advocacy brand elections

#TheWriteStuff: Good Bones

Let’s take a closer look at the bones of good advertising – the writing – in today’s #StrategySession, with tips…

Let’s take a closer look at the bones of good advertising – the writing – in today’s #StrategySession, with tips and tricks to ensure your direct mail, video, or digital ad delivers not only the big picture message but enough details to persuade and motivate your targeted audience of voters, consumers, or constituents.

Look at the Whole Picture First.
Today, people may not have the time or desire to invest in waiting for the punch line of a direct mail piece or digital ad. According to a recent study, our attention span is a mere eight seconds, one second shorter than a goldfish’s. Strong taglines and an immediately recognizable theme will provide people who receive your digital or print ad with the big picture message.

Scan Down to the Details.
We talked about the inverted pyramid and the journalistic style of writing that starts with the big picture and whittles down to the details. We also explained the hourglass, which defines so much of our advertising and ensures we conclude with a strong call to action, motivated by the overall message. Point users to the most important information first with a strong design that helps eyes scan the page or ad.

Break It Up.
When writing the details, especially in print advertising, it is helpful to break message points into sections with subheads that carry the overall message through the piece as we get into more of the specifics. Strong designs help to support the eye-catching ability of a subhead, from color to style, bold to italics.

Aim for Simplicity.
Bullets are a good way to package multiple points together simply and succinctly. Bonus points go to the graphics that draw the reader’s eyes to them.

  • Bullets
  • Checkmarks
  • Xs
  • Numbers

Whatever the marker, the bulleted list draws eyes in.

Quotes and Captions.
Photos always grab attention, and the copy that goes with them is where many eyes fall next. Captions and pull quotes that visually break from the regular copy and support the overall message are often some of the first-read text on an advertisement. Use these to help personally deliver the message and make a stronger connection to the recipient of the ad.

See if you can spot some of these tips and tricks in our work – print, digital, and mobile.