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Writing content is something that all marketing agencies take very seriously. If you’ve done your research, you know that Olgivy and Mather is one of the largest and most successful advertising, marketing, and public relations agency in the world.  David Olgivy is known as the “father of advertising” and deeply valued the creation of good content and superb writing.


Olgivy and Mather’s recently found a picture of a memo that was sent out to all management in 1982.


In the memo are 10 essential writing tips that were absolutely pertinent in its time of creation, and still relevant to this day.


Anyone who is in the business of writing and content creation can take these tips and use them today. Below are the original steps and some added advice of how this memo is still relevant to today’s advertising and content world.

ogilvy memo


1. Read the Roman-Raphaelson book on writing.* Read it three times.

Authors Kenneth Roman and Joel Raphaelson created an excellent book on how to write that covers all the essentials. Any writer who wants to sound professional and establish what they’re trying to accomplish with writing should read this.

2. Write the way you talk. Naturally.

Advertising lingo can be quite similar to the way a sales person or advertiser naturally talks. Keeping writing like this makes the entire article natural and more fluid.

3. Use short words, short sentences, and short paragraphs.

Keeping things short allows the reader to understand completely what’s being written about and you’re not going to lose them in long sentences and paragraphs.

4. Never use jargon words like reconceptualize, demassification, attitudinally, judgmentally. They are all hallmarks of a pretentious ass.

Jargon words such as the ones that David Olgivy mentioned provide no substance to writing. Avoid these types of words at all costs.

5. Never write more than two pages on any subject.

Writing more than two pages when marketing something through writing can be considered boring any many potential customers won’t bother reading the entire length of the article. Keep it short and simple.

6. Check your quotations.

Quotations have always been an important part of writing. Making sure your facts are straight and you have correctly quoted someone can help you to avoid nasty misquotes and confrontations.

7. Never send a letter or a memo on the day you write it. Read it aloud the next morning–and then edit it.

What sounds perfect one late night may actually be horrid the next day after a night’s sleep. Coming back to a piece of writing or a proposal later on can give you added perspective on what needs to be modified and/or taken away.

8. If it is something important, get a colleague to improve it.

All important articles and documents should be approved and commented on by a colleague before submission. This ensures that the quality of the article is top notch and a secondary opinion can drastically change the entirety of your writing.

9. Before you send your letter or memo, make sure it is crystal clear what you want the recipient to do.

If you beat around the bush with your emails, you’re not going to accomplish anything. Staying factual and to the point with your emails will increase your chances of getting what you want and your point across.

10. If you want action, don’t write. Go and tell the guy what you want.

Sometimes writing an email nowadays will not seal the deal. If you’re set on grabbing a potential customer’s attention, use whatever alleyways necessary to do so. Start with an email and follow-up with a phone call to increase your chance of a sale.