On Writing: David Ogilvy

Tips On Writing From David Ogilvy


In this post from Writers Write, your comprehensive resource, we share tips on writing from David Ogilvy.

British businessman, David Ogilvy was often referred to as the ‘Father of Advertising’. He was an expert in direct marketing and was well known for his emphasis on creative copy and campaign themes.

On September 7th, 1982, David Ogilvy sent the following internal memo to all agency employees, titled “How to Write”.

Tips On Writing From David Ogilvy

“The better you write, the higher you go in Ogilvy & Mather. People who think well, write well. Woolly minded people write woolly memos, woolly letters and woolly speeches.Good writing is not a natural gift. You have to learn to write well.

Here are 10 hints:

  1. Read the Roman-Raphaelson book on writing. Read it three times.
  2. Write the way you talk. Naturally.
  3. Use short words, short sentences and short paragraphs.
  4. Never use jargon words like reconceptualize, demassification, attitudinally, judgmentally. They are hallmarks of a pretentious ass.
  5. Never write more than two pages on any subject.
  6. Check your quotations.
  7. Never send a letter or a memo on the day you write it. Read it aloud the next morning — and then edit it.
  8. If it is something important, get a colleague to improve it.
  9. Before you send your letter or your memo, make sure it is crystal clear what you want the recipient to do.
  10. If you want ACTION, don’t write. Go and tell the guy what you want.”

via Lists of Note / Source for image

Use these tips on writing from David Ogilvy to help you become a better persuasive writer.

If you want to learn how to write for business, join us for  The Plain Language Programme.

Amanda Patterson by Amanda Patterson

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