Table of Contents
- 🥇 What’s your favourite piece of copy and why?
- 🧑🏫 What are the key skills that make you a better writer and how can others cultivate these skills?
- 🤔 Are there any rules of thumb that run through your mind when you write? Any tips or tricks that could help folks upgrade their copywriting?
- 🤖 How do you keep your creativity shining with AI tools like ChatGPT around?
- 🗣️ Have you got any tips for improving writing skills when writing for a particular tone of voice?
- ✍️ Copywriting resources you won’t want to miss
Read time: 4 minutes
Are you ready to have your mind blown by three copywriting legends? (If yes, keep reading.)
Vikki Ross, Dave Harland, and Eddie Schleyner took to the TMM stage and what followed was an awe-inspiring, fist-pump-inducing, loud-whooping-filled session.
We laughed, we cried, we gave standing ovations (no, really) as these three wordsmiths explained:
😂 Why it’s far better to be funny than forgettable
🤖 Why human creativity will trump AI chatbots everytime
👃 Why the best copywriters are infinitely curious/nosy
You really don’t want to miss the replay of this one. But in case, you’ve got somewhere better to be (you haven’t), find the highlights below.
🥇 What’s your favourite piece of copy and why?
Dave – On the main bus route into the town centre when I was growing up, there was a little carpet shop called Taffy’s. When a giant Carpetworld was built opposite, Taffy’s put up a billboard on the side of their building which read; ‘Wealth Warning – Crossing The Road Could Seriously Damage Your Wealth’. I loved that. The positioning was clever, Taffy’s were taking on the big dogs, and most importantly, it made me smile.
Eddie – It might appear that it’s just an ad to sell whisky, but it’s much more than that. It is about David Abbot’s lived experiences. It speaks to the human condition and has so many layers that mean something different to everyone who comes across it.
Chivas Regal Ad by David Abbot (Eddie talks beautifully about his children from 6:14 and we highly recommend listening in to all he has to say about the above example).
It’s a testament to good copy. Writing great copy, no matter what you’re selling, often boils down to how well you can illustrate a moment. How well you can show a slice of life and generate a feeling towards a product. This example is a masterclass in show don’t tell writing.
Vikki – I’m going to say Lego’s ‘Rebuild The World’ is my favourite. It’s Lego’s brand slogan which BETC Paris and Havas came up with and I like it for a number of reasons. It’s true to the brand and the product and it speaks to and about the state of the world. It’s also a call-to-action which uses only three words.
🧑🏫 What are the key skills that make you a better writer and how can others cultivate these skills?
Vikki – I think I’m really nosy. The more I know about something the more easily and naturally I can write about it. I’m also really anal and I think the more anal that you are, the more pressure you put on yourself to pay attention to every single detail. When you pay attention to the details, your copy is always going to be better. Every word has to have a reason for being there.
In terms of building your own curiosity, I think as creatives we are all naturally curious and there are opportunities everywhere to be inspired. Anything that’s got words in it could serve as inspiration. It could be listening to people talking in the pub or at the supermarket. Stay awake to the world around you and get out there.
Dave – I think noticing things around you and taking note of those that capture your attention is a skill. As we’re all trudging about day-to-day, if something is interesting enough to stop you in your tracks, take a photo and consider how you could use the approach in your own work.
🤔 Are there any rules of thumb that run through your mind when you write? Any tips or tricks that could help folks upgrade their copywriting?
Eddie – I’m always looking for concision and clarity in my work. So if something isn’t working, I ask myself;
- Is this clear – does it make sense the first time you read it?
- Is this concise? – am I using two or three words when one could do the job?
Vikki – I think you have to start with the audience first. You’ve got to get really in tune with what they’re into, what they’re saying and what they’re responding to. You can do that by listening to the podcasts they’re creating, and observing how they’re talking about a brand or a product on social media.
Dave – I think far too many people take for granted that people will care what you have to say and what you write. For the most part, if you don’t include some kind emotion, you run the risk of losing people’s hearts and attention. So make sure every sentence works hard. And secondly, don’t try to convey too many messages. If you can deliver one message really well, you will stand out.
🤖 How do you keep your creativity shining with AI tools like ChatGPT around?
Vikki – To begin with, I think that the conversations around AI is wrong. Why are we not defending creatives? Why are we not supporting and celebrating creativity? I really believe that AI doesn’t have anything compared to true human creativity. So, stay creative, write with meaning and emotion, tell human stories and have fun. Those are your superpowers against a robot.
Dave – I think the danger in fast tracking anything with an AI prompt is that you miss out on all of the lived experience – the genuine, authentic stuff that comes from being human.
✍️ When should a company or business bring in a copywriter?
Eddie – Copywriting is a craft – it takes experience. So if you have an important project and you want it to be a success, then that’s a great time to bring a copywriter in.
🗣️ Have you got any tips for improving writing skills when writing for a particular tone of voice?
Eddie – Copyworking always helps and has helped me a lot. Copy work is taking a piece of copy or an ad that you really like and transcribing it by hand. The act of writing it out slows you down and makes you notice the writing and decisions that have gone into it. Try to focus on the cadence and the word choices. If there’s a particular tone of voice you want to get into, then try that with previous examples to get into the mindset.
🏋️ Can you share a writing exercise that you do to bring about copywriting inspiration when you have writer’s block?
Dave – At the start of almost every project I will get a pad of paper out and split the page into four boxes. Some people call this the RISE method – it stands for Rhymes, Idioms, Synonyms, and Experiences. I fill those boxes out for whatever the product or brand is that I’m working on and very quickly you can go from a terrifying blank page to words and phrases that you can play around with.
✍️ Copywriting resources you won’t want to miss
Eddie Schleyner’s Very Good Copy
Dave Harland – The Word Man
Harry Dry’s Marketing Examples
Dave Trott’s blog
How To Write Better Copy – Steve Harrision
The Copy Book by D&AD