Learning to Write Marketing Copy

Image Source

Overview of Marketing Copy

In the video Learning to Write Marketing Copy the presenter, Ian Laurie starts off by giving the viewers an overview of marketing copy. Marketing copy is developing copy for the purpose of selling something. All marketing copy has an outcome, good copy will always have a call to action. Ian Laurie takes the viewers into a deeper dive of what makes good copywriting, by reviewing good elements of copywriting. What makes good copywriting, is being able to capture the reader’s attention through attention-getting content and visual creative.

Ian Laurie reviews the three types of copywriting. The first is Marketing Collateral.  Laurie reviews the 6 different types of marketing collaterals.

  • The Brochure which is an “ongoing conversation” (Lurie, 2014) the brochure acts as an introduction to your product.
  • Direct Marketing is “an art in itself”. Copywriting for a direct marketing has to be on point or it can offend or turn off an audience, this form of collateral is a single call to action.
  • The Poster is a place where your brand stands out and the graphics dominate. This collateral always looks for a call to action from the consumer.
  • The Script is the behind the scene director, it dictates what is being said in video, audio, animation or a live speech.
  • The One liner is a direct short message. This could be a banner or a social post, it typically asks for an action to be taken.
  • The Product Description, which is as exactly how it sounds. This is found by the consumer when they are close to making the purchase.

Lurie then goes into how copy is delivered. Medium is online, print, radio or in person. Social media platforms are not included. The presenter explains a medium is a “pipe through which a message is communicated not the environment which the customer receives it.” (Lurie, 2014) Lastly by Style. The style is the way the copy is delivered. It could be delivered through educating the consumer, amusing them with laughter, putting the decision in their hands, scaring or pushing them into buying. All are effective when used in the right circumstance. Lurie stresses that it is important to keep in mind that  “neither collateral nor medium should dictate style. you can apply any style to collateral or medium.” (Lurie, 2014) when writing copy.

Preparing for copywriting is as important as writing copy itself. Ensuring you are free of unnecessary interruptions; from colleague interruptions to email notifications. Implementing a “miniature writing sprint” (Lurie, 2014) regime is effective when writing copy, a writer can achieve this by setting a timer and taking necessary breaks. 

Writing Copy

Figure 1 (Ng, 2013)

Knowing your audience, style and collateral is all a part of developing a good plan. in this lecture, Ian Laurie reiterates how important it is to have a plan with a purpose in mind. Ian suggests spending some time free writing to get the creativity flowing,  as quoted by David Ogilvy “if it doesn’t sell, it’s not creative” (Lurie, 2014) When considering the first draft don’t sweat the small stuff. It’s more important to get words down on paper “repetition & editing, rather than reams and reams of copy.” (Lurie, 2014) All while keeping your do’s and don’ts top of mind and considering your style and collateral. Once the first draft is complete its time for editing. Ensuring that editing comes before proofreading which allows for reorganizing copy and extraction of unnecessary words.

The headline is one of the more important pieces of copy. Lurie teaches the viewer that the headline is the first point of contact with the customer. It is the thing that grabs their attention and lures them in. ” headlines are important, invest the time to write them carefully and ensure you think them through. Marketing copy with a so-so headline will sell more products than no copy at all.” (Lurie, 2014) It is important to ensure that the content drives the headline, not vice versa. A good indication that your headline is effective is if it passes the blank sheet of paper test. If your headline can be shown to complete stranger on a single piece of paper and they have a good sense of what the copy will be about then you have a winner. With the convenience of the internet, you can test your headlines online with a variety of tools and data.

There are a variety of rules to follow when preparing your page for print or online along with accompanying advantages and disadvantages. But when you follow the rules it gives the reader the ability to easily scan your copy. 

Rewriting Existing Copy

When rewriting existing copy Ian Lurie stresses to never ever rewrite another person’s work completely. Instead, it is important to come at it from a higher level. Ask the original writer for some basic questions. Knowing the context, what medium the copy is for, and the style they are intending. Will set the editor up for success. Unless the structure is completely off, focus on reading for unnecessary words, active voice, and of course spelling and grammatical errors.

