How Do You Build a Publicity Tsunami?


Creative Content
I’m old enough (sigh) to remember the early 1960’s, when Time magazine called David Ogilvy “the most sought-after wizard in today’s advertising industry.”

For those who are delightfully young enough not to remember the man or his work … in his years as an advertising executive, Ogilvy created some of the world’s most successful marketing campaigns, including the legendary “Man in the Hathaway Shirt” … which still influences today’s marketers.

In my formative years in advertising, I used to study Ogilvy’s advertising campaigns trying to learn how to persuade prospects, influence readers and create memorable content.

Now, as an indie writer trying to market my award-winning books of fiction, I still look back often at some things David Ogilvy had to say, to see what I can learn from him.

“In the modern world of business, it’s useless to be a creative, original thinker unless you can also sell what you create.”

Interesting … and still true. Cleverness alone doesn’t sell books. Original thinking in marketing is great, but not just for the sake of being witty.

When you sit down to write any marketing copy for your books, whether it’s a blog, a tweet, or a Facebook entry, if you aren’t thinking about connecting with your audience and building trust, as well as selling your product, you need to reexamine your efforts.

Don’t create content just to sell, or to get credit for being clever – create content that’s helpful, insightful, or interesting.

“Do not … address your readers as though they were gathered together in a stadium.”

Just like public speaking is usually far more intimidating than talking to someone one-on-one, as writers the idea of trying to connect with a large audience can be troubling. But Ogilvy’s advice is still true.

Don’t get caught up in it. Pretend you’re writing a personal letter to each reader. After all, when people read your blog, they’re alone with your words.

“On average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you’ve written your headline, you’ve spent eighty cents of your dollar.”

Simple headlines are best. Always remember … on average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest of the piece. If your headline is confusing, tricky, or awkward, they won’t continue reading.

“Don’t bunt. Aim out of the ball park. Aim for the company of immortals.”

This is my favorite Ogilvy quotation. What we do in our day-to-day lives might occasionally seem mundane, but remember this – every day we write, whether in our books, our blogs or other social media, we’re given the opportunity to make a difference … to teach, stimulate conversation, or persuade.

That’s pretty extraordinary.

So aim high. Make sure you’re always thinking, how can I make enough difference? Ogilvy’s work continues to inspire us, and his world-famous marketing campaigns live on.

But some of Ogilvy’s best lessons are about how he approached his creative life, and how he aimed for greatness instead of settling for second best.

Hmmm. Perhaps my headline should have read: “I Don’t Always Read Fiction, but When I Do, I Prefer Ron Herron.”

It has a catchy ring to it.



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5 Responses to “How Do You Build a Publicity Tsunami?”

  1. Siobhan McKinney (@ballysio) Says:

    Love the alternative headline you proposed. 🙂


  2. Ron Herron Says:

    Thank you so much for your comment, Mary. I try to keep the blog interesting.


  3. Mary Hackstock Says:

    Great post Ron. I always enjoy reading your “Painting With Light”. Although I didn’t follow advertising gurus in my youth, I did follow history and science writers, mostly technical stuff to stay in tune with Toby. And Nikola Tesla was my favorite. He wanted to inform and create and sell, but not for monetary gains but to better people’s lives. Kinda like Ogilvy, a creator but more of a pragmatist. Great thinkers whether they be writers, advertising geniuses or inventors-they all strive for the best, by getting people to take notice and follow their promotion, product or way of doing things. And Tesla like Ogilvy made a difference. He made a difference and today we read your novels under the light that Tesla gave us by “hitting it out of the park” with his marketing at World Fairs, street corners or wherever he could gather an audience. So see, great minds do think alike. And you should be congratulated for doing that very same thing 🙂



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