Read, read, read. That’s what they say, so I’m taking this advice and running with it. Don’t get me wrong, I have done my fair share of reading on the art of copywriting and branding, but not nearly as much as I should have. Below I’ll be listing the 10 copywriting books I plan to read in the next few months.
1) Ogilvy on Copywriting by David Ogilvy
I am ashamed to say it, but I have not read what many people consider to be the copywriting bible. Ogilvy is credited with taking the advertising world, the somewhat directionless ship it was at the time, and steering it back into creative and effective waters.
The reviews I’ve cast my eye over rave about how this book not only offers tips on how to produce effective copy, but also explores the world of promotion and landing new clients which, in today’s competitive copywriting environment, is more important than ever.
I’m looking forward to getting a glimpse into the mind of one of the most successful copywriters of all time.
2) Persuasive Copywriting: Using Psychology to Influence, Engage and Sell by Andy Maslen
Based on a great deal of research and encounters with neuroscience powerhouses, Persuasive Copywriting focuses on the influence that emotion has on our decisions. The premise behind the book seems to be that, when all is said and done, people often make spur-of-the-moment decisions and think about the reasons for them later.
This reminds me of some copy I saw just recently. It was at a train station. The copy read “The perfect coffee”, and below this copy sat a completely mediocre-looking cup of ‘train station’ coffee – basically not the best coffee you will ever have, by a long stretch. I then made a comment to my friend – “Dude, isn’t it weird that even though I know that will be a bad coffee, I kind of want it?”
Because the adjective ‘perfect’ had been used, my emotions seemed to be coming into play a lot. Had I not been over the other side of the train track, I might have shot in there hoping for the perfect coffee, only to be left fuming 5 minutes later.
Definitely looking forward to this read.
3) Influence by Robert Cialdini
I have read some belting reviews of this book online, with copywriter Alastaire Allday saying it is “probably the most important book you’ll ever read on the art of persuasion”. High praise indeed.
It’s been on my ‘must read’ list for a while, and I’m looking forward to adding a few persuasive strings to my bow.
4) The Copy Book by D&AD
Packed with examples of work from established copywriters (48 to be exact), as well as essays from these copywriters, the Copy Book seems to offer a very practical approach to the art of copywriting – which is right up my street.
5) Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
Now this book, from Noble Prize winner Daniel Kahneman, is one I have started reading, and I’m glad I did. Straight away you get a glimpse into the complexities of the human mind, and how different factors trigger a completely different way of thinking. I think finishing this book is really going to help improve my copywriting and brand strategy awareness.
6) Read me: 10 lessons for writing great copy by Roger Horberry and Gyles Lingwood
This book contains 10 snippets of wisdom on the art of copywriting, and I can’t help but feel that the title is a lesson in itself. It’s no secret that using imperatives in copy, as long as it is strategic and thought through, can be very effective. I mean, I wanted to read this book just after glancing at the title.
7) Building Strong Brands by David Aaker
I have heard great things about this book, and particularly about its emphasis on the various elements that are instrumental in constructing a very strong brand identity.
One thing I’ve learned since setting sail onto the copywriting seas is that, when designing the content for a brand, it is very much like a construction project. Lots of people involved, everything depends on the foundations you put in place, and you need to get the basics sorted before you start installing fancy bathroom suites and fittings imported from China.
I am definitely looking forward to learning more about what creates that long-lasting brand identity.
8) The Idea Writers: Copywriting in a New Media and Marketing Era by Teressa Iezzi
Some of my favourite books on copywriting are related to the changes that have taken place in the creative world. I just think that taking knowledge like this on board helps you to develop a great understanding of why change happens and what exactly drives it.
9) It’s Not How Good You Are It’s How Good You Want to Be by Paul Arden
“Too many people spend too much time trying to perfect something before they do it. Instead of waiting for perfection, run with what you got and fix it along the way”.
After reading reviews of this book and coming across the above quote, I realised that this is a book I have to read. Seemingly more of a catalogue of motivation than a guide specifically tailored to copywriting, I get the feeling that this philosophical and inspiring offering from Paul Arden will teach me a lot about motivation.
10) Creative Mischief by David Trott
I featured Dave in another blog post a while ago, which you can see here. His style is very lively, and the fact that the title of his book contains the word ‘mischief’ does not surprise me at all.
Creative Mischief is a collection of Dave’s most compelling blog articles, and as someone who likes to make every blog post as engaging and attention-grabbing as possible (I hope that’s true here), I think I’ll get a lot out of reading this book.
So there they are; 10 books that I hope will nourish my creative bones in the coming months and years. If there are any others you feel should have been included here, please feel free to make suggestions in the comments section!