Some rules for writing (Ologie style)

November 25, 2012  

Nathan_ThorntonOur clients often tell us that the biggest challenge in bringing their brand to life is capturing their authentic voice and producing meaningful content. So, in the spirit of holiday giving, we thought we’d pass along these ten foolproof rules for creating copy, penned by our own Nathan Thornton. Forget Gangnam style, this is writing Ologie style. We hope you find the list insightful.

The Ologie Rules of Copywriting

  1. Any copy that opens with “nowadays” or “these days” will be deemed unusable. People know what days it is.
  2. Adverbs are grammatical celery. They should be picked out of your sentences and arranged in a neat pile at the edge of your plate.
  3. Can the copy you just wrote be sung to the melody of the Ramones song “Rock and Roll High School”? Then you’re probably onto something.
  4. Avoid cheap shortcuts like these: “Did you ever notice…,” “It seems to me…,” “Lo and behold,” and “Ain’t no party like a [client name or core brand attribute] party, ’cause a [client name or core brand attribute] party don’t stop!”
  5. Anything you can say in ten sentences you can say better in five. Similarly, any word you can spell in five letters you can spell better in two. (And honestly, does it have to be words? What about an emphatic gesture or a hilarious face of some kind?)
  6. The following words are strictly forbidden: impact, connection, empower, experience, acrost, slippage, beefy, and ridonkulous.
  7. Here’s a little secret: You can add the suffix “-tastic” to pretty much any word.
  8. When presenting your work, using a phony-baloney British accent isn’t required, but blimey, think how smart you’d sound.
  9. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Except for the egregious grammatical errors in the part where it says “ain’t broke.”
  10. Most importantly, always remember to write good. 

Nathan Thornton is associate creative director at Ologie. He has helped craft distinctive brand voices for many of our clients, including Albion College, Saint Anselm College, and Finish Line.