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Emotionals

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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…

‘When we tell stories about creativity…we neglect to mention those days when we wanted to quit, when we believed that our problem was impossible. Instead, we skip straight to the breakthrough. We tell the happy ending first. ‘The danger of this scenario is that the act of feeling frustrated is an essential part of the creative process. Before we can find the answer — before we can even know the question — we must be…

I want to talk about the end… The moment you know the inevitable is upon you. The moment you see everything flash before your eyes and wonder if you’ve done enough. The moment you quietly whisper into the vast, empty abyss and ask… Dear reader, do you actually want to buy this? Yes – I’m talking about the end of a direct response sales letter. NOT the end of the world. Though to be honest,…

I blame Dostoyevsky… Even his name is difficult to read. Is that even how you spell bloody Dostoyevsky? Who knows? Who cares? OK. OK. Yes, I accept – he probably was one of the greatest writers that have ever lived… And yes, his novels are deeper than a deep thing that’s very deep. But here’s my problem… People too often believe only difficult writing is good writing. For years we study the classics, we build…

When someone decides to pay money in return for a product or service, it’s a serious thing. Good copy should respect that. I was sat in a meeting recently when a sales letter I had written was brought up on the screen. Though I naturally recognized it as mine, the people I was meeting with did not. Rather than point out that I’d written it, I thought I’d wait to see the reaction it got…

Copywriters can be precious people… I should know… I am one. And sure, tell me my copy doesn’t work or that I could do something better and once upon a time I would have sulked for a week. Yup, I used to be like that. But these days, I’ve calmed down. I’m wiser. You see, I realised sometime ago that you simply cannot be precious about your copy. And that’s never more the case than…

Copywriters aren’t often too kind to subheads… In fact, most of the time subheads are treated as nothing more than punctuation. Indeed, one of the uses of subheads in long copy sales promotions is to punctuate copy… but it is just ONE use. There are many more. The fact is, having strong subheads throughout your promotion can be the difference between copy that bombs and copy that sells. So, let’s just take it as accepted that…

Poor old Boris… Who writes his copy? Because they need their wrist slapping! Seriously, when it comes to communicating with your customers (or rather in this case, constituents) you’ve got to make sure you avoid one thing above all else… You should NEVER patronise them. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what Boris’ recent letter to Londoners does… And in the very first line! You see, I got a letter through the post from Boris the other day…

I love this… I took this snap on a weekend away in Minehead; a seaside town in the south-west of England. We were walking along the promenade when I spotted this sign planted above a ramshackle bookcase propped up against someone’s front wall. And just look at it… A nice big, bold headline that has an implicit benefit – it’s a book SALE. Then, if the offer enticement of a sale wasn’t strong enough, it…

To be effective, copy must engage with the reader on a personal level. It’s not an option. It’s essential. Though many copywriters may nod their head in agreement to such a fact; it is startling to see so many promotions, adverts and editorial published – often by people who should know better – that is cold, impersonal and impossible to relate to. I’m not sure what’s going on. I mean, it’s a basic tenet of…