Short words. Short sentences.

Love this, by Richard Dowis, author of “The Lost Art of the Great Speech”, shared in Alan Stevens’ newsletter today:

“Short words can make us feel good. They can run and jump and dance and soar high in the clouds. They can kill the chill of a cold night and help keep us cool on a hot day. They fill our hearts with joy, but can bring tears to our eyes as well. Small words of love can move us, charm us, lull us to sleep. Short words give us light and hope and peace and love and health – and a lot more good things. A small word can be as sweet as the taste of a ripe pear, or tart like plum jam.”

It reminded me of this, by Gary Provost, which I also love:

“This sentence has five words. Here are five more words. Five-word sentences are fine. But several together become monotonous. Listen to what is happening. The writing is getting boring. The sound of it drones. It’s like a stuck record. The ear demands some variety. Now listen. I vary the sentence length, and I create music. Music. The writing sings. It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt, a harmony. I use short sentences. And I use sentences of medium length. And sometimes, when I am certain the reader is rested, I will engage him with a sentence of considerable length, a sentence that burns with energy and builds with all the impetus of a crescendo, the roll of the drums, the crash of the cymbals–sounds that say listen to this, it is important.”

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Can you copyright a colour?

ColourJust for a change, let’s explore copyright rather than copywriting.

Last night, I met the owner of a small business who’d been sued by Getty Images for thousands of pounds.

She had recently taken over the business from the previous owner. He’d innocently grabbed a picture from Google images and used it on the company website.

She managed to win the argument by immediately taking down the photo and proving it wasn’t her that had used it. Unusually, Getty backed down.

Many people think it’s OK to search the internet and help themselves to whatever images they find there. They are wrong.

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B2B v B2C copywriting: What’s the difference?

plastic cupOn my copywriting training courses, I sometimes ask delegates to write a headline to sell a plastic cup. Usually, they focus on the drinking experience of the end user – a business-to-consumer approach (B2C).

However, the purchaser of the cup is likely to be the procurement manager of an office block, who buys the cups in bulk. They don’t really care about the user experience; they care more about the price and speed of delivery – a business-to-business message (B2B).

It’s not really a trick question. I do it so the trainees remember to always ask themselves who the real customer is and write their copy accordingly.

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How copy really DOES make a difference

Many moons ago, I did a copy test for ad agency Ogilvy & Mather, in which I was asked to describe the last product I bought as a result of an ad.

At the time, I think I claimed that ads couldn’t persuade me to buy anything I didn’t already want.

I was wrong.

You may remember a blog post I wrote last year, about Eve mattresses: Oh, what a lovely bit of copy

BoxThat copy was so good, I have now invested in an Eve mattress. It arrived three days ago in a beautifully branded box (see right).

It’s evidence that a simple value proposition and clear tone of voice actively promote sales.

I’m not surprised that Eve has been listed in the CoolBrands® survey 2016/7. Congratulations to them – and a good night’s sleep to me.

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