you’ve got a problem with your story.” Something like that. Possibly. And hell, if he didn’t say it, he should have. It sounds like something he’d say. Anyway, it’s a useful little thought. Indeed, I had it in the back of my mind all through my years studying creative writing and it served me…

“A recent study of the advertising now running in our leading magazines shows that less than 20% of the campaigns have a U.S.P.” A U.S.P is a unique selling proposition. It’s something that sets a product or service apart from the competition. But you knew that. And you probably know — deep down — the majority of modern advertising lacks one. Weird thing is: the quote above is not from a creative director lamenting the…