Here’s what you need to know to write compelling copy


The words that you choose are just as important as your visual identity. When you’re talking to your customers, you want to speak to them the right kind of tone and avoid overwhelming them with technical jargon. Your copywriting can make the difference of someone making a purchase or walking away.

David Ogilvy on how to write

In 1982 David Ogilvy sent this memo, which is titled “How to Write,” to his employees. I’m a big fan of the second point on this list. Take note and apply these as rules to your writing. It will help your customers to better connect to your marketing materials.

The better you write, the higher you go in Ogilvy & Mather. People who think well, write well. Woolly-minded people write woolly memos, woolly letters and woolly speeches. Good writing is not a natural gift. You have to learn to write well. Here are 10 hints:

1. Read the Roman-Raphaelson book on writing. Read it three times.
2. Write the way you talk. Naturally.
3. Use short words, short sentences and short paragraphs.
4. Never use jargon words like ‘reconceptualize,’ ‘demassification,’ ‘attitudinally,’ ‘judgmentally.’ They are hallmarks of pretense.
5. Never write more than two pages on any subject.
6. Check your quotations.
7. Never send a letter or a memo on the day you write it. Read it aloud the next morning—and then edit it.
8. If it is something important, get a colleague to improve it.
9. Before you send your letter or your memo, make sure it is crystal-clear what you want the recipient to do.
10. If you want ACTION, don’t write. Go and tell the guy what you want.


The copywriting infographic

Before you dive into this infographic, grab yourself a big cup of coffee because this is in depth. That’s why it’s called the copywriting infographic. It’s definitive because it covers a broad range of topics: structure, slogans, elements tactics, persuasive words and the big ol’ call to action.

Power words for writing emotional headlines

When you want to really capture someone’s emotions with your writing you will want to use some of these words. Keep this on hand for those times when you’re at a loss for words and you’re searching for just the right one.

Ask yourself: Should I used an exclamation mark?

I have no doubt that you know someone who abuses the exclamation mark. Perhaps it’s you. If you’re ever feeling tempted to slip an exclamation mark in some marketing copy, please consult this flowchart. (And hint: you probably don’t need one.)

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Brittany Giles is the Social Media Specialist at The Printing House.

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