Crazy ideas are cool, but only good ideas work

Before you write any piece of copy, you need to figure out if the idea you’re writing about is any good. If your idea sucks ass, your copy will suck ass too. On the flipside: if your idea is good, writing the copy will be much easier, and faster. And chances are, your copy will be […]

Modern advertising must learn from the old masters of direct-response

“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 […]

That time I tried to kill Drayton Bird

“Were you two trying to kill me?” This is what Drayton shouts at me across the room. There I am, loitering at the back of an AWAI copywriting conference in Florida a few years back with my good friend, Mike Ford. We’re chatting waiting for the first speaker of the day to come on. But, […]

Five anti-predictions for 2018

At this time of year, you tend to see every man and his dog laying down their predictions for the year… I find the exercise a bit ‘meh’, to be honest. Predicting how the world will change is a real fool’s errand. Don’t get me wrong… Keeping an eye on how general trends are shifting is worth […]

Why every copywriter should ‘go old school’

One thing that struck me recently is how confused some people are about the kind of copywriting I do. You see I recently sponsored the ProCopywriters Conference in London (#CopyCon17). It was an interesting day, happily spent in the company of 200 or so professional copywriters. You may well have been one of them. If so, you may […]

The C.I.A. secret for identifying good ideas

Before you write any piece of copy, you need to figure out if the idea you’re writing about is any good. If your idea sucks ass, your copy will suck ass. Worse: A bad idea will make it even harder to write the suck-ass copy, which is just dumb. Why spend extra time writing bad […]

An interview with bestselling author and copywriter, Bob Bly

If you work in copywriting, there’s probably a copy of The Copywriter’s Handbook somewhere near you… Maybe it’s in that drawer you’ve not checked for a while… or hidden on the shelf between the Ogilvy, Hopkins and Schwartz… heck, it might be right next to you, acting as a coaster. Point is: this book is everywhere. And so it should be. You see, its author […]

Is it time to question the wisdom of David Ogilvy?

“Sell, or else,” pronounced legendary ad man, David Ogilvy many a decade ago. And, ever since, this unflinching commandment has been passed down from copywriter to copywriter. It’s the great leveller; the simple reminder that whatever the media, your aim remains the same: you sell, my boy, you sell if it’s the last thing you do. […]

An interview with top American copywriter Brian McLeod

It takes a pretty clued-up guy to help turn a tiny spare bedroom start-up into a hugely successful, nine-figure business that employed over 200 people… That said – you and I both know copywriters are pretty clued-up folks, right? US copywriter Brian McLeod certainly proves that. After co-founding one of the most successful product development […]

The Seven Stages of a Desperate Copywriter – Guest Post

‘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 […]