1 Introduction


Quote / Point


The challenge…

People read what interests them, and sometimes it’s an ad

2 Know the product


Quote / Point


Too much information?

The curse of knowledge

3 Know the benefits


Quote / Point


Turn features into benefits

Don’t sell the steak, sell the sizzle

Which benefits should you use?

Aldi and Lidl shoppers can easily afford to go elsewhere

4 Know the reader


Quote / Point


Who is your reader?

Seek first to understand, then to be understood

What does your reader want?

Think about the reader’s ‘jobs to be done'

'Before someone goes buying, there’s a reason they go shopping'

User stories and job stories

What does your reader feel?

Empathy is felt in the same part of the brain as pain

‘We do not see things as they are, we see them as we are’

Researching the reader

People may never express why they buy

Post questions for real people to answer

Write a persona

Young adults like to fit in and stand out at the same time

Personas from Middle England

6 Write your headline


Quote / Point


What is a headline?

Five times more people read headlines than body copy

7 Structure your copy


Quote / Point


Give information

Five stages of awareness

Make a list

People can only hold so many things in their minds

Use visuals and formats

Drawings can help you communicate

9 Get creative


Quote / Point


What is creativity, and why do you need it?

Insights on creativity

Relevant abruption

A smile in the mind

‘Unexpress the expressible’

Mix it up

Combine knowledge about the product and other things

See it differently

A treasure trove of fascinating perspectives to fuel your creativity

Find a metaphor

One of the greatest ads of all time

Make ’em laugh

Apply the seven deadly sins to the product

Stir it up

'I wish my son had cancer’

Do different

Outwitting the competition

Do the opposite

‘What if we did the opposite?’

Talking about greed instead of giving

Be agile

Oscars mix-up

Le Pen trolling

See what others did

A compilation of excellent copy, with commentary

Online collection of annotated ads and sales letters

10 Find your flow


Quote / Point


The power of ‘yes’ and ‘no’

‘No’ can be motivating or challenging

11 Engage your reader


Quote / Point


Use the same words the reader uses

The average UK reading age is nine

A quarter of UK adults would fail GCSE English

Make it real


Bring out the sensual side of a product experience

Avoid jargon and clichés (mostly)

Orwell’s advice to journalists

‘Sour grapes’ and ‘cry wolf’

We see familiar things as easy and true

The stories, myths and meanings behind familiar phrases

Tell a story

We recreate stories in our own minds

Put some drama or challenge in your story

What makes a good story

12 Sharpen up your copy


Quote / Point


Make it simple

‘All the strength is in simplicity’

Using long words makes you look less intelligent

‘It's not dumbing down. It’s opening up’

Advice on writing simply

‘Subject, verb, object’

No sentences longer than 25 words

Stay grounded

Saying that the product improves the world

Easy on the description, extra verbs

‘Treat adjectives and adverbs as if they cost £500 each, but verbs are free’

Get the length right

Writing for modern short formats

No evidence for shorter attention spans

‘Advertisements with long copy convey the impression that you have something important to say

Get rhythm

People hear words in their head when they read

Make it rhyme

People see rhyming statements as being 22% more accurate than non-rhyming ones

Check it… or get it checked

Guides to punctuation

13 Be persuasive


Quote / Point


Six principles of persuasion

What makes some people better at persuading than others?

Social proof

Social proof may not work if there’s no self-interest

Bringing it all together

Advice on writing persuasively

14 Use psychology


Quote / Point


Loss aversion

We prefer avoiding losses to getting gains of the same value

The Forer effect

We identify with vague statements if we’re told they apply to us

Embedded commands

A Neuro-Linguistic Programming technique to use the power of commands

15 Hit the right tone


Quote / Point


Five real-world tones of voice

Macmillan has very detailed tone of voice guidance

Detailed guide to creating and using a tone of voice

17 Project tips


Quote / Point


Web pages

A guide to writing for the web

Sales letters

A comprehensive guide to writing sales letters


Mailchimp supports automatic A/B testing

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