Nathanael Green's Blog

An advertising copywriter, novelist, and freelance writer's brain goo.

Archive for the ‘Business Writing’ Category

An Example of Good Copywriting

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A lot of the best writing for marketing and advertising never wins any awards. Oh, there are tons of awards copywriters and advertising folks in general can win, and those awards often go to clever, funny ads.

But some great writing just helps drive sales. It’s inconspicuous, but actually communicates with the audience.

Here’s an example:


Why is this such good copywriting? Well, let me tell you:

  • It’s short. It gets the point across in 15 seconds.
  • It’s focused. There’s no rambling about the 27 benefits of going to Men’s Wearhouse. It chooses a succinct message and delivers it.
  • The benefit is clear: buy one get one free. Everyone loves free, right?
  • It shows they know their audience and plays off specific desires.

That last point is probably the most important—knowing your audience is paramount. I’m making an educated guess in saying that the majority of Men’s Wearhouse customers are professional men. And if that’s who they’re trying to entice, connecting the ideas of tall, powerful CEOs with their brand is a deft play on men’s desires while still keeping the obvious benefit of savings.

Sometimes the best copy is the least copy. And sometimes that’s the hardest to write. Finding the key message and just delivering the benefits, the emotional timbre you want, and doing it briefly can be exceedingly hard.

But this ad does just that. Nice work.

Written by Nathanael Green

October 24, 2011 at 12:25 pm

6 Reasons Why You Need a Copywriter

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I usually lean my posts towards writing tips or linguistic issues I find interesting. This time, however, I’d like to address an issue that comes up now and again in businesses promotions across the globe: Do we need a copywriter?

Here are six reasons you do.

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Written by Nathanael Green

September 2, 2009 at 7:24 pm

Make it Unique, Make it a Benefit

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Do you have a unique selling proposition? Having one, and communicating it effectively, can make a huge difference in your marketing.

It doesn’t matter what you’re peddling: You’re writing your resume and cover letter for a job; you’re writing an advertisement for your company; you’re crafting an elevator statement to pitch your screenplay … if you can include a unique selling proposition, it’ll make it all that much stronger.

So what is a unique selling proposition?

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Written by Nathanael Green

July 2, 2009 at 6:03 pm

5 Questions For Writing Better Promotions

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Whether you’re working on web copy, a direct mailer, ads or email marketing, taking a minute to answer a few questions before you write will go a long way to sharpening your promotion.

Here are a few key things to consider before writing any promotion:

1.    What’s the point?

Too often people begin writing a promotion and their only direction is “We need an ad.” They don’t think much about what they want that ad to say. Or they think it has to say everything and they try to say too much. And in both cases, it ends up saying nothing much at all.

Pretend you’re telling a friend about the piece you’re working on and he asks, “What’s the point? Sum up what you’re trying to say in one sentence.”

Mac does a great job of this with the Mac/PC ads – there’s usually one key message in each ad. Read on for the rest of the questions

Written by Nathanael Green

April 8, 2009 at 7:25 am

Set Your Commas Free!

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I have a beef with the Oxford comma.

Just to give you the background, the Oxford comma, in addition to being the title of a Vampire Weekend song, is also called the serial comma. This is where you use a comma before the final item in a list.

For example: My desk is wooden, old, and cluttered.

Notice the comma after the word old. That, my friends, is the Oxford comma. It’s promoted in a lot of writing guides including The Chicago Manual of Style and one of my all-time favorite books – Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style.

This comma is so important that many writers will harangue for hours about how it’s the single most important thing that makes English readable.

I think it sucks.

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Written by Nathanael Green

February 19, 2009 at 12:41 pm

You’ve Got 20 Seconds to Change Your Life … Are You Ready?

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You’ve got twenty seconds in an elevator with the literary agent/record producer/employer/customer of your dreams … can you pique their curiosity with what you’re offering?

If you’ve done your homework, you’ll have an elevator statement ready to grab their interest.

What is an elevator statement?

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The Supreme Rule of Marketing Writing You Need to Know.

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Whether you’re selling crime fiction, pitching an idea to your boss, or hawking toupees, you need to let an audience know that what you’ve got is available. But that’s not enough. You need to say, “Hey, this is for sale and here’s why you care.”

And that last part is key.

So here’s my Supreme Rule of Marketing Writing:
It’s all about the benefit to the customer.

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Written by Nathanael Green

January 22, 2009 at 12:30 pm