This was doing the rounds a little bit on Twitter a couple of days ago – I think it was a tweet from Sarah Richards from GDS where I first spotted it.
Reading it I couldn’t help but think that for 8 or 9 of the recommendations on the list memo = blog. I think as a general set of principles for writing it is as good as anything I have read (though I am just starting to read the latest edition of the book Ogilvy recommends) but it almost all rings particularly true of anyone trying to find their way with blogging.
Points 2, 3 and 4 are especially spot on in my opinion.
- Read the Roman-Raphaelson book on writing. Read it three times.
- Write the way you talk. Naturally.
- Use short words, short sentences and short paragraphs.
- Never use jargon words like reconceptualize, demassification, attitudinally, judgmentally. They are hallmarks of a pretentious ass.
- Never write more than two pages on any subject.
- Check your quotations.
- Never send a letter or a memo on the day you write it. Read it aloud the next morning — and then edit it.
- If it is something important, get a colleague to improve it.
- Before you send your letter or your memo, make sure it is crystal clear what you want the recipient to do.
- If you want ACTION, don’t write. Go and tell the guy what you want.
I’ve done a bit of research of David Ogilvy since coming across this – seems like he is at least partially to blame for a lot of the ills of modern advertising! That said the guy clearly knew how to write.