Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Write Once. Edit Five Times.

Concerning copy, quintessential adman David Ogilvy once told a fellow writer, "I am a lousy copywriter, but I am a good editor."

To compensate for his lack of skill, Ogilvy would edit his own work.
"After four or five editings," he said, "it looks good enough to show to the client."

Lousy copy is king on the Web, where carelessness takes a back seat to craft.

Nonsense like this is the norm:

Reach all Convention attendees who opt in to receive a Convention Program (approximately 10,000) for the APA Annual Convention, Honolulu, Hawaii, July 31-Aug. 4, 2013. As an advertiser in this highly visible vehicle, you have a unique opportunity to promote your organization’s products or services in the APA Convention Program. Seeing your ad with your booth number ensures you are on each attendee’s “map”—reinforcing your booth objectives for the show.

Had the writer cared, a single edit would have bolstered her effort:

Make sure you're on the map! Promote your exhibit by advertising in the APA Convention Program, a must-read for 10,000 attendees.

Just imagine what five edits might do.

Next time you write, take Ogilvy's advice: Edit. Edit. Edit. Edit. Edit.

PS: For more good-writing tips from David Ogilvy, check out Branding Strategy Insider.
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