10 tips for writers from the father of advertising David Ogilvy

The ability to write well is not an innate gift. This can and should learn.

In 1982 Ogilvy sent out to all Agency staff a memo titled “How to write.”

He who thinks well, writes well. The one who is confused in his thoughts, writes the system area obscure, unintelligible letters and unintelligible speech.

David Ogilvy

Here are 10 tips that will help you sharpen the writing skills.

1. Read the book Kenneth Roman and Joel Raphaelson “How to write so that you trust”. Read it three times.

2. Write just like a speak — naturally.

3. Use short words, short sentences and short paragraphs.

4. Never use jargon like “reconceptualize”, “demasculinize”, “expert”. It is a sign of pompous jerk.

5. Never write more than two pages on the same topic.

6. Check the quotes.

7. Never send a letter or a memo on the day of writing. Read the text aloud the next morning — and edit.

8. If the text is important, ask a colleague to make changes.

9. Before you send your letter, make sure that the recipient will be absolutely clear what you want from him.

10. If you need action, not write. Go and tell the person what you need.


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