Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Top Ten Tips on Writing Copy from a Master

Drayton Bird
I love getting emails from Drayton Bird. Always worth a read - some more than others, but hey ... he is a prolific emailer.

David Ogilvy (an advertising god is case you are too young!) said Drayton Bird "knows more about direct marketing than anyone in the world." - that's a hell of an accolade from someone who should know!

Today Drayton sent this excerpt from a book called 'The Unpublished David Ogilvy' that was originally privately printed over 25 years ago.

"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 a pretentious ass.
  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.
    Wise words. You can be as clever as you like, but the idea about writing things to be read is just that - they should be written to be ... read. Do yourself and your readers a favour - follow Ogilvy's 10 tips on writing.

    To find more Drayton Bird Droppings see -

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