I had the pleasure of catching up with Dan and Ceri at Innocent the other day. We had a chat about copy, specifically around how to produce copy guidelines for partners or other creative teams, and a few things came up that can be added to the lessons.
Lesson Three: Write your core message once, then busk around it.
It’s a simple directive that’s actually very difficult to carry out, but if you can get the sentence down that says that thing you do then it’s an awful lot easier to produce other copy around it.
David Whittle referred to this as ‘the story’ the other day, which is useful; it calls out that it could be a complex proposition, that must nonetheless have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Also worth noting that this might not be the thing that goes out to the public, but it’s the thing you base that copy around.
Lesson Four: Boil down your tone of voice into principles.
But be careful about over-analysing your content. Make the points short and easy to grasp.
Lesson Five: Buy a red pen.
If other people are writing bad copy then don’t make suggestions, just jump in and edit.