Copywriter's green cross code


If you’re a similar age to me and grew up in the UK, you’ll probably remember the government’s various public safety films that featured the likes of Tufty Fluffytail, ‘Charley says’, and the Green Cross Code Man (aka Dave Prowse who also played Darth Vader).

Well, the copywriter’s green cross code is nothing like those.

It’s to do with the way in which your marketing content should be written and how a copywriter’s brain works very differently to that of a business owner.

Creating content is vital to the survival of your business and isn’t something that should be squeezed into your hectic day when you have a spare five minutes.

It’s all about getting your message across clearly to your audience.

If you don’t have the budget for a professional copywriter and want to write it yourself, follow these simple steps to try and get the most from your writing.

Stage 1 – Stop

You can’t write anything until you’ve stopped and thought about what you are doing, why you’re doing it and who will be reading it.

Every piece of copy you produce must have a purpose:

  • What is going to be the best platform for your message?
  • What do your customers need?
  • How will your content make their life easier?
  • What do you want to achieve from your copy?
  • How do you want your audience to react?
  • What do you want to tell your audience?
  • What result do you want to achieve?

As you can see, there is a lot to think about before you pick up a pen or go anywhere near your keyboard.

If you want your copy to be powerful and compelling, you have to do your homework first. If you don’t, you’ll produce something disjointed without any real direction.

Stage 2 – Look

Your message is critical, but so is the way your content looks.

It will only be read if it looks appealing and easy to digest, so make it accessible by using:

  • Strong headings
  • Subheadings
  • Bullet points
  • High quality, relevant images
  • Short paragraphs and sentences

Stage 3 – Listen

First of all, listen to your audience. What do they want to know?

Their primary concern is that you’re going to make their life easier, so make sure your content shows them how you will do that.

Then listen to yourself.

Read your content out loud. Whether its website copy, brochure content, email content or a case study you have to hear it to make sure it flows, makes sense and evokes an emotional response in your reader.

Writing content for your sales and marketing is much more than just stringing a few sentences together. A lot of thought, planning and shaping have to go into every piece of content you produce.


Sally Ormond is a copywriter, mum, Pinot Grigio quaffer and cyclist.