Writing Like David Ogilvy

I wanted to improve my copywriting.

I browsed thousands of examples, reading a 1 book a week, and have subscribed to at-least 15 newsletters. All this effort for one thing- improve copywriting.

Reading good sales letters like by Gary Bencivenga, Eugene, David Ogilvy and always wonder

“Can I ever mimic their writing style? Can I ever be a good copywriter?”

And Boom- I came across a solution. It happened on a fuzzy Sunday afternoon. I was lounging around in my favourite, bright red Liverpool shirt, and came across “Copyworking”

It’s the act of transcribing another writer’s work. Just copy their ad/copy on a sheet of paper. Word to word. And by hand.

The logic?

Writing by hand will help you internalize the author’s voice.

You will notice the punctuation, the flow, indents in paragraphs, cadence. Slow down the process, and you will observe more.

For example, I tried transcribing Ogilvy’s work. By hand, and sipping my coffee every 5 minutes.

  • I noticed how he indents his paragraphs.
  • How he uses simple words.
  • He asks, without actually asking.
  • How well he uses P.S.

At first, this feels so wrong. Like plagiarism.

But I realised- it’s scientifically proven.

So the next time you go ‘wow’ over an article, an ad or a content piece- bookmark it. Comeback to it 2 days.

Still find it interesting?

Do copyworking.