8 timeless writing tips from David Ogilvy

Guidance from the ‘Father of Advertising,’ first offered in the 1980s, still holds—especially those points about brevity and emphasizing a call to action.

Ragan Insider Content

From website copy and e-newsletters to blog posts and social media updates, your business depends on your ability to write well.

David Ogilvy (known as “The Father of Advertising”) penned a memo, “How to Write,” in 1982; it’s still a goldmine of advice. Here are eight of his writing tips:

1. “Write the way you talk. Naturally.”

Every business has a voice; yours should be a natural reflection of your brand. Every word you write—whether on your website or in a Facebook update—should reflect it.

2. “Use short words, short sentences and short paragraphs.”

Make everything you write easy to digest quickly. No one likes reading a wall of lengthy text; a lot of writing fails due to overly wordy text. If you have a big chunk of information you want to share, consider ways to make it easier to for your readers:

3. “Never use jargon words like reconceptualize, demassification, attitudinally, judgmentally. They are hallmarks of pretense.”

Make your blog posts, e-newsletters and social media updates inclusive; you want anyone to be able to read and understand it easily.

4. “Never write more than two pages on any subject.”

To read the full story, log in.
Become a Ragan Insider member to read this article and all other archived content.
Sign up today

Already a member? Log in here.
Learn more about Ragan Insider.