For Day 22, discover why Stuart Clark thinks you should read The Copy Book over Christmas. You can win a copy of this outstanding book just by sharing this post.
The Copy Book: How some of the best advertising writers write their advertising
First published: 2011
It took Red C a year to read this book from cover to cover, but it won’t take you that long. We had it on display in reception, turning the page day after day until we reached the end. You could probably read the whole thing over a week – and what an interesting week that would be.
As its title suggests, The Copy Book is a book about copywriting. Actually, it’s more like a catalogue of copywriting, and great copywriting at that. It collects the work of some fifty or so copywriters that ran in the 1980s and 90s – something of a golden age for British advertising.
Though mainly consisting of offline press advertising, there’s a huge amount of inspiration here for copywriters and marketers working with any channel.
But what’s really valuable I think, are the short ‘essays’ that precede the work, where each copywriter answers the same single question: how do you write copy? These short missives are a treasure trove of smart, sensible copywriting tips that still make sense today.
One of my favourites comes from Steve Harrison, who says, “there’s one short, simple word you should use a lot. Read your copy and check that ‘you’ appears three times more than ‘I’ or ‘we’. This helps you write from the reader’s perspective.”
Or this from Barbara Noakes: “Before (writing copy) I like to have a conversation with somebody who lives and breathes the product or service. For cars, that could be a motoring journalist. For nappies, it could be with a mother or father. Or an expert in paper technology.”
This book is a timeless classic that frankly anyone working in marketing or advertising could learn a great deal from. Plus, it looks great on display in reception.
The 22nd of twenty-five of the best business books we’ve ever read. Our recommended reading for your Christmas break. And to celebrate our 25th Anniversary, we’re giving you the chance to win these coveted, sought-after reads, just by sharing and re-posting one of our daily recommendations.