Copywriting Insights

I never like the word 'blog' a menu title.
Isn't 'Copywriting Insights' way more appealing?

Here's where you'll find out about -

  • how copywriting works
  • countless copywriting ideas, hints and tips ... some of which actually work!
  • what questions you should be asking before taking on a copywriter
  • SEO - how to write to keep Google happy. (Should you write to keep Google happy? Maybe not)
  • how to write a compelling Call To Action
  • weird word quirks for word nerds
  • writing newsletters
  • the best books to read on copywriting
  • grammar stuff

I could go on ... in fact I do go on and will go on, with more tips, news and info posted almost every day.
Check out the growing list of categories on the right.

Even better - sign up to get it all in one weekly newsletter - The Copywriter's Chronicle

sign up 1

Oh - and when you do sign up, I'll send you a free copy of my 15-point Web Copy checklist.

Tone of Voice guides - can you live without one?
  Is your brand just an empty shell? Ninety-five percent of large organisations have brand guidelines. These are filled with pages of information on the correct and incorrect ways to make use of brand components like logos, colour palettes, and photography. There's even direction for the proper spacing of margins and columns. However, not all organisations have guidelines on brand voice. Has yours? It hasn't? Maybe it should.  
Oct 12, 2023
How to write a Call To Action that works.
Calls To Action - we all know how important they are. But how easy are they to write?
Dec 13, 2022
Headlines, sub-headlines and the art of seduction
HEADLINES AND SUB-HEADLINES - Why do they matter? Headlines and sub-headlines are a bit like dating. (As if I would know! It's been 42 years!)  
Dec 9, 2022
Who should it be? I or We?
When I'm deep in discussion with a solo client, and we're working through their website copy , we wrestle with one particular challenge more than any other. Should we use the pronoun 'I' or 'We'?  
Nov 30, 2022
How long should a sentence be? Striking a Happy Medium
I'm always banging on about the perils of yawn-inducing long sentences and the painful impact on the brain of repetitive short ones. So what's the answer? In our blogs, our web copy, our newsletters, our sales copy ... How long should our sentences be?
May 23, 2022
Sarcasm in Copywriting
Oh Mr. Lineker, what have you done? Did you realise? You committed one of the biggest copywriting sins of all - sarcasm.  
May 15, 2022
How to write great sales copy
Mask-wearing and writing sales copy that works There is a link. Mask-wearing is very much back in the news. The Leader of the House of Commons tells us that we won't catch the virus, as long as we're amongst friends. That's a relief. Better find myself a friend
Oct 23, 2021
Don't be Passive - be Active
... or how to come across as the warm, welcoming business you really are. How do you want to come across in your business communications? 1. Officious? Stand-off-ish? Remote? or 2. Warm, friendly and approachable? Let me have a wild guess? I'm going for no.2.
Jul 17, 2021
Long sentences ... not such a great idea
Did you know? The world's longest non-life sentence was imposed on Thai pyramid scheme fraudster Chamoy Thipyaso, who was jailed for 141,078 years in 1989. But, of course, as you've already worked out, this article is about sentence length in your writing - what works and what doesn't.
Jul 16, 2021
What does it take to become a copywriter?
You? A copywriter? Forget it! Only the uniquely gifted possess the rarefied talents required to become copywriters. Only the chosen ones can even dream of attaining the almost super-natural skills required to make words do the business for their business. Right? Wrong – very wrong.
Aug 24, 2020
Get to the point. Avoiding flowery language
“Look – I’m a technician. I haven’t a clue about words. It’s your job to come up with all the flowery language.” These were the words of Bob, my lovely new client from a few years ago. You'll appreciate I've had to let Bob down gently. I quickly reminded him that, of the many services offered by Copywriter Pro, being the purveyor of ‘flowery language’ isn’t one.
Jun 30, 2020
3 little words
We often hear about the importance of writing with empathy - of making our readers feel we’re ‘with’ them. All the best writers manage this. No more so than Maya Angelou. She famously wrote about using words to express empathy. “I’ve learned that - people will forget what you said. people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” So, we all know the value of writing with empathy - but how to do it ... that's another matter. One sure-fire way is to use three common, yet exceptional, words.
Jun 29, 2020
Less of the hype
Apparently, I'm awesome. No - really.  I must be. Well, at least that's what some clever marketing whizzo thinks. I've rarely felt so insulted.
Jun 22, 2020
Curiosity does more than kill cats
This moggy's curiosity may place it in great danger but your curiosity is the one trait that will make or break you as a writer. No - I'm not suggesting you have aspirations to be the next Tolstoy, J.K. Rowling or Jeffrey Archer (Forgive me. I don't know where that last one came from). Rather, I was thinking about your approach as you write your blogs, your newsletters - even your everyday emails.
Jun 14, 2020
Don't sell the product - sell the result
Features & benefits Putting the ‘why’ before the ‘what’. Yes - it’s that old chestnut - The Tweedledum and Tweedledee of commercial copywriting - features and benefits. I can hear the collective groan - “Oh not that one!  Everyone knows the difference.” But do they? Some have a funny way of showing it.
Jun 8, 2020
Fire your copywriter ... today!
