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Shut Up and Listen

After more than 25 years as a professional copywriter, I’m pretty familiar with the tricks of my trade. But the best copywriting advice I’ve seen in a long time showed up on Twitter a few weeks ago, courtesy of and it had very little to do with writing per se, but with listening.

Think about it: how are you even going to begin to think about coming up with that catchy headline, before you know not only what you’re talking about, but also who you’re talking to – and who you’re competing against for their attention.

So before you sit down in front of that computer screen, sit back, shut up and listen to:

  • The person behind the product or service. What motivated them to develop it? What need does it address? What makes it different (and hopefully, better) than the competition?
  • Your targets. What do they want or need? Hear what they’re saying about the category. Social media is a great place to start.
  • The competition. Learn from their success—and failure.

Have more copywriting advice? Share it here. I’m always ready to listen.


Vice President, Communications Strategist