I’ve recently read a book about the history of marketing in the 20th century. One of the major innovators was David Ogilvy. He was unquestionably the King of Madison Avenue during the peak of his career. His approach to advertising and communication is relevant today to content marketers. Here are a few great quotes by a true pioneer:
1. “Never stop testing and your advertising will never stop improving.”
With all the amazing and inexpensive tools we have today, there is no reason not to test your subject lines, headlines, body copy, images and more.
2. “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”
This quote makes you think just how important headlines are and our need to refine them. Since the headline is the only thing people view on some social channels, this quote is even truer than in his time.
3. "I don’t know the rules of grammar… If you’re trying to persuade people to do something, or buy something, it seems to me you should use their language, the language they use every day.”
I love this quote and I’ve seen this work countless times. Years ago, I had a client with a copywriter that used a common misspelling of a word in a headline and it ran in a small newspaper ad. The next week they corrected the ad and performance dropped. On a hunch, they ran the ad a few weeks later with the misspelling and the performance jumped back up. They continued to run this ad for years with the misspelling and it was one of their highest performing ads. Sometimes, you shouldn’t try and fight success.
4. “The best ideas come as jokes. Make your thinking as funny as possible.”
Humor is a strong emotion and by using it, you’re more likely to get your content shared socially. If you’re having fun writing it, you’re reader will most likely do the same reading it.
5. “Never use tricky or irrelevant headlines… People read too fast to figure out what you are trying to say.”
Be straightforward with your headlines! Being too clever can backfire on you. Headlines should follow the two-second rule. If the user doesn’t understand within two seconds what is value they will receive from reading your content, rewrite the headline.