How to Write Ads

By: Edwin Bevens



Effective advertising is critical to bringing new customers to your business, as well as for bringing back old ones. But how can you ensure that your advertising is written effectively? One of the determining factors in the success of advertising copy is the quality of the writing. Bad writing will drive away the audience, even if they might otherwise be interested in the subject. Writing effective ads requires good writing.

Small businesses often must write their own advertising copy, and you may not have great confidence in your writing talents. However, it’s not hard to learn how to write effective ads. Whether or not you have a lot of writing experience, you can learn the principles and follow them.

Be Concise

The first lesson to remember when you’re writing ad copy is simple: be concise. Use the minimum number of words necessary, and no more. Trim any unnecessary verbiage. Don’t use five words when two will do. Long, wordy sentences lack power and impact, and often confuse readers, who get lost in complex, convoluted sentence structure. When you write advertising copy, go over it with a pen and mark out any words that you can eliminate without changing the sentence. The writing in effective ads is short and to the point.

Be Descriptive

The writing in an effective ad jumps off the page because it uses the right words. English offers multiple choices for describing almost any action; select an action verb and specific nouns that expresses exactly the meaning you intend, instead of using the same old boring verbs every time. For instance, rather than saying “ran” or even “ran quickly,” you can say “sprinted” or “dashed,” more exciting and interesting words. You’ll need fewer adverbs and adjectives this way, making your writing more concise (see above) and causing the modifiers you do use to stand out, rather than fade into the background.

Vary Your Writing

Don’t write every sentence the same way. You want your sentences to start with different words; using the same word at the start over and over again bores the readers, and makes your writing all blur together. Also write sentences of different lengths. A mix of short, medium, and long sentences will keep the reader’s attention and interest. Varying your sentence structure and vocabulary makes your writing stronger, more interesting, and more effective.

Be Organized

Finally, you need to be organized to write effective advertising. Every piece of communication you produce, no matter what the medium, needs a well-planned structure. Start off with an introduction that catches the audience’s interest and gives an idea of the tenor of the piece. Keep it short and get to the body of the piece, where you’ll present information about your business or product. Organize this middle section by grouping information into categories, each discussed together and in a logical order. Finally, have a strong ending that recaps what you want the audience to know and gives a call to action, so that you stir the reader’s interest and then provide an avenue to channel that interest.

By following these basic principles, anyone can learn to write strong, effective ads. The most important secret, though, is simply that you must practice. Write, then rewrite, and rewrite again. You’ll get better and better with repetition, and gain confidence in your writing skills.

Published: December 21, 2012

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Edwin Bevens

Edwin Bevens is Editor of, and specializes in communications for Tarkenton Companies in a variety of media. He develops, produces, and maintains content across a wide range of channels. With a background in journalism and publishing, Edwin focuses on helping small business owners find the right match of voice, audience, and medium for every message.Connect with him on

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