Editing for web copy is all-encompassing not only does an editor have to consider all other editing best practices but they also need to factor in editing for “ultra readability” (Lurie, 2014). Consider inserting headlines and lists to make it easier for the reader to scan. When editing for web copy your “not just writing, your laying things out” “as you edit keep the reader in mind and keep the environment in which they will be reading in” (Lurie, 2014)

When considering rewriting for social media the editor should keep in mind that the reader will be scanning, the copy needs to be short and to the point and in most cases in an active voice, not passive. Pairing the copy with creative imagery will help grab the reader’s attention. 


Managing a team in any environment can be a difficult task. The presenter, Lurie gives the audience a list of best practices when managing a copywriting team. It’s Imperative to manage the teams over mental health to avoid burnout of lack of creativity. Lurie ensures that he fosters an environment where his team can exercise their own style while still delivering the task given.

Setting an editorial calendar can be just as important as the writing for the calendar. In the presentation, Ian Lurie describes the vast difference between a content calendar and an editorial calendar. A content calendar is a “general set of goals” (Lurie, 2014) and an editorial calendar guides specifics, who- what- where- when.   According to the presenter, editorial calendars can’t “dictate what you write they guide your editorial efforts” (Lurie, 2014) which is why keeping the editorial principles in mind when creating a calendar, allows a team to be flexible and pivot when needed. Below is a great “how to” to set up your content calendar.

Video Source (lenarduzzi, 2015)

The brand is a business heart. The brand is everything that the reader thinks and feels about a business. It is essential that when copywriting to keep this top of mind. Ensuring that the brand is the main focus. The presenter Lurie reveals that brand is “everything that impacts your audience emotional & economic response to you” (Lurie, 2014) When writing for a brand it can be helpful to test and monitor your brand’s voice to ensure you are hitting the nail on the head. 

My Thoughts

Writing, editing, and scheduling marketing copy is an art in of its self. As the presenter suggests its “half art and half science.” (Lurie, 2014) A copywriter must not only be creative with their writing they must also be at the pulse of the customers brand. From knowing their customers target audience to speaking their customers brand voice. A copywriter has to know which collateral to use and where. They must also know how to use it to sell their customer’s product/brand, always keeping a goal in mind. This art is perfected by being able to recognize what the reader wants and in what environment they are consuming it in. In most cases, a copywriter must grab the reader’s attention with a grasping headline and/or a visually appealing page. It is also important for a copywriter to speak in an active voice that addresses the reader. This is accomplished by using 1 word instead of 2-3 words. As Albert Einstein said “if you can’t explain it simply you don’t understand it enough”  (HD, 2018) This is an indication that a copywriters job is more than just writing it is being an expert in what they are writing about.

An example of effective copywriting could be the following headline for a new age-defying face moisturizer. Don’t compromise on quality when it comes to your skin. The headline is to the point and speaks to the customers’ needs. The article following this headline would list the benefits of the product over other leading products with eye-catching images and a defined call to action. A copywriters job is one of the most important jobs in marketing it is up to the writer to deliver the message in the appropriate manner. “The right value, to the right people, at the right time.” (Lurie, 2014)

Below is another clever example of copywriting. The copywriter identified their target audience and ensured they were speaking directly to that customer. They achieved this by using humor and instilling it into their message, making them a rememberable brand.

Figure 2: (Creative-Copywriter)


HD, Q. (2018). Quoted HD. Retrieved from http://www.quotehd.com/quotes/albert-einstein-physicist-never-do-anything-against-conscience-even-if-the-state

Lurie, I. (2014, 05 30). Learning to Write Marketing Copy.

Creative-Copywriter. (n.d.). Retrieved from The Creative Copywriter: https://www.creative-copywriter.net/blog/copywriting-samples/

Ng, V. (2013, may 10). is it doesn’t sell its not marketing. Retrieved from MCNG Marketing : http://www.mcngmarketing.com/if-it-doesnt-sell-its-not-marketing/#.W8PGGXtTnIU

lenarduzzi, Sunny(2015, Dec 8) Content Calendar for Social Media Marketing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BxedEMLQTck






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