14 inspiring quotes to kick-start your copywriting

Photo by Simon Launay on Unsplash

Sometimes inspiration comes from outside sources. Sometimes, those sources take a “tough love” approach and tell you straight to your face what you need to know.

As any copywriter knows, a strong headline can be a make-or-break moment with your product—and if you’re the one who wrote it, that headline can follow you throughout your career in the best ways possible.

But getting inspired to write that headline (or whatever it is you’re writing) doesn’t always float in like a little butterfly and land directly on your page. Sometimes you need a strong kick in the pants to get started.

There are thousands of different ways to jump-start your writing, but a quote from a true pro or an “old classic” might be all you need to hear. 

I’ll share some of my favorite writing-in-general quotes in another post. For now, let’s start with these classic quotes on copywriting to get you started.

Make it simple. Make it memorable. Make it inviting to look at. Make it fun to read. – Leo Burnett

The secret of all effective advertising is not the creation of new and tricky words and pictures, but one of putting familiar words and pictures into new relationships. – Leo Burnett

I’ve learned that any fool can write a bad ad, but that it takes a real genius to keep his hands off a good one. – Leo Burnett

When I write an advertisement, I don’t want you to tell me that you find it “creative.” I want you to find it so interesting that you buy the product. – David Ogilvy

It takes a big idea to attract the attention of consumers and get them to buy your product. Unless your advertising contains a big idea, it will pass like a ship in the night. I doubt if more than one campaign in a hundred contains a big idea. – David Ogilvy

Copy is a direct conversation with the consumer. – Shirley Polykoff

We have become so accustomed to hearing everyone claim that his product is the best in the world, or the cheapest, that we take all such statements with a grain of salt. – Robert Collier

A business man is no different from any other kind. – Robert Collier

Nobody reads ads. People read what interests them. Sometimes it’s an ad. – Howard Gossage

Here’s the only thing you’re selling, no matter what business you’re in and what you ship: you’re selling your prospects a better version of themselves. – Joanna Wiebe (founder of Copyhackers)

Your job is not to write copy. Your job is to know your visitors, customers and prospects so well, you understand the situation they’re in right now, where they’d like to be, and exactly how your solution can and will get them to their ideal self. – Joanna Wiebe

Good advertising is written from one person to another. When it is aimed at millions it rarely moves anyone. – Fairfax M. Cone

Let’s get to the heart of the matter. The power, the force, the overwhelming urge to own that makes advertising work, comes from the market itself, and not from the copy. Copy cannot create desire for a product. It can only take the hopes, dreams, fears and desires that already exists in the hearts of millions of people, and focus those already existing desires onto a particular product. This is the copy writer’s task: not to create this mass desire—but to channel and direct it. – Eugene Schwartz

Assume the reader knows nothing. But don’t assume the reader is stupid. – Ann Handley

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