David Ogilvy, the founder of Ogilvy & Mather, is widely recognized as the “Father of Advertising” and the “Original Mad Man.” He gained prominence for his advertising work and played a significant role in building a multibillion-dollar company. He also created hugely successful campaigns for clients such as Shell, Rolls-Royce, Dove, and more such brands.
If you’re looking to improve your copywriting skills, reading David’s book or watching his videos will undoubtedly inspire you. In this blog, we would share his 7 commandments, what we believe to be the best of Ogilvy’s arsenal for content writers working in a digital marketing agency.
1. Go big or Go home
Don’t bunt. Aim out of the ballpark. Aim for the company of immortals. -David Ogilvy
According to Ogilvy, the success of the product you’re promoting relies heavily on your abilities as a representative. Any shortcuts or weak arguments could fail. For a content writer, producing subpar copy is not an option. If you can’t achieve perfection on your own, it’s essential to hire someone who can.
2. Do the Homework
Advertising people who ignore research are as dangerous as generals who ignore decodes of enemy signals. -David Ogilvy
David Ogilvy gained valuable insight into the importance of understanding the target audience during his time working for George Gallup, the founder of the Gallup Poll. He views that effective copywriting requires in-depth research into your audience’s identity, thought processes, and needs. To produce exceptional copy, you must have a thorough understanding of your audience, allowing you to craft messages that meet their needs in the most effective way possible. Nothing less will suffice.
3. Customer is the King
A consumer is not a moron. She’s your wife. Don’t insult her intelligence, and don’t shock her. -David Ogilvy
According to him, while a charming pitch is appealing, customers ultimately seek solutions to their problems. It’s crucial to treat your customers with respect and dignity, recognizing that you’re on equal footing, or perhaps at a disadvantage, given that you’re the one in need of a sale. This realization should guide your copywriting approach, allowing you to craft messages that resonate with your audience and demonstrate that you value their needs and desires.
4. Headline is the hero
On average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar. -David Ogilvy
The majority of people, approximately 80%, tend to read the headline of a piece of content, but only around 20% of people continue reading the rest of the text. To capture your audience’s attention, it is important to create headlines that tap into the aspects of human nature that make people feel positive and resonate with their overall motivations. Highlighting areas of discomfort or concern can also be an effective strategy to encourage readers to engage with your content and learn more about your products.
5. Always answer “WHY” in the copy
The more informative your advertising, the more persuasive it will be. -David Ogilvy
Now that the audience is hooked on the headline, the next thing they will ask is “why” before deciding to buy the product.
Why should we buy this?
Why is it better than what they are already using?
All these questions go through the customer’s head consciously and subconsciously. If you want people to act, your copy should answer these questions.
6. Copy is Crucial. Treat it with Care
Like a midwife, I make my living bringing new babies into the world, except that mine are new advertising campaigns. -David Ogilvy
David Ogilvy viewed each of his campaigns as if they were his children. He nurtured them, fought for them, and helped them grow. As a result, he created some of the most successful advertising campaigns in history.
He voiced that writing exceptional copy requires time and effort. Copywriters might spend weeks perfecting a headline and several months refining the body copy. But this isn’t because they’re slow; it’s because they understand the importance of creating a compelling copy.
Follow these commandments to write compelling copy that will sell.