Copywriting for print

Ghost blogging



Colin reads a lot

Copywriting for print

In the dark ages before the Internet, I wrote a lot of brochures as a freelance copywriter. I was also creative director on most of these projects.

Now I'm offering my skills to the Web.

My strengths are:

  • a clear, straightforward writing style

  • a wide-ranging knowledge of science and technology

  • a powerful ability to research a product and find new interesting things to say about it

Specializing in readability.

Customers can't respond to an advertising offer unless they read it. Ad agencies are accustomed to writing headlines. I specialize in writing ad copy that people actually read.

I do it by making it worthwhile for them to read it. I find a starting place and leave a trail of words that anybody can follow.

I do it by making the copy seem simple and easy to read, even if the topic is tough. I use Strunk & White's "Elements of Style" to make brochures interesting on their own without having to borrow interest.

Fact-based copywriting.

People care a lot about facts. Instead of spinning copy up out of nothing, I study the product, handle it, use it, see it produced, learn what is unique about it, and then present the facts in persuasive, effective copy.

Communicate the client's passion for the product.

Abex Aerospace couldn't ignite their own passion in their ad agency. Abex makes hydraulic actuators and servomotors that aim and control the giant thrusters of the Space Shuttle during blastoff, devices that channel energy equivalent to the blast at Hiroshima. They needed an ad for a new, smaller servomotor to be used in helicopters. "What this client doesn't understand," the account executive told me on the way to my first meeting with the client, "is that their product is BORING."

There are no boring subjects, only boring writers. I made those servomotors interesting enough to the readers of Aviation Week to generate sales of 40,000 units within a month of the ad's appearance.

Verbalize consensus.

When the Santa Barbara Zoo hired me to write a fundraiser brochure, they didn't know exactly what they wanted. I toured the zoo daily for a week and interviewed people from the director and his staff down to the train drivers and the animal feeders. Each of them had an idea of what kind of zoo the place should be. I synthesized their dreams into a single voice and wrote a brochure about the zoo that could be.

Their dream was so compelling that the brochure brought in millions in donations.

Copy-driven design.

My most successful brochures (and ads) have been the ones in which I analyzed the company/product and then arranged the information in sequences and gave the art director thumbnails of what should go where, what attributes should be illustrated, etc. I give the art director a strong foundation to build onÑand the result is that my art directors have won a lot of awards.

I start with an attitude of throwing the company wide open for inspection, of making an effort to explain the company rather than expecting the outside world to make the effort. I write brochures that give a client a fresh look, a clear window into the company that invites response. I can make any company interesting to an outsider.

Seymour Duncan Guitar Pickups

Gordon & Grant Hot Tubs

Santa Barbara Bank & Trust

Brooks Institute of Photography

UCSB Electrical Engineering

Eikon Thin Films

Santa Barbara Zoo

Alvarez Guitars

Dodge, Dodge Truck

American Cancer Society

Mortensen Design

Nordic Knives

Abex Aerospace

Tangent Audio Mixers

Triad Speakers

Interlink Electronics

The Woodward Company (White Paper)


Cox-Uphoff Silicone

Phil Kubicki Guitars

Anxiety Clinic

Zuma Luxury Charter

Renco Encoders

Force Fin