You can learn a lot as a copywriter by listening to words of wisdom from all walks of life; not just from other copywriters. I believe that there are insights to be gained and that if you look hard enough, human nature will be revealed to you.
To me, understanding human nature is fundamental to being a better copywriter. Knowing people helps you relate to the people you’re writing for.
I keep a list of quotes open on my desktop and add to it regularly when I find a pearl in a good book, blog or article.
Here’s are a few of my favourite quotes and bits of advice that help me be a better copywriter.
“Regard it as just as desirable to build a chicken house as to build a cathedral.”
Frank Lloyd Wright
This is exactly the kind of thinking that will help you succeed in your career; whether you’re an architect, or a creative copywriter.
Many writers will be bored and frustrated with writing the copy for a chicken house. Worse still, some copywriters will see writing copy for a chicken house as somehow ‘beneath them.’
Yet, selling the beauty of a chicken house is infinitely more challenging than selling the beauty of a cathedral.
“A memory is what is left when something happens and does not completely unhappen.”
Edward De Bono
Mr. De Bono is a master of creative thinking and copywriters everywhere would do well to read his works.
Writing something that someone will remember is not easy. Yet, that is what we must do as copywriters to help our clients succeed – we must, somehow, get our target audience to remember.
In the greatest copywriting examples out there, you’ll see this at play. The writer creates something that ‘happens’ in the mind of the reader.
Aim to create memories for your audience like this ad:
“At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in this Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock”
That’s David Ogilvy at his best. He literally creates a memory for the reader, because he can imagine it happening. And once it’s there, it can’t unhappen.
“Every Webtext is really just half a dialogue, with the reader providing the other half.”
Killian wrote this in his book Writing for the Web and there are very few weeks that go by without this phrase jumping into my mind.
People do, indeed, have a conversation with what they read – especially online.
So, I deliberately set out to have a dialogue with the reader; answering her questions before she asks them, and anticipating what she’ll ask of me next.
Imagine you are speaking to someone sitting across the desk from you, instead of writing about a subject; this invites dialogue, rather than becoming a one-way street.
What are some of your favourite quotes that inspire you to be better?
“Writing is like football: everyone can do it, but you wouldn’t pay everyone to join your team.”
Sarah McCartney from Copywriting by Mark Shaw