Post: 3 lessons copywriters can learn from David Ogilvy

David Ogilvy

Don’t worry. If you read the title of this post but have no idea who the person is in the title, you are definitely not alone. Many people don’t recognize the name of David Ogilvy, but they are familiar with his work. Ogilvy is considered a marketing pioneer and an advertising guru in his day. He enjoyed many years of success before his death that occurred at age 88 in 1999. 

Ogilvy’s legacy includes timeless advice that can help copywriters refine and improve their skills. Before becoming the first-ever advertising mogul, Ogilvy bounced around from job to job until he found his niche. He would often say that he had no experience in advertising when he started and no credentials to offer to convince people to hire him. His success was not stunted by his limitations. He dreamt big and worked hard, and he made an impact that continues to affect the advertising industry. 

David Ogilvy recommends that copywriters should know their products

Ogilvy called the process of learning about your product, ”doing your homework.” He believed that in order to know how to something, you first have to know as much as there is to know about it. As a copywriter, you create content that is designed to boost sales for your clients. Therefore, you should always carefully review exactly what it is your client is trying to sell before deciding what to write. The more you know about the product, the better and more effective your copy will be.

According to David Ogilvy, longer copy is always best

This flies in the face of most current copywriting standards, which emphasize brevity and concision. David Ogilvy used to say that short copy was for amateurs. He believed that sales data consistently proved that longer copy typically generates more sales than shorter copy. He also believed that, if you are going to ask customers to spend a lot of money, you should give them more to read. 

Ogilvy wasn’t necessarily recommending that copywriters be verbose. He insisted that long copy should demonstrate purpose and contain helpful or valuable information for the reader. 

Shoot straight when writing copy to sell

One of the things that David Ogilvy advised copywriters against was trying to fool customers into buying things by adding irrelevant content or images to attract their interest. An example of this would be to clutter a page with images that have nothing to do with the product or service you are selling because you find the product or service boring. 

Ogilvy taught that copywriters should always be direct and ensure that content is specifically relevant to the product or service they are trying to sell. Advertising is about meeting the needs of your target audience, not distracting them with sparkly images just because the product is boring. Remember, when you distract them, you are taking their focus AWAY from the product you are trying to get them to buy. 

Remember this advice if you are writing content to market your books

If you’re an author, you’ll also want to improve your copywriting skills because you will spend a lot of time marketing your own books, even if you are working with a publishing company. You might have an author website or blog set up to discuss your books and make them available to your readers. Keeping the three lessons from David Ogilvy that are featured in this post in mind may be helpful when you are creating content to try to boost sales.