Wednesday, 6 March 2019

The experts speak: five writing tips from the latest edition of 'The Copy Book'

This may be a book about advertising copy, but there’s no shortage of great copywriting tips contained within its pages. We’ve pulled out our favourite five.

1. Make an emotional connection

Your job is to forge an emotional connection that motivates people to engage with a brand. John Bevins, founder of John Bevins Pty. Limited, advises us to find your brand’s truth, then connect it in your own way to an essential human truth. Ask yourself; is it honest? Reliable? Amusing? Trustworthy? These are some of the main emotional hooks when it comes to copy.

Brand advertising should explain you, to you. Writing shouldn’t sound like it’s about your product: it should sound like it’s about the reader’s life. So use your own life experiences to animate your copy. Lead with an insight into an everyday human issue your consumer might face.

To pull this off, your tone needs to sound like the audience’s in real life. And to be distinctive, you need an attitude.

Charles Saatchi once said that you must find the right tone and stick with it. Own that attitude, and people will start associating your brand with certain emotions.

Surprisingly insightful: The Economist ToV

Thursday, 24 January 2019

What’s the latest edition of The Copy Book tell us about changes in copywriting?

The D&AD’s bestselling Copy Book’s out in a new edition. We dived in to find out how copywriting has changed since the original publication in 1995. Here’s what we found…

The Copy Book is D&AD’s highest ever selling book. It features 32 of the best ad copywriters in the world talking about their craft and showcasing their greatest work. Many writers consider 1995’s edition to be their Bible. So much so that some of the original copies used to sell for over £150 on Ebay.

A lot’s happened since 1995. The internet, social media, fragmentation of traditional media audiences… to name a few. So we wanted to find out what the new edition reveals about what’s changed.

Advertising’s less dominant 
The new edition of The Copy Book welcomes just five newcomers to its pages. Of the five newcomers, there are two who are not from advertising. Dan Germain, a founder of Innocent, and direct response writer Steve Harrison. So copywriting experts are coming from new fields outside of advertising.

Talk about below the line.

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Our five secrets of writing great copy

Ernest Hemingway revealed his personal writing secrets in a 1954 interview. He wrote just after sunrise when the air was ‘cool’, he typed his novels standing up, and he always stopped writing when he felt that he still had ‘juice’ ( the urge to carry on writing). But what if you’re writing sales emails rather than novels? 

Copywriting is a different creative process to writing fiction, so Hemingway’s tips will not necessarily result in great copy. In this post, we’ve revealed the five essentials that have helped us over the years.

Ernest Hemingway struggling with an email subject line, 1952.

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Swearing: when it can work for brands

Sometimes it’s okay to swear (sorry mum). Step on a plug? That’s fine. Burn the Sunday roast? Fair enough. Missed the last train home and now your phone has died? Go on, let it all out. But what about when you’re working for a major brand? Well, you would be surprised.

Messages don’t always resonate with an audience in the way you intended. Unfortunately, it happens. But if you genuinely cause offense, it’s a complete disaster. This leads us on to the topic of swearing in copywriting and advertising - is it ever okay? Well, there’s a time and a place for everything. Here’s when a bit of bad language can work for brands… 

Save your money! Research has proven that swearing actually reduces pain 

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Five techniques that guarantee great content marketing

Content marketing is a long-term play - you want to build relationships and shape brand perception whilst appealing to the search engine’s taste for quality content. So, what are the do’s and don’ts? 

Gone are the days of simply packing copy with key search terms. You’ve now got to provide authoritative content to be rewarded by the search engines.  
Laura Johnston wore these shorts for 135 days straight. We don’t recommend the same for socks.

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

What could GDPR emails possibly teach you about persuasive writing?

Whether it’s the World Cup, final of Wimbledon, or the humble sales email, competition brings out the best in people (unless you play football for England).

Changes to EU data protection law, better known as GDPR, prompted a deluge of emails. Inboxes were awash with rather desperate requests for your consent, gentle reminders to opt-in, and needy pleas to ‘stay in touch’.

But not every brand did the obvious. In this post, we take a look at the some of the ones that stood out.

The Economist does not beg

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Copy that guarantees great meetings

Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man, insists on unconventional six-page memos for all meetings. In this blog post, we provide you with essential tips for summarising the key issues in a way that is considered, stimulating and easy to read

Amazon’s owner and founder has many idiosyncratic business practices. Be it his ‘two-pizza rule’ for meeting sizes (never have a meeting where two pizzas couldn't feed the entire group), or his refusal to use an alarm clock. He recently hit the headlines for his insights into Amazon’s philosophy on memos.

Bezos revealed meetings begin with 30-minutes of silence where attendees read through a ‘narratively structured’ memo which he believes should take ‘a week or more’ to prepare. Bezos, however, struggled to articulate what exactly a ‘great’ memo is: ‘It would be extremely hard to write down the detailed requirements that make up a great memo’.

Sounds like a copywriting challenge. So here goes...

He didn't say what size pizza...