Nathanael Green's Blog

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

Archive for the ‘Marketing and Advertising’ Category

Carefully Crafting Headlines and Barfing Up Titles

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There’s a distinct difference between writing headlines for advertising or marketing copy and writing titles for fiction. Here is that difference:

Writing headlines is an interesting, challenging process where I get to try different techniques
to craft an engaging line to elicit a specific response.

Writing titles sucks.

Oh, I know they’re both in my job description. As a freelance copywriter, I often write multiple headlines in a day. (Here’s an old post on what it is a copywriter really does, just in case you’ve forgotten.) And as a fiction writer, every piece I write needs a title.

So why the big difference? Read the rest of this entry »

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Written by Nathanael Green

January 7, 2013 at 9:02 am

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

Ebooks: Publisher-Murderer, or Savior?

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Barnes & Noble's Nook

Ebooks are all four of the Horsemen of the Publishing Apocalypse digitally processed into one little, bloodthirsty file.

Or they’re the shining savior who’ll give all writers bajillions of dollars, euros, or even dirham if they feel like retiring in Morocco.

Whatever. Let’s all take a deep breath and be honest with ourselves here.

Why are publishers trembling from fear and writers from excitement?

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Nathanael Green

June 3, 2011 at 8:26 am

“Bimbo” Lost in Translation?

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Hennes the billy goat loves 1. FC Köln!

So, I like soccer. When I lived in Germany, I lived near Cologne, and naturally my Bundesliga team was the local 1. FC Köln. Even now, I’m still a fan of die Geißböcke, though games are hard to catch on TV.

(Left is Hennes, their mascot. As if you needed another reason to love Cologne.)

Here in the States, though, soccer is much less prominent, but despite that, I recently got a local team of my own to cheer for. And that, dear friends is Philadelphia Union.

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Written by Nathanael Green

January 13, 2011 at 5:30 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?

Read the rest of this entry »

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