Isn't it great news? At last, you can get rid of that massively overpaid word nerd. You've always known you're a great copywriter. From today, you can prove it once and for all. With uncharacteristically selfless generosity, I'm going revealing to you a wonderful little tool that's available to us all, but is usually tucked away where we can't find it. Five minutes from now, you'll know how to test everything you write - every blog, every web page, every email, letter, press release, case study or white paper - the lot. You'll be able to check them for readability ... in just seconds.
May 23, 2020
Copy Editing. Your online tool review
Typos - aren't they shockers? Who occasionally makes these annoying errors? Well, you do for a start. And, as long as you promise to keep this between us, I'll confess - I've been known to commit the odd erratum too. Of course, we all do. Often our little mistakes have little or no consequence. On other occasions, the impact can be somewhat serious. Here's a salutary tale -
May 16, 2020
Can the Can ... a tiny, yet vital, copywriting tip
Back in 1974, American songwriter, Billy Swan, released his only hit. I've a sneaking suspicion that, as he penned the lyrics, the last thing on his mind was pitching for business. Yet, the title of the one-hit-wonder seems to be used by almost every business in almost every marketing pitch. And the song is - I Can Help .
May 12, 2020
Who's it all about? Me, me, me or you, you, you?
Shout it loud. Did you know that Monday of this week is - wait for it - World Ego Day. So - what better opportunity to talk about the worst word in copywriting - I - while at the same time celebrating the finest - You! Let me tell you about my daughter, Hannah. This young lady would have made a great copywriter.  What do you mean, “How do I know?”?  It’s in her genes of course! But no - it’s true.  She has all the right instincts. And this is how I know ...
May 10, 2020
Copywriting ... The Cinderella of Marketing
It's odd (and a source of considerable dismay to professional copywriters) how the value of words in business, and the skill required to craft them effectively, so often goes unappreciated. Yes - we copywriters feel unloved. Our products (words) and our skill (putting them in the right order) are the sad, neglected, Cinderella of marketing.  
Jan 13, 2020
'Be bold, bloody and resolute!' How to write a great Call To Action
Those witches in Shakespeare's Macbeth sure knew a thing or two about writing great copy - particularly when it came to that all-important Call-To-Action. They knew that, to get someone to do something, it's no good pussyfooting around. Just tell 'em!
Dec 9, 2019
Get on with it!
“Look – I’m a technician.  I haven’t a clue about words.  It’s your job is to come up with all the flowery language.” These were the words of Bob, my lovely new client. Once I’d stopped smiling, I had to let Bob down gently and remind him, that of the many services offered by Copywriter Pro, being the purveyor of ‘flowery language’ definitely isn’t one.
Sep 29, 2019
A copywriting tip from one of the great storytellers
Ernest Hemingway - now he knew a thing or two about Copywriting In spite of what you might have heard, Copywriting isn’t easy – not even for an experienced copywriter. But boy it can be tough for a novice!
Sep 22, 2019
King Lear and the art of Nothing
When going through one of his demented, delusional, yet piercingly insightful phases, Shakespeare's King Lear, once intoned threateningly, "Nothing will come from nothing!". Was he right? I guess he probably wasn't referring to the art of effective business writing. But if, by chance, he was, then he was surely way off the mark. Because, in all kinds of business writing, plenty will definitely come from nothing.
Aug 31, 2019
Proofreeding is SO boring
Don't you just hate it? Several years ago, I produced the very first Copywriter Pro leaflet.  The design was great - thank you Mark Coster from Pixooma .  The print quality was the best (fine work, The Braunston Family from Braunston Print ). OK - enough plugs for these wonderful people. What about the copy? Well, it was, of course, almost perfection itself! Almost - but not quite ...
Jul 24, 2019
The Power of 3 - a massively effective writing tool
Once upon a time, there lived a young, ambitious, politician. One day he stood up in front his audience and promised, “When I become Prime Minister my 3 main priorities will be education, education, education.” His early years as Prime Minister went rather well.  It was only towards the end of his term of office that things went somewhat awry for Tony Blair
Jun 15, 2019
Try not to write. Just speak!
"Be yourself - everyone else is taken" This saying is attributed to Oscar Wilde - the chap in the photo. But this blog is really about a gentleman who's nothing like the Victorian man of letters. It's about writing in a natural, conversational way. But first, I'd like to tell you about Sean.
Jun 10, 2019
Size matters. Or to put it another way ...
... small is beautiful Was it Winnie The Pooh who once said - "It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like 'What about lunch?'" Imagine the scene - You’re writing a Sales Letter, promoting your latest widget. So – what’s the most important thing? 'Being professional?' Well that's arguable. What do you mean by 'professional'?
Apr 28, 2019
Copywriting - How long should sentences be?
That Usain Bolt - he certainly knows a thing or two about going flat out, but when we're writing, isn’t pace more subtle than that? You’ll have noticed that I’m always banging on about the virtues of keeping things short.  Short words, short paragraphs, short sentences … but hang on a minute.  Does this always have to be the case? 
Apr 26, 2019
A Capital Idea
It's all about clarity Some of the biggest brands ignore this one.  When you write your domain name, either as your email address or your web address, always capitalise the first letter of each word - like this -  It makes it so much easier for the brain to take it in.
Apr 24, 2019
transparent gif