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A little boy holding a book with a surprised expression on his face” by Ben White on Unsplash   I used to be an expert. My copy had boosted clients’ sales 400% and higher. One bloke made $30,000 in 3 days. Another began closing 80% of business within 5 days of getting a lead. “At last!” I announced. [...]

What makes a great copywriter? Here are 10 suggestions from direct marketing wizard Drayton Bird. (Some of these are also from the late, great David Ogilvy.) How many boxes do you tick? Obsessive curiosity: There are no completely original ideas. You get ideas by combining different elements in new, interesting ways. Fill your head with raw [...]

Why is this a perfect advertisement? Because you need both the headline and the visual for it to work. A smashed up car says nothing on it’s own. Nor does the board above it: ‘His mind was on his business.’ Only when they’re placed together does the communication have meaning. They connect. And when the [...]

Could you write a 600-page book then burn it? How about spending your life making movies? Could you shoot 11 features, show them to no-one, then instruct your spouse to destroy all the prints when you die? This was the basic idea behind Paul Austere’s novel ‘The Book of Illusions.’ It follows the story of [...]

It happens at Johnny the boss’s office. Trigger-happy Tony arrives with a box full of machine guns. Johnny doesn’t like it. So Tony grabs a machine gun and shoves him aside… “Get outta my way, Johnny, I’m gonna spit!” …Tears the room to shreds. It’s my favourite scene in Scarface (1932). In any gangster film. Yet this [...]

“If you insist on being different just for the sake of being different, you can always come down in the morning with a sock in your mouth.” – Leo Burnett, founder of Leo Burnett advertising It’s easy to get attention. What’s difficult is getting relevant attention – so the prospect reads your ad with a view [...]

He began at ground level. Harold Lloyd hadn’t the music-hall background of Buster Keaton or Charlie Chaplin. He was just another Hollywood dreamer. There were thousands like him. But Lloyd did 3 things differently to everyone else – and you can do the same: 1. He gave himself a trademark In the 1910s and ‘20s, [...]

9 rules for better writing

I write every day. It’s a ritual I’ve followed since my late teens. Even on Christmas morning I get up 2 hours before the missus and smash out a few-hundred words. I suppose you could say writing has become a habit; same as brushing my teeth, or tripping over the dog. But it’s an adventure [...]

How I became a copywriter

I recently had a message from somebody interested in becoming a copywriter. Did I have any advice?  Well I’m quite a frantic, on-edge person, and my reply looked a bit hickeldy-pickeldy. I bombarded her with book suggestions – “Read this, this…oh, and read this.” The next morning I was ashamed. I wished I’d taken more [...]

Hello World! (Can you help?)

This is an awkward post because it’s the first. You have no compelling reason to be here, and I have nobody to talk to. Quite embarrassing. And it gets worse if, like me, you’re a copywriter. After all, the first rule of copy is this: Don’t harp on about yourself. Make it about your reader.  [...]