Pen to Paper

The art of writing better headlines, taglines and body copy

This piece is set into 4 sections.

1. Process, 2. Writing style, 3.Technical Tips, 4. Resources


Step 1. Research previous material, get all the facts on the product.

Step 2. Question. Which benefit is most important. What problems does it solve. Ask fan's why they like the product/ on these answers. 'People buy to solve a pain or fulfil a need them to experience or at least see the pain of not making a decision.' - Hesketh Sell value. Not Price.

Step 3. Define - What is the purpose of your copy. Make a sale? Get a referal, direct people towebsite? Get an action - The advert should ask the reader to take the next step in the buying process... Be clear with you call to action. Be clear with your messaging, building a reputation for one thing in particular is the goal. Trying to cover everything confuses the consumer.

*Don't apply a solution until you have taken the time to accurately define the problem.

Step 4. Write & Re-Write

Headlines - Should contain an important consumer benefit, piece of news, arouse curiosity or promise a reward for reading on. 'Don't be afraid of long copy. Include as many facts as it takes to make the sale.' - R.W. Bly

*Visuals should always support and clearly illustrate the main benefit stated in the headline.

Points to Note:
Objection Handling - If you know potential customers already have a problem with your service/company...appraoch it head on. Solve and dissolve the issue. Show you understand their concern, have felt the same thing and have found the solution.


Ways to add interest to the copy :

Speak directly to the readers life, emotions, needs & desires.
Tell a story (The most interesting are usually 'what if' stories)
Write it in a personal style, warm and friendly
Use testimonials
Free offers
Important news
Problem/Solution formats




Aim to reach prospects on three levels with your copy: emotional, intellectual and personal. The most important, is emotional. People buy emotionally and justify logically, so let's keep them emotional. (To understand more about Emotional Decisions and the Cognitive unconscious, I suggest reading How to Persuade and Influence People - Philip Hesketh, and Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Khannerman.)

Use what Copywriter Michael Masterson calls the buyers 'Core Complex' - Represented by the formyla BFD (Beliefs, feelings and desires.)

'People Don't care how much you know until they know how much you care' - Hesketh

Use real language, keep it accessible. As Stephen King writes in his book 'On Writing' - 'One of the really bad things you can do to your writing is to dress up the vocabulary, looking for long words because you're maybe a little bit ashamed of your short ones.'

'Description is what makes the reader a sensory participant in the begins with the visualization of what it is you want the reader to experience.' - King


Getting Technical:

Avoid the passive tense - Active verbs are doing words, passive verbs are having things done to them.

Remove the Adverbs (which tend to end in 'ly) Its a 'slightly' soft way of writing. Don't be timid.

Cut Down: 2nd Draft = 1st Draft - 10%




The Elements of Style

On Writing

Anything by T. S. Elliot



When sketching, start by simply writing your company name over and over again in upper and lowercase. Explore mixing upper and lower case, writing on an angle, in a curve, a circle, spaced out, tight together and so on. Play with the word and you will start to find ideas you like jumping out at you. Develop these! And remember, sketch fast, rough and don't criticise yourself in early ideation stages, just explore.


WAdobe have a great tool online called 'Kuler' which you can use to help create colour palettes and explore colour palettes people have pre-made. This is great for inspiration and research for your colour palette. I often aim for 4-6 colour in my primary colour palette and remember to ensure your logo always works in monotone black and white.