Category: Marketing book reviews

asitreallyhappened# 5. A copywriting week for marketers

asitreallyhappened# 5. A copywriting week for marketers

A copywriting week for marketers

Discover here a good book to read if you are copywriter and you need to improve your style and technique for your next digital display advertising or digital marketing plan.

Copywriting in a week.

By Robert Ashton. John Murray Learning, 2016.

Pp. 124. £7.00. ISBN 978 1473 609419

If you are a (digital) copywrite and you need to improve your style and technique for a marketing project but you don’t have enough time (and budget for training), you will find this book easy to read and follow. In only seven chapters, which geniously matches with the seven days of the week, Robert Ashton exposures all the elements that a good (persuasive) copy should have, in particular for whom are in the (digital) marketing sector. Find below what I mean.

It’s Sunday. What does Robert bring us today? The reader will learn how to make the copy effective. In here, the rule is: know (making the audience aware your specific message), think (what they need to think) & do (purely and merely call to action). On a comfy Sunday, readers will learn how to make the copy a pleasurable reading, how to capture audience’s attention (call to action, again). After clarifying the goals of the copy, Ashton will teach us the structure of the copy, jargons and what they means. The day closes on how to hook the reader through some words selected.

Now, we are on Monday. This is an unusual Monday. Ashton shows us how the people read, because it will be important when preparing the layout of the piece of copy. Actually, the author will make us to be focused on the features of the copy (from the texture to the visual elements of it –  like pictures). Also, he introduces techniques to influence on the readers by the visual ways to present the piece of copy. For whom want to write copies for branding projects, the ending of this part is essential as the author shows us how to make words memorables, simply telling how it really is.

Finally, Tuesday. This chapter is about email and written letters. Starting from the differences between them, Ashton explains when to write business letters; how to combine familiarity with formality and how it is possible to build business relationships by using written letters. No more, no less.

Just in the middle: Wednesday. Ashton start preparing us how to stimulate responses by creating copies for advertising. Although you ‘know about your personas’, it is important to be careful of the copy you will advertise. Therefore, the guidelines are focused on persuasive actions, because at the end, we really don’t know who they are. Also, the author tell us about types and language of advertising, and most importantly for whom is new in the sector: how to construct effective display advertising, including posters which is an opportunity.

Almost there: Thursday. Ashton talks about how to deal with the media. He teaches us on how to build relationship with journalists, how the material are selected by them, how to become media commentator and how to become a good one. By the end of the chapter, a good reminder has been taught: blog is not the space to advertise, but to comment.

Glorious Friday. In here, Ashton tell us how to write piece of copy for promotional print (leaflets, brochures, catalogues, etc). But also, he opens the world of the print copies to show us how it works. Most importantly, in the customization’s era, Ashton teaches us how to personalize a promotional copy: simply, as if it is a cover letter and how to to generate a response.

And before the night comes: Saturday. The social entrepreneur ends the book telling us how to structure a proposal, as a final step just after having done the sales letters and brochures. Also, it is important for a copywriter how to presentate the sales proposal and how to use PowerPoint in favor of the copy. Nonetheless, the author closes the chapter talking about how to create signage, by using the humour.

In one week, the reader will have a clear picture about the art of building copies and how to be persuasive through the words. However, in the digital era where every detail is shown in a small touchable screen, is there a room for words?

I recommend the book for people who are interesting in marketing and in particular, in digital marketing sector in any industry. If you like this review, leave a comment or fill the form to receive updates.


As it really happened #2: Shh. Don’t tell how to make people talk about your brand

As it really happened #2: Shh. Don’t tell how to make people talk about your brand

Marketing book review

Contagious. How to build word of mouth in the digital age

By Jonah Berger

Simon & Schuster UK LTD, 2014. P. 244. £11.00 ISBN: 978-1-47111-170-9


Published in 2014, Contagious is more than 200 pages where it is developed the STEPPS. It stands for Social currency, Trigger, Emotion, Public, Practical Value and Story, elements which help to build the word of mouth for products, ideas, brands, etc. Word of Mouth is simply when people talk about it.

He makes justice his word – of – mouth strategy. As stated on his website, John Berger is a professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania with more than decade investigating how products, ideas and brands can be successful using word of mouth but in particular, looking at social influences in this matter. Contagious is an evidence of it.

Social currency. Points to how to make remarkable a product, idea or brand. Remarkable the unique selling points. Mystery, secrets, surprise and social recognition are at the core of the social currency. People want to share opinions and ideas, people listen to other for recommendations, people follow what looks “cool” and worthy to be commented.

Trigger. Why people talk about the product or brand more than others? One word: stimuli. The key is to make the people relate the brand or product to sights, smells, sounds. The senses play a huge role as they “can trigger related to thoughts” (p. 70) and place the product or brand on top of their minds. It is “inducted transference”, that is to make people associate the brand or product with a sense and/or meaning.

Emotion. It is about the benefits of playing with psychological arousal. Awe and happiness, as well as anger and anxiety impact on people’s sensitivities and make the audience remember the brand/product. Somehow, it is the rule “when we care, we share” (p. 96).

Public. A viral content should be visible and easy to be imitated by the unknowable collective. Berger assumes that people do what others do, due to the lack of information and uncertainty. It is a matter of what he calls “social proof”, that is people tend to imitate other’s behaviour because “People assume that the longer the line, the better the food must be.” (p. 131). It is easy when the brand and product are immediately visible to the people, but what about the brands, ideas or products that are private? Simple, make them public.

Practical Value. As fifth element to build the word – of – mouth strategy is to make the content useful, because it carries practical information. It is the how to do it tactic. Undoubtedly, Berger shows one of his best cards: the “prospect theory” which points out how people make decisions, their subjective point reference and expectations. It is about to take advantage of these point reference and show the deals as valuable as possible. The point reference is about how discounts are the best deal, even if the margin is insignificant.

Story. This is the last homework for marketers. A successful story when it is a narrative which leaves  a moral ending or a valuable/practical information or teaches something to the people, as if it is the Trojan horse story. The content has to make the people to talk about something because it is exchangle as a social currency, it is public, there is a transferable trigger and has an emotional connection.

In overall, Contagious is the result of a large data from conducted researches by Berger. It is a kind of informational guide to make the people talk about your brand or product. Not wondering if the book is simply viral.