Knowing your copywriting onions

Peeling back the layers to generate compelling copy

Doubtless you get as excited as I do, every year when National Onion Day comes around.

With so many across the nation, celebrating this important day, let's look at how great copy is so much like a big, crunchy onion.

Just as an onion has multiple layers, our most effective writing requires depth, structure, and a gradual unveiling of ideas.



The Outer Layer - Grabbing attention

The outer layer of an onion is what our reader sees first.
It must be appealing and intriguing drawing readers in.
In copywriting, this is our headline. It needs to be a strong metaphor or an engaging question.


The Middle Layers - Building substance

These are the body of our writing - where we build our argument, provide evidence, and develop our narrative.
Each layer should add more depth and detail, in the same way that each paragraph or section of our writing will build upon the previous one, adding richness and complexity to our message.


The Core - Delivering the essence

This is our main takeaway we want our readers to grasp - a powerful and clear conclusion that leaves a lasting impact on our audience.


The Tears - Emotional connection

Peeling onions brings tears to our eyes, symbolising the emotional connection that good writing should evoke.
This could be a poignant story, a compelling argument, or a persuasive call to action.
Our writing should touch our reader’s emotions, making them feel invested in our message.


The Flavour - Adding depth with metaphors

Onions add flavour to dishes, just as metaphors add depth and vividness to writing.
Metaphors can transform mundane descriptions into memorable imagery.
This makes our writing more engaging and impactful.
For instance, describing a challenging task as “peeling an onion” can convey the idea of uncovering complexity layer by layer.

So - next time you sit down to write, think of the humble onion and let it be your guide.


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Jun 18, 2024
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