David Ogilvy’s Rules on How to Write Potent Copy

I recently read Confessions of an Advertising Man by David Ogilvy, and thought it was an awesome book about the advertising business, A true classic.

Ogilvy’s rules on How to Write Potent Copy:

On Headlines:

  1. The headline is the most important part of the ad; it is what gets the reader’s attention and what makes them keep reading. Invite readers and do not say anything to exclude any readers.
  2. Every headline should appeal to the interest of the consumer.
  3. Try to put news in the headline. The words new and free are the most powerful words that can appear in the headline.
  4. There are several other words that are effective: How to, Suddenly, Now, Announcing, Improvement, etc. Headlines can also include emotional words.
  5. Five times as many people read the headlines and the body.
  6. Include a promise in the headlines, and longer headlines sell more than short headlines.
  7. If the headlines make the consumer curious, they will more likely read the body.
  8. Do not try to write tricky headlines, be simple and to the point.
  9. Do not use negatives in the headlines.
  10. Always make the headlines have a meaning.

On Body Copy:

  1. Write the body as if you were recommending the product to a stranger.
  2. Do not try to impress the reader with big words, be simple and concise with the body.

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