The fine art of copywriting: be quick


People are busy. So get to the point.

This advice is so obvious and so commonplace that I hesitated to include it in this series of blog posts.

BUT… I realised that people often lose sight of what is really meant by this advice, so here’s my view:

  1. Great copy gets to the point immediately, not just ‘quickly’.
  2. Great copy puts the point first, at the start of the first sentence.
  3. Great copy doesn’t let you miss the point, or allow it to get buried in a deep sentence.
  4. Great copy doesn’t waste words on welcomes, greetings or platitudes.
  5. Great copy doesn’t state the obvious.

As all good journalists know, you should tell people what you’re going to tell them, and then tell them what you’re going to tell them in more detail. Begin with the big point, the sexy whizz-bang nugget of fun that your reader wants to hear about. And then explain why your thing is better than competitors’ things.


  1. So where do you stand on US-style long sales letter copy? Those US copywriters tell us that those 24-page juggernauts actually work. And does it have a place in the UK?

    Comment by Nigel the copywriter — January 11, 2012 @ 10:19 am

  2. Hi Nigel,

    I think those US-style sales letters are insane! They are typically used to sell utter junk or ‘information’ products. I deliberately avoid the kind of American copywriter that writes sales letters, just because their craft is irrelevant to mine. We have different clients, different audiences and different ways of working.

    And yes, Americans seem to love those crazy, rambling, gaudy sales letters. I think Brits are too suspicious to fall for sales letters – but I could be wrong!

    My post is really about writing web copy for genuine businesses, charities or any other kind of organisation that wants to communicate.


    Comment by Leif Kendall — January 11, 2012 @ 11:31 am

  3. lad I stumbled across this blog. I’ve been an English teacher for the last twelve years, but before that I worked in an advertising agency. I wrote copy for all manner of clients, and got paid peanuts as I was a recent graduate. I’m taking a break from teaching, and would like to do some freelance copywriting, but I have no idea where to start.
    I had looked into taking the course as a way of making contacts, at least, but having read this, I don’t think I’ll bother!

    Comment by Anna — March 24, 2021 @ 6:22 pm